Chania Church of Saint Mary Magdalene

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Location: Halepa

Located in the historical Halepa district, the church of Saint Mary Magdalene is one of the most impressive in Crete.

Its history begins in 1898 when the Ottoman occupation of Crete ended and the island was declared an autonomous state. Then, Prince George of Greece was appointed High Commissioner of the Cretan State and came to Chania, residing in a mansion in the Halepa suburb. After his sister Mary paid him an official visit, her husband, the Grand Duke of Russia George Mikhailovich, decided to commemorate the event for political reasons. So, he donated the sum of 10,000 rubles for the construction of a church dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene.

Erected in 1901 just opposite Prince George’s residence, it was built according to the late Baroque style, which was popular in Russia at the time. It consists of a rectangular hall, while the belfry is in the garden, outside the temple. The main facade comprises seven arches, decorated with red bricks. Instead of a dome, there is a small rectangular upper floor with beautiful adornments. At the top of the blue roof rises an imposing onion dome, typical of Russian religious architecture. Another remarkable element is its striking altarpiece, which boasts icons crafted by the renowned Photis Kontoglou. The courtyard with its small lush garden is also impressive.

Today, it stands as a reminder of the historical events that determined the future of Crete and its unification with the rest of Greece.



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