Step away from the crowds and visit this grand cathedral, seen by many as a symbol of the Cretan revolution.
Stand in the quiet paved square outside St. Minas Cathedral; the sheer size of the spectacular structure will take your breath away. Admire the clean lines and smooth curves and appreciate the symmetry of the stained-glass windows, the twin bell towers and the impressive arches. Step inside to see a wealth of art including ceiling paintings, frescoes and altar pieces. Enjoy the peaceful sense of space that this huge building creates or attend a service to hear the sound of thousands of voices singing together.
St. Minas is the patron saint of Heraklion; the cathedral built in his name is appropriately grand. It was constructed between 1862 and 1895. With a capacity for 8,000 people, it is one of the largest religious buildings in Greece.
Stop outside the cathedral and appreciate the scale and symmetry of the building. Notice the blend of smooth columns, clean lines scored into the stonework and high arches. Note how the two bell towers peek over the roof on either side of the central dome.
Step inside and the cathedral seems to become even bigger. Note the artwork around the altar, which has been attributed to St. Kartakis.
Make your way around the space and you will see more artwork, with grand ceiling and wall paintings and simple stained-glass windows, all adding interest to the huge space. Make sure you visit the older St. Minas church in the same square. This was built in 1735 and has several original features. Stop for a while in the square and have a drink or a snack in one of the tavernas while enjoying the view of the spectacular cathedral.
St. Minas Cathedral is a short walk from the center of Heraklion. It is free to enter and is open daily.