How it all started......


The island of Crete is situated in in the Mediterranean Sea, south of the mainland of Greece. It is about 300 kilometres in length and 60 across. Three mountainous areas dominate the island: the Lefka Ori, the Psiloritis and Lassithi. In between the rolling hills are mainly covered with olive groves, vineyards and citrus orchards.

In 1973 my wife and I visited Crete for the first time. Shortly before, the island had been discovered by tourism and along the north coast the first centres of mass tourism had begun to develop.

That springtime and the years thereafter we roamed the island, backpacking, on foot and from village to village. Finding friendly people, a warm welcome and offers for places to sleep.

The scenery was really impressive. Snowy mountaintops of the Ida and Omalos. And in between, the valleys, fields and olive orchards.

And here and there, as if scattered around by a friendly hand, the tiny white chapels. Against mountain slopes, in a village or amidst the olives. Agios Georgios, Panagia, Sotiros Christu, or to whoever or whatever they may be dedicated.

The wooden door, mostly without lock or with the key left behind in the lock. And, upon entering: the semi-darkness, the smell of incense, the bottle with olive oil next to the light in front of the icon. And the walls painted with religious symbols, quite often difficult to recognize.

I was hooked at once. I started to take photographs. To share my experiences with others, the next couple of pages will tell you more about the wall paintings and frescoes as I've found them in so many chapels.

For those who plan to visit the island. Or because you're just interested to know more about the chapels and frescoes on Crete. Or just for moments that you like to enjoy their beauty.

To start off a little bit of history of Crete.