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Sights in Iraklia

As often is the case with small islands, the main attraction is peace and quiet and the feeling of being in another time. Another attraction is when a ferry arrives, then the islanders and tourists gather in the port, and suddenly the island revive for a little while.

 

Donkeys on Iraklia in Greece.

To meet a donkey in Agios Georgios may also be an attraction.

 

 

Iraklia's only real sight is the church of Agios Ioannis located in a cave just below Papas, Iraklia's highest peak. According to a legend, a shepherd was looking for protection from a rainstorm outside the cave in the late 19th century. When he came home to the village, his friends saw an image of the saint Agios Ioannis (St John the Baptist) on the back of his shirt. He showed his friends the place and they found the cave. Inside the cave an icon imagine the saint Agios Ioannis was found. The cave was then made into an church.

 

The entrance to the cave and the church of Agios Ioannis in Iraklia.

The entrance to the cave and the church bell outside the cave.


The entrance to the cave is not what is usually called user-friendly, you must creep inside. It's scary, you hear water dripping from the ceiling and it is pitch black, absolutely nothing for a claustrophobe. But those who dare will find a reward in form of beautiful stalactites and a small altar. Bring a flashlight!

We have dared to crawl into the cave once, but we do not do it again. Geez how scary it was. We did not have a flashlight with us (stupid!) So we had to light up the cave by taking pictures with the camera so the flashes lit up the cave.

 

The church and cave of Agios Ioannis on Iraklia in the Cyclades.

One of the pictures we took inside the cave.

 

On August 28, the church's saint Ioannis are celebrated, inhabitants from Iraklia and the neighbouring islands muster in force. During the ceremony, 2,000 candles are lighted and one can only imagine how atmospheric it must be. The church bell hangs in a tree outside the cave.

 

The pictures below I have borrowed from Fanis Gavalas who owns Villa Meltemi in Iraklia.

 

Agios Ioannis cave and church on Iraklia on 28 August.

Agios Ioannis cave and church on 28 August. © Fanis Gavalas.

 

The cave and the church of Agios Ioannis on Iraklia in Greece.

These three were smart enough to bring a headlamp each. © Fanis Gavalas.

 

Stalagmites and stalactites in the cave with a church on Iraklia.

Inside the cave church of Agios Ioannis. © Fanis Gavalas.

 

Read about how to get to the cave here »


Blue Star Naxos in the port of Iraklia.

Blue Star Naxos in the port of Iraklia.

 

Personally, I think that Iraklias biggest attraction is when a ferry arrives, and suddenly the island revive for a little while.


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