|The Church of St. Nicholas in Kourtaliotis Gorge, Crete|
|Piles of stones beside St. Nicholas Church|
Crete's small country churches surprised me, but even smaller churches, or replicas of churches dot the sides of the country roads. These small shrines are all over the place.
|A typical memorial erected among the orange groves of Crete|
The day after we went to the Kourtaliotas Gorge, I experienced bigger surprises -- a pair of surprises. Cindy (she lives in Shanghai and was also on the lookout for great photos) & I came upon an abandoned church, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We both took pictures. Cindy biked on, but I decided to check out the inside.
|A 14th century church between the villages of Koufos and Alikianos|
On the outside of the church, a fresco of Mary adorns the pointed arch over a side door. It was badly damaged, but I took a picture (below). It also had painted trim directly under the arch in a beautiful red and blue pattern, and a Greek cross below that.
|A badly damaged fresco of Mary over the door dates |
to the 14th century
Paintings on the outside of a buildings can't withstand time and weather.
This church lies between Alikianos and Koufos. It was built in the early 14th century following an earthquake of 1303, but over the foundations of a 10th century church. (Earthquakes have always been a problem on this island, and in much of the Mediterranean.)
|Zoohodos Pigi means "life giving source."|
We had already passed a town called Alikianos where there was large new blue and terra cotta colored Greek Orthodox church. It's easy to understand why a church in the middle of nowhere was abandoned.
I hope that the Church of Zoohodos Pigi will be restored. Apparently it was quite an important church at one time. Zoohodos Pigi means "life-giving source."
|There's a new Greek Orthodox church in the village of Alikianos|
It was lunch time and someone had just dumped a big truck of excess oranges in a goat pen and the goats were chomping away, peels and all. They were chomping like crazy, as if in a contests to finish first. We took many pictures.
How funny to realize that these delicious goat cheeses we've been eating in Crete come from animals who feed on oranges, the delicious oranges of Crete!
|The Goats' lunch -- so good!|