Agia

Agia in the perfecture of Rethymno is a village located approximately 35 km east of the city of Rethymno. The village of Agia is built upon the foothills of the Mount Koukoulonas, near the main country road that connects Perama with Anogeia, on the northern bank of the Geropotamos River.

Until 1940, the village bore the name Agyia and today has approximately 200 residents, who are engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry, producing oil, raisins, citrons, citrus fruits and wood charcoal.

There are two versions of where its name came from. The first says that it is the word Agia (Saint) from the name of the church Agia Anastasia Pharmakolytria. The second mentions the definition of the word agyia, which means rugged terrain. As far as the chronology of the Agia settlement is concerned, there is no information, but it is certain that it had already existed before 1578, the year that the church of Agios Fotios was built.

The older residents of Agia are the Kouratores, the Plemmenoi, the Papadogiannides, the Papadakides, the Kalbianakides, the Vasaloi, the Honiakides and the Kalaitzakides. The surnames Kouratoras and Plemmenos are not Cretan; their origin might be from the Peloponnese and they just colonized the region during the Ottoman rule. The possibility, however, of the Byzantine origin of these surnames is seriously taken into consideration.

The church of Agia Anastasia, an old church, renovated in 1878, without frescoes, but with a carved wooden iconostasis is worth seeing while visiting the Agia village, as well as the church of Agios Nikolaos (1934) and the chapel of Agios Konstantinos and Prophet Elias. The Byzantine church of Agios Fotios the Invincible was built in 1578 and operated as a monastery. At present, only the main temple has survived, while the monks’ cells became ruins.

West of the village, at the site of archaeological excavations a reliquary has been found, dating probably to the Minoan era.