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Local History - Hotel IDI

Local History

Historical Facts about Agia Galini

Agia Galini village is built upon the ancient Minoan city of Soulia, one of the hundred cities of Crete described by Homer. It was a place of worship and there was also a temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis. The history of Soulia continued until the 7th century when it was destroyed by pirates.

Remnants of this city and temple have been found, such as buildings, tombs, marbles,as well as two granite columns that adorn the church of the village till our days.

The bay of Agia Galini has always been a suitable anchorage for ships. It was used in the revolutions of 1821 and 1866 for unloading munitions. Due to its close proximity to the fertile and oil producing regions of Ampadia and Melampes, the port was used for loading oil to ships. The settlement was founded in 1884, when commercial buildings, oil warehouses and some residences were built.Over the years the commercial traffic and oil export increased significantly and therefore Customs were founded. After a few years (1890) there was a permanent settlement of about 20 people.

On the western side of Messara Bay, in Agia Galini, there is a former German fortification at sea level with its interior staircase staying functional for guests. It has a gun room (very well maintained but hard to reach) and two ammunition storage rooms.

The name of the village

Legend has it that, the name of Agia Galini was given by Empress Eudocia of Byzantium when her ship sailing to Jerusalem faced a big storm close to the ancient city of Soulia. Asking for the help of Virgin Mary, the Empress suggested that the crew approach the shore, and vowed she would build a church dedicated to Virgin Mary if they could find shelter.Indeed the ship moored safely to the naturally sheltered beach of the village, and the Empress built the temple, as promised and named it “Panagia Galini”, i.e. Virgin Mary Serenity, which was later paraphrased to Agia Galini. This church is the old church in the cemetery of the village.



Daedalus & Icarus

In Agia Galini is also located the cave of Daedalus, where, according to the myth, hid himself to protect from the king of Crete Minos. He used the cave as a laboratory and constructed wings from wax. From a hill of Agia Galini he flew to freedom together with his son Icarus. Icarus, however, flew too close to the sun and his wings melted and he crashed and drowned near the island that took its name, Ikaria. Daedalus buried his son on the island, continued his flight and landed to Kimi, Italy.

The rock they used as the base for their flight, is on the right side of the harbor, gazing at the sea as if it still salutes them to their fatal journey. At this location there are currently the two statues of Daedalus and Icarus ,as they prepare for their flight. An amphitheater has been built and is dedicated to this legend.