Places near church
Saint George at Voila
The twin-naved church, dedicated to St. George and to St. John is located southeast of the settlement of Chandras and next to the ruined settlement of Voilas which is dominated by the magnificent medieval tower. The architectural type of the church has emerged as a result of the successive interpolations to the original, single-nave church, the present south aisle, which was originally expanded to the west and to which the north aisle was added later. On the south wall of the western expansion is a funerary monument-arcosolium that has the worn representation of the enthroned All-Holy Virgin the Vrefokratousa with the donors, members of the Salomon family, on its drum. George Salomon in 1518 and members of his family in 1560 were buried here, according to the two written inscriptions. A very interesting miniature representation accompanies the second inscription on the west wall, in which a scene of funeral mourning is depicted, in a monotone colour scheme, with the dead woman on the deathbed and, around it, the threnodists and, probably, relatives lamenting.
In the Voila position to the east of Chandras are the remains of a Venetian castle, which include parts of the tower, the storerooms and other constructs, as well as two of the fountains that supply water to the area to this day.
The settlement of Voila (In Greek: Βόϊλα) is 1km away from the village of Chandras in Sitia area, Lassithi Prefecture. It is a medieval deserted village protected by the Greek Archaeological Authorities.
The name Voila probably comes from the Byzantine word Voilas or Volias, i.e. a nobleman, a landowner. The current form of the church constitutes a complex made up of the conjoint churches of St. Georgios and St. John the Evangelist. St. Georgios is located on the southern side of the church complex and predates St. John’s church. However, the lower section of a niche that protrudes to the east indicates that it was also built over an older church.
The two churches, which communicate through large arched openings, belong to the type of single-nave barrel-vaulted churches with two transverse reinforcing arches. The western part of the church of St. Georgios is slightly elevated compared to the rest of the church. It seems to have been modified to accommodate the tomb of the founders, which is also the most interesting aspect of the whole building complex. It is in fact a pseudosarcophagus located in the southwestern corner. Above it on the southern wall, an arched frame with a funerary fresco accompanied by an epigram of folk style can be seen.
The scene depicted is that of the Virgin Mary and Child sitting on a throne, while on either side there are two noble couples. One of them has a child with it and is wearing interesting clothing, and the second couple is of older age: According to Gerola who dated this scene to 1516, the eldest person depicted is Georgios Salamon, a Venetian Patrician (Gerola 1993, p. 339 and fig. 17). Following specialised research, this appears to probably be the ancestral family of our national poet Dionysios Solomos, which moved to Iraklion and from there to Zakynthos. This surname is found even today in the villages of Sitia. Many people with the surname Solomos lived in Chandras according to Gerola. The register of noble lords of Sitia of 1582 mentions Giuane, Piero and Marco under the surname Salamon, names which also appear alternatingly in the family tree of the Solomos family in Zanynthos.
On the western wall above the tomb, there is also a second fresco of small size in a rectangular frame, which depicts a mourning scene and bears an inscription dated 1560 A.D.
Metamorfosi tou Christou (Transfiguration of Christ)
A large, single-space church, it dates back to the mid-15th century and quite likely once served as catholicon to a monastery than no longer survives. The church is extensively decorated and its murals survive in relatively good condition. Worthy of note are the depictions of the Twelve Great Feasts and of scenes of the Second Coming, as well as the mural of the cycle of Creation and the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
ΓΥΜΝΑΣΙΟ ΧΑΝΔΡΑ ΛΑΣΙΘΙΟΥ
South of the Venetian castle in Voila there is a fountain with relief sculptures on the limestone.
ΔΗΜΟΤΙΚΟ ΣΧΟΛΕΙΟ ΑΡΜΕΝΩΝ ΣΗΤΕΙΑΣ
Koimisi tis Theotokou (Dormition of Mother Mary) (Armenoi)
The originally arch-covered church was later expanded with the addition of a narthex. The remarkable icons in its chancel screen date back to the 18th and 19th century
The Chandras plateau is located in the southwestern part of the park and covers a significant portion of land, which hosts two hamlets (Chandras and Armeni), the archaeological site of Voila and numerous any human activities and crops.
Agios Georgios (St. George) (Armenoi)
A single-space arch-covered church, Saint George was subsequently expanded with a narthex. The church was likely built during the late Byzantine era. Its murals date back to the 14th and 15th centuries and depict scenes from the Christological cycle.