Avdou, a small gem in the heart of Crete, is located on the foothills of Selena, at 230m altitude, surrounded by the verdant valley of Lagkada, covered in olive groves, vineyards and fields, near the river Aposelemis.
It is said that it is named after the prophet Avdios, a student of prophet Ilias (Elijah), who lived around 800 BC. According to tradition, there used to be a church dedicated to Avdios on the outskirts of the village, in the location Kontaria or Lines.
The village has a long history and the oldest written record of it dates back to 1381, in a Venetian document where it is described as a feudal estate. In addition, the village is known to have been the home of many captain rebels, who used to have their meetings in the church of Kerapanagia, that’s why Avdou is often called Kapetanohori (village of the captains).
The village’s narrow streets, the fortress remains, the enclosed yards, remnants of the Ottoman period, and the squares all compose a charming picture/Photo: Amalia Kovaiou
The ruins of early Christian churches, as well as Byzantine and late-Byzantine churches are further expressions of the area’s rich history. One of the most beautiful churches, dating back to 1445, is that of Agios Konstantinos. It is a simple, single-space church with some exquisite frescoes, some of which are the work of Ioannis Fokas, who, together with his brother Emmanouil, was one of the most important representatives of Constantinople style art in Crete.
The village’s narrow streets, the fortress remains, the enclosed yards, remnants of the Ottoman period, and the squares all compose a charming picture. This charm has been reinforced by the wooden signs that can be seen around the village with the names of the various shops and workshops –often including the names of the actual craftsmen and workers as well as the dates during which they held the posts– of the past, like the cobbler, the butcher, the woodwork workshop, the barber, etc. transporting visitors to a past era.
The village has a long history and the oldest written record of it dates back to 1381/Photo: Amalia Kovaiou
There is a beautiful forest with kermes oaks and maples, near the village, on the way to monastery of Agios Ioannis and Agia Anna, reaching 700m altitude, and there is a spot there where there used to be threshing floors. Nowadays the population of Avdou is around 300 people, who love their village and take great care of it, organising various cultural events, concerts and revivals of old customs, attracting crowds during the summer.
Heraklion: The Venetian heritage, the Minoan palaces, and a mini guide to have the best time
Τhe famous delicacy of Heraklion, Crete
Beating the winter blues in the warmest Greek beaches