Early Christian Basilica

In the coastal settlement of Panormo, about 20km south of Rethymnon, there is the impressive early Christian basilica, which according to tradition is dedicated to Agia Sophia (St. Sophia).

The basilica dates back to the 5th - 6th century, yet it seems that there were at least two other construction periods. It was violently destroyed, probably due to the Arab invasions of the 7th century, as is the case with other basilicas at that time on Crete. However, coins and inscriptions found in the premises indicate that the place was used at least until the 9th century.

It is a three-aisled wooden-roofed basilica with a transverse aisle, with a total length of 54m and a maximum width of 23m. The three aisles of the temple were separated by high pillars bearing columns with Corinthian capitals. The dimensions of the temple bear prove that ancient Panormo was a great and powerful city.