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Home / About Malia / History & Heritage / Byzantine Churches
Byzantine Churches

Church of Áyios Dimítrios, patron saint of Malia
This late 19th century church is built on the foundations of a previous, older church. Its yard used to be a cemetery, but stopped serving as such with the building of the new church. Inside on its iconostasis some very interesting icons are on display. These do not follow the strict Byzantine school of icon painting but belong to the Russian school: they seem to have a third dimension, as opposed to the two-dimensional Byzantine icons. Furthermore they are decorated more elaborately with gold, a fact that lends them a richer character.

Church of Panayía Ghalathianí
The church of Panayía Ghalathianí, which has three aisles, is the oldest church in Malia and was built during different periods.

The nave, dedicated to Virgin May, dates from the Venetian period (around 1400 AD). Inside, the nave and dome hold the most beautiful wall paintings that date from the 15th century and that are completely in accord with the Byzantine school of icon painting. They represent depictions of Saints and scenes of the life of Jesus Christ. In the 17th century the Turks turned the original nave into a stable that they had in use for many years.

At the beginning of the 19th century the church was completely restored and another aisle, dedicated to the Holy Ten Martyrs, was built on its north side. Towards the end of the same century its south aisle, which is dedicated to Saint Haralambos, as well as the bell tower were added.

The differences in style of architecture are obvious: its interior, as its exterior carry features of the different building periods. The west entrance – the original main entrance – has a stone arch built in post Byzantine style, whereas the entrance on the south – today’s main entrance – carries features of 19th century architecture.

The church’s name "Ghalathianí" means ‘made with milk’ and refers to the fact that the shepherds of the area offered their livestock’s milk produce to be used instead of water for mixing the mud, when the original church was being built in 1400.

Church of Áyios Nektários
This relatively new church was built in the 1970s and although it dedicates its nave to Virgin Mary, it is named after its general saint, Áyios Nektários. This amazing church is covered from top to bottom with wall paintings that are painted by Michális Vassilákis, Crete’s most famous contemporary icon painter.

Churches of Áyios Ioánnis and Áyios Yeóryios
The churches of Áyios Ioánnis and Áyios Yeóryios both date from the Venetian period and are open to the public only on special occasions (Easter, name day).

Church of Áyios Ioánnis in Stalis
This pretty little church probably dates from the beginning of the 17th century, when it is mentioned on Venetian maps of the Bay of Malia. It used to be in the middle of nowhere, but is nowadays the attractive eye catcher in the centre of Stalis with some icons that are worth having a look at.