St. Francesco’s church

A single-aisled basilica, dedicated to St. Francesco (Agios Franghiskos). It was built in the Venetian era by the Franciscan Order, and it stands out for its unique architecture and sculpted ornaments. The Turkish occupants turned it into a poorhouse in 1796, and founded a school for girls, right next to it. The ruins of two chapels can be seen to the East.

The element which distinguishes St. Francesco’s church among the monuments of the city is the Renaissance style carved door surround, at the entrance to the church, which is decorated with elaborate capitals of the Composite order.

Our Lady of the Angels

Locals today also call it Mikri Panagia (= little [church of] Virgin Mary), in order to distinguish it from the Cathedral of Megali Panagia (= big [church of] Virgin Mary). It was built in the last years of the Venetian rule, by the Dominican Order, and it was dedicated to Mary Magdalene.

Although in the beginning of the Turkish rule it functioned as a Christian church, it soon followed the fate of most of the churches in the city: It was transformed into a mosque and a minaret was added to it; the top of the minaret was destined to collapse, though, so people gave it the name “koutsotroulis” (=half dome).In 1917 it began to operate as an Orthodox church, dedicated to Our Lady of the Angels (Virgin Mary). 

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Additional Info

  • location Mikrasiaton Square/Nick. Fokas, Rethymnon city, Rethymno, Rethymno
  • type Church
  • time period Venetians
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