Church of Panagia on Folegandros
The Church of Panagia in Chora is the most famous church of Folegandros island.
It is located on a stunning spot offering an incredible view of the entire island and the sea.
A stone zigzag path starts from Pounda Square Chora and goes up to the church in what will take about 15-minutes to walk. This church is dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary and was possibly constructed on the ruins of an ancient temple.
Marble parts of this temple were used as building material for the church and visitors can see ancient inscriptions and bases of statues in the interior and the courtyard of the church.
The exact year of the construction of the church is not known.
However, a marble sign says that it was renovated in 1687 and it took its present form in 1821. The architecture of the church is within the traditional Cycladic style and the exterior is whitewashed. This is a one-aisle basilica with many domes and a tall bell-tower. The interior has fine frescoes, a marble throne for the archbishop and a marble icon screen. In the past, the church was a female monastery and belonged to a nunnery.
The silver icon of Virgin Mary inside the church is believed to be miracle-working. Legend says that in 1790, 18 boats of Algerian pirates were about to get ashore and the desperate residents of Folegandros went to the church to pray for their lives to Virgin Mary when a strong northern wind blew and sank all the boats of the pirates, of whom all drowned. Since then, the locals consider Virgin Mary protector of this Cycladic island.
In accordance with an old Folegandros custom, the icon is carried to all the homes on the island during Easter.
To reach Panagia church, follow the cobbled street starting at Pounta square.