Even small things can carry significant value and that is the case with this magical place on Earth.
The stunning island of Agioi Theodoroi or Thodorou is located a few miles north of the shore near Platanias and Agia Marina beaches in Chania. Even though the island is just a small and barely noticeable point on the map, it carries vivid history and ecological significance. In fact, this habitat is preserving protected Cretan wild goat species, the famous Kri-Kri.
Just because of this, getting on Thodorou island is prohibited for visitors which is the main sign of how much locals respect the Cretan Wild Goat Kri Kri. The only day in a year when visitors can visit the island is on St. Theodore’s day which is the island’s patron saint.
When that day arrives, several boats are transporting visitors, so coming to see this place is a one-life opportunity. Next to the Thodorou, there is another island called Glaraki which also deserves your attention. One more interesting fact about this island is that it looks like a monster with an open mouth that you can see from the bird’s perspective. This is because of the incredibly large arched cave on the island.
The beauty of Agioi Theodoroi or Thodorou
Thodorou island is a very small, yet charming island in the sea north of Chania. The island carries ruins, legends, and rich history from it’s vivid past. The island is fundamentally popular for its natural beauty so it is considered a National Park. Magnificent species of flora and fauna make this island like a little part of heaven on earth. The population of the rare Cretan wild goats is one of the biggest attractions of the island that a lot of people want to visit every single year.
History of the island
The history of Thodorou is quite interesting and carries different legends. The Island was not originally called Thodorou. In fact, throughout the ages, the name was changed many times. The first name of the island was Akytos or Akoition (i.e. unsuitable for habitation). After that, the name was changed to Letoa or Toullouros. The island actually got this current name according to the Saint Theodore three-aisled church. Unfortunately, this Christian Church that was dedicated to the commander Saint Theodore does not longer exists. Therefore, visitors can expect to see just some ruins of the church that are left.
The island was considered a sacred asylum during the Minoan period, which tells a lot about the strong energy that the place has. In the Venetian time, during 1574, an incredible fortress was built. Its purpose was to protect the Platanias area from invasions. The two incredible polygonal fortresses took two years to build. The primary one was named Turluru and it was located on the top of the island while the second one that was located a little lower was named by the island church St. Theodore or S.Francesco.
During the year 1645, the island was attacked and occupied by Turks, even though locals battled and defended the island heroically. The main heroism act was when the commandant Vlassios set fire to the fortress’s arsenal and blew everything in the air because they did not want to surrender to the Turks.
In 1650, the island was returned to Venetians, and after 30 years the Turks took control for one more time. After that, Cretans possessed the island, until 1897 when the Greek army defeated them and occupied the whole area.
As you see, many nations fought for this island. That is the reason why today only ruins are left. However, the ruins of two incredible fortresses and Saint Theodore’s church are valuable as they tell a long story!
The Cretan Ibex (Kri-Kri) on the Island
Preserving the protected Cretan ibex species is one of the most crucial reasons why this island is so valuable. In 1930, when the Agia Marina village and the Chania hunting association settled the agreement, the island became a nature reserve. There were no goats on the island, so a local caught one male and two females Kri Kri in Samaria Gorge and released them on this island in 1935. However, this was a very small community of goats, so they needed to bring more Kri Kri in order to support their breeding. The island even provides Kri Kri goats for zoos all around the world due to their uniqueness.
One of the most interesting legends linked to this island refers to the name Monster (the locals name it that way). Thodorou has an incredible cave in the south, and it looks like an open monster’s mouth.
When it comes to the story about the island’s creation, there are different myths you can hear. One of the most popular stories says that the island was created after the Christian times. Moreover, one resident saw a huge monster with its baby approaching Crete ready to attack. (Some stories say that the monster was actually a giant bear). When that resident shared what he saw with the folks, they all began to throw spears and arrows from afar in order to kill the monster and the baby. However, since they could not achieve that from a long-distance, they started to come closer.
Their women were so terrified that the monster would kill all of them, so they started to pray for them to Saint Marina and Saint George. As the myth says, the saints heard their prayers and made the monsters petrified with their mouths open since they wanted to devour the Cretans. Both monsters were transformed into two Saint Theodore islands – Thodorou and Glaraki.
How to get there?
As we said at the beginning, there is only one day in the year when visitors are welcomed on this island – June 8th, the name day of Agios Theodoros (Saint Theodore), the patron saint of the island.
On this day, many boats and sailing trips are organized in order to transport visitors to the island. Therefore, if you happen to be in Chania at that time, do not miss this unique opportunity to experience the beauty that this island has.
Discover Thodorou Island
The island is a fantastic place to visit via boat or sailing vessel. Its distance from the Venetian Harbour of Chania makes it an ideal stop for numerous sailing tours and boat trips! Check the tours we propose to try! They are some of the highest-rated tours in the area.