The Island of Iraklia

Iraklia is a tiny Greek Cycladic island with only 150 inhabitants, and here you will find total peace and calm. If you have trouble sleeping in noisy places you have definitely come to the right island: there is basically no cars or traffic at all, no discos and generally, not a lot of people either.

You have to like walking if you want to explore this island, since there are almost no means of transport. There are a few things to see, including beautiful churches, and the beaches are also quite lovely.

Iraklia was probably a Cretan - Minoan settlement in the 2nd millenium BC, since there is a city of the same name on Crete. It could also have had some sort of worship of Heracles, since that is what the name of the island means. Taxes were collected from both the Venetian and Turkish rulers, but apart from that, the island was pretty much left to itself. The Kastro or castle does indicate though that people lived here under Venetian rule. The island also belonged to the monastery of the Virgin Mary (Panagia) on Amorgos during the Middle Ages.

Iraklia has a few caves and churches of interest, but you'll have to walk to all of them. The best known cave is the cave of St John (Ag Ioannis). Legend has it that he stayed here for a while, and that the altar in the cave is the very same he would pray at. It takes about two hours to walk there from the port. Chora, is the capital, and the locals call it the Virgin Mary or Panagia. There are also organized excursions to and from Naxos and Paros several times weekly in the summer.

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