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Fodele Guide

The small hillside village is not a holiday destination but more of a sightseeing destination within Crete.  It sits 27km from the capital city of Heraklion.  Follow the national highway until you see the signs for Agia Pelagia, then you will see the sandy beach of Fodele, since we not going to the coastal town of Fodele, leave the highway an follow the signs for the village of Fodele.

The reason many people visit this are is two fold, the first and main reason is that the village of Fodele was the birth place of the Renaissance artist El Greco.  The second is the lush rugged beauty that this village offers, with orange and lemon groves spread all around the village, this is where the locals of Heraklion come for Sunday lunch and an excellent picnic spot.

Fodele General Sights

Once you have visited the charming museum of El Greco, then there are still plenty of other places to visit in this little village.

Just 5km from the village of Fodele you will find the Monastery of Agios Panteleimon.  Built by the Venetians its has been ransacked and damaged on countless occasions but as a testament to the monks that maintain and care for the monastery it is still in very good condition today.

When visiting any monastery or church in Crete, you have to respect the local rules, laid down by the orthodox religion.  You have to have your shoulders and legs covered, and absolutely no photographs within the buildings unless given express permission to do so.  It is always nice to leave a small donation and light a candle when visiting any monastery or church with Crete or Greece.

The monastery itself is dedicated to the patron saint of bakers, and there is an annual celebration of this, which you will see huge feasts and celebration.  Another thing to note is the profusion of yellow flags with a two headed eagle,  the two heads of the eagle face east and west, symbolising the readiness of Byzantium to deal with threats from either side.

After visiting these wonderful sights of national and historic interest, head back into the town of Fodele where you will find numerous cafes and Tavernas, the prices here are quite reasonable and its a lovely place to sit for a couple of hours.

As you walk round the many gift shops within Fodele the owners will give you free oranges, they are not a gimmick or anything to force you to buy, just the kind hospitality of the Cretan people, and the fact they have so many oranges they need to give them away.

When given the oranges, its best to say
Efharisto' (pronounced F Harrys Toe) meaning Thank You in Greek, and although the oranges don’t look like anything you would find in a local supermarket, being of odd shapes and very bumpy, the uglier the orange the sweeter the taste.  

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Holidays2Crete > Guides to Crete > Heraklion > Fodele

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El Greco of Fodele

The Renaissance artist of El Greco was born in Fodele in 1541 and his real name was Doménikos Theotokópoulos.  Born into a fairly wealthy Cretan family, he soon learned the ways of the artist by studying at the Cretan School, as an icon painter.  At the age of 22 El Greco had already become a master of his art.

He moved to Italy, then Spain, doing some of the most impressive portraits of his time, a few choice paintings are “The Assumption of the Virgin” “The Dormition of the Virgin” and “Portrait of Giorgio Giulio Clovio”.  He lived the rest of his life in Toledo, Spain were he eventually passed away from an unknown illness.

Moving back to Fodele we find there is a museum dedicated to the life and works of El Greco, plus the house in which he was born.  The museum sits just a short 1km walk from the village and is open most days from 9am to 5pm, there is a small admission fee to the museum but other than that your free to walk around and see the sights.

There is a collection of reproductions of the painters work, some memorabilia and assorted artefacts.  Make sure you take your camera to get some interesting photos of this artist who managed to influence so many painters of the 20th Century.

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