Saints Peter and Paul, Heraklion
|Open to the public:
|Holy Archdiocese of Crete
|Access and walking difficulty:
|Difficulty rating, 1
Built during the first period of Venetian rule by the Cistercian monks of the 12th century, and later occupied by the Dominican Order, the Catholic church of Peter and Paul, located just next to the sea-wall, between the Venetian harbor and the Gate of Dermatas, (today’s Sophocles Venizelos seaside boulevard) is one of Heraklion’s oldest architectural monuments.
During the Venetian period the church was also used as a burial ground for prominent members of the Venetian nobility. Until the 15th century the original wooden roof as well as the nave church of Gothic architecture was dedicated in honor of the Catholicon of Saint Peter of Aragon. Four chapels were added; their unique frescoes preserved till today. However, during the Ottoman conquest it was converted to a mosque dedicated to the Sultan Ibrahim. The Orthodox inhabitants of Candia, remained unaware that one of them, had been canonized by the Pope during the era of the Crusades, as there were no Catholics in the city.
St. Peter of the Catholics became St. Peter and St. Paul during the Ottoman period. This is when the windows and openings were constructed on its North wall. The Southern half of the building, the interior and chapels, influenced by the 13th -15th century are purely Gothic as was the St. Nikolaos in Splantzia Square, Chania. Both are considered to be the very important Catholic foundations of Gothic character. bearing such bold innovations. on the island. Possibly due to its bold architectural characteristics and considerable scale. From the 14th to the 18th century it was badly damaged several times by earthquakes.
After restoration of both the catholicon and annexes (completed 2012) the church celebrated its anniversary and was declared as an archaeological site of the Byzantine Inspectorate.