The Church of Panagia in Chora, Folegandros Cyclades: The beautiful church of Panagia is the most famous church of Folegandros island, Cyclades. It is located on a fabulous spot above Chora offering an excellent view to the island and the sea. A stone zigzag path starts from Pounda Square Chora and goes up to the church in about 15 min walk.
This church is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and was possibly constructed on the ruins of an ancient temple. In fact, marble parts of this temple were used as building material for the church and visitors can see ancient inscriptions and bases of statues in the interior and the courtyard of the church. The exact year of the construction of the church is not known. However, a marble sign says that it was renovated in 1687 and it took its present form in 1821.
The architecture of the church is traditional Cycladic and the exterior is whitewashed. This is a one-aisle basilica with many domes and a tall bell-tower. The interior has fine frescoes, a marble throne for the archbishop and a marble icon screen. In the past, the church was the katholikon of a female monastery.
The silver icon of Virgin Mary inside the church is believed the be miracle-working. The legend says that in 1790, 18 boats of Algerian pirates were about to get ashore. The desperate residents of Folegandros went to the church to pray for their lives to Virgin Mary when a strong northern wind blew and sank all the boats of the pirates, of whom all got drown. Since then, the locals consider Virgin Mary the protector of their island.