We always love to spend a couple of hours in Neapoli, it's a working town that sees few visitors so it's a chance to see how the locals conduct their day to day lives. But one specific reason to stop by here today is to see the amazing cathedral dedicated the the Virgin Mary.
It stands in a lofted position above the main street in a pleasant, open courtyard on the site of a former mosque which was beseiged by locals and burned down in 1827, after which the new church was constructed. It is without a doubt, one of the most ornate in Crete, for during the 19th century, Neapoli was the seat of the Lassithi Prefecture, so any newly commissioned buildings had to be grand in every respect.
The cathedral's principal claim-to-fame are its four, ochre-coloured domes which can be seen from miles away. The inside is no less impressive with massive chandeliers and an amazing array of frescoes and icons, along with the elaborate murals that stretch away right up into all four cupolas. The church is usually open for visitors unless there is a service being conducted and photographs are allowed, for which I usually make a donation to the church funds.
The town's most famous son, Petros Philargos was born here in the mid 14th century and became Pope Alexander V in 1409 until his untimely death just one year later. His memory is celebrated to this day with a Holy Festival every 15th August.
One very definite reason to visit this lovely town.
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