December 13, 2021

Cave Church of Saint Spyridon in Rethymnon

On the west side of the imposing Venetian castle of Fortezza in Rethymno, Crete and above the sea is the Cave Church of Saint Spyridon. The church dates back to the late 16th century and is one of the oldest surviving churches in the city of Rethymnon. There are stairs from the main road to the church and inside there is a wood-carved iconostasis.

The area is known as Skiero from the small shipyard (squero), where the basic work was carried out on Venetian ships, before continuing to the Venetian port of the city. Reference is made to the church for the first time in the work "Cretan War" by Marinos Tzane Bounialis in the 17th century. During the siege of the Venetian fortress by the Ottomans, the church was probably used as a moat to defend the fortress. During the Ottoman era, the church was managed by the women of the harem of the Harakia neighborhood, while during the departure of the Turks, it passed into the hands of the Christian community of the city, who repaired it in 1902 and 1922.