Dedicated to the patron saint of Crete, this Byzantine church has been renovated and repurposed by some of the world's greatest historical empires.
In the center of Heraklion is one of the city's most important monuments, the Church of St. Titus. With a history that stretches back to the Roman Empire, this historical church has been adapted and rebuilt by the Roman, Ottoman and Venetian rulers that have passed through the island. Enjoy a quiet moment in the now Orthodox structure and inspect the Byzantine art and stained glass inside.
St. Titus, the patron saint of Heraklion and Crete, was a disciple of Paul the Apostle and the first Bishop of Crete. The earliest church dedicated to him was built during Roman rule around A.D. 961. Since then, the church has undergone many changes. The Venetians renovated it, the Ottomans converted it into a mosque and it was rebuilt following an earthquake in 1856. Many of the original religious relics were moved to Venice, but you can still see the famed skull of St. Titus, which was returned to the church in 1966.
Before going inside, admire the smooth stone façade, the stained-glass windows and heavy double wooden door. During the evening, a blue light illuminates the domed roof and the windows shine their colored images into the dark.
Enter the white-stone interior to see the three expansive naves that honor Agios Spyridon, Agios Titos and Agios Nikolaos. On the left in the silver reliquary is the skull of St. Titus. Venture further inside to see the ornate timber seating and wooden iconostasis, which are decorated with Byzantine religious imagery. Examine the large mounted artworks that tell of the life of St. Titus and his companion, St. Paul.
After seeing the church, relax in the square outside. Sit by the water fountain and buy a snack from one of the bars or cafés on the plaza.
The Church of St. Titus is located on Heraklion’s historic 25 August Street. It can be difficult to find a parking space in the center of town, so it is best to leave the car behind. Access the Church of St. Titus on foot instead.