Viran Episkopi

Viran Episkopi is a village in the prefecture of Rethymno, located on the old national road Rethymno – Heraklion, approximately 14 kilometers east of Rethymno.

The name of the village as Viran Episkopi comes from the Turkish word Viran meaning ruin. In accordance with Italian researcher Gerola, after the liberation of Crete from the Saracens, the former Byzantine dioceses were refounded, some of which have changed their seats. At that time, the first diocese of A(g)riou has settled in this location and the village was founded. Another version mentions that the name originates in the Latin word VIRUS meaning desolate and the Greek word Episkopi=diocese.

The Episcopal Church of the village was probably a three-nave church of Agia Irini, which now lies in ruins, or the church of Agios Dimitrios located about 1 kilometer west of the village on the way to the village of Loutra. Agia Irini was discovered during excavations conducted by Professor Kalokyris in the mid-1960s.

The former village was at the site where now the settlement of Pano Viran Episkopi stands.

During the Venetian rule, the whole village was surrounded by a wall with one central entrance gate. A part of this wall can be seen even today.

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