Institute for Mediterranean Studies


InteractiveGraveyard Information Management Tool & Virtual MemoriamDatabase

The e-MEM project seeks to create the foundation for a tool that enables ubiquitous exchange of graveyard and related information over the web.

The e-MEM project is partially funded by the eContent program of the European Union. The project seeks to create the foundation for a tool that enables ubiquitous exchange of graveyard and related information over the web. In Europe there currently exists no tool for the facilitation of effective communication between graveyard operators and the public. This lack of communication seriously affects both the exchange of best practices between these organizations and the publics ability to access important information related to graveyards and their deceased relatives.

e-MEM will investigate the possibility of building a standard template, bringing together the different policies & standards of registering, and offering info on, the deceased in Europe; one standard applicable to all regardless of their language, culture and religion; and the relevant business possibilities.

Final Presentations




Teikn a lofti ltd.
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Foundation for Research & Technology, Hellas (F.O.R.T.H.)
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Institute for Mediterranean Studies

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Eleni Peraki, MA. (archaeological & historical data, Local traditions & customs, archives)

Dr. Evagelia Karimali (archaeological & historical data)

Nektaria Hetzogiannaki, MA. (historical data, war cemeteries, photos of the cemeteries)

Giorgos Haviaras, MA. (historical data, muslim cemetery, photos of the cemetery)

Maria Ilvanidou, MA cand. (archaeological & historical data, catalogues of cemeteries)

Marianna Katifori, MA cand. (archaeological & historical data, catalogue of cemeteries)

Magda Kaskanioti, MA cand. (historical data, photos of the cemeteries)

Lena Kokkinaki, MSc. (GPS, cartography, Graveyard organizational structure )

Olympia Lazaridou, BA. (GIS, Local traditions & customs, Graveyard structure)

Vasilis Trigas, BA. (GIS, GPS & Total Station mapping, Local traditions & customs)



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Diana Varnaite
Indre Baliulyte


Burial Customs


Cemeteries & Burial rites

The oldest skeleton remain found in the Aegean is the human skull found in the Cave of Petralona, northern Greece. Although the circumstances of deposition and dating of this skull remained problematic (it dates to 160,000-240,000 years ago), such finds (i.e., finds from Atapuerca in Spain, >300,000 years old) are hardly evident of deliberate burials during this remote period. It is only by the Upper Paleolithic that burials are reported from a few sites such as Theopetra cave, Thessaly and Apidima, Peloponnese, with evident of offerings (bone tools). Top of the page


Cemeteries & Burial rites

Two caves, Francthi Cave, Peloponnese, and Theopetra Cave, Thessaly, have produced evidence of deliberate burials. In the first site, a place near the entrance to the cave was selected for burying seven adults and two infants in the Lower Mesolithic period. Other skeletons were later deposited in shallow pits, covered by stones and probably accompanied by offerings. Evidence of cremations also exists at the same site. Top of the page



Burial rites

For the early Neolithic period, still little is known about what was the norm concerning burial practices and funerary rites. Until now, three different patterns have been identified:

1. Intramural burials, mainly of infants, adolescents and females (i.e., Franchthi cave, Knossos, Sesklo in Thessaly, Nea Nikomedia in northern Greece etc). These were mostly pit-burials, located outside the houses or rarely under the house floor. They comprise the majority of the cases of burial evidence in this period.

2.Special cremation areas, set outside of sites, as that identified outside the site of Souphli Magoula (tell), Thessaly, dated to the 6th millennium (Gallis 1982). Here the bodies were burnt on circular pyres and then were probably placed within pits closely clustered. Vase offerings accompanied the bones in many cases.

3.Cases of 'secondary burials' comprising several skulls and selected bones (i.e., Prodromos, Thessaly), a pattern also observed in the later Neolithic periods as well.

Given the lack of concentrated human burials in the majority of Early Neolithic cases and the little evidence of rituals (i.e., standard body orientation, offering goods etc.) in intra-mural burials, it is now proposed to see these burials more as exceptions than as a rule, as they contained ?individuals who were denied normal funerary rituals?most often because they had not reached the required age or social status' (Perles 2001:277, 279). It is plausible then that the vast majority of the people of a village were not buried within or near the houses. On the other hand, as cases 2 and 3 suggest, some deceased were associated with the identity of the whole community and the collectivity of live individuals.


Inhumation cemeteries of the later Neolithic periods have been excavated in several places. Among the best well-preserved are the cemeteries of Kephala, on the island of Keos, Cyclades and of Tharrounia on Euboia. At both sites graves were made of rectangular or circular stones, made of schist or limestone and were covered by cover slabs. Burials within these graves varied from one to several. Offerings such as clay and marble vessels were deposited for the dead. Cremation areas continued into the Late Neolithic period as well (i.e., Platia Magoula Zarkou, Souphli, Thessaly; Gallia 1982).Top of the page


Burial Rites

During this period, and especially phase II, burial evidence increases. Cemeteries of ?cist' and built graves increases as well. Sufficient evidence of burial customs derives from several organized cemeteries dated from phase II (EBA II). Inhumation is the only burial custom practiced (no evidence of cremation have been produced so far). In the Cyclades, cemeteries show certain recurrent features that allow us to classify them as a special category. Douma's analysis (1977) give us a full review of their standard characteristics. Among them are:

1.Intramural burials, mainly of infants, adolescents and females (i.e., Franchthi cave, Knossos, Sesklo in Thessaly, Nea Nikomedia in northern Greece etc). These were mostly pit-burials, located outside the houses or rarely under the house floor. They comprise the majority of the cases of burial evidence in this period.

2.Special cremation areas, set outside of sites, as that identified outside the site of Souphli Magoula (tell), Thessaly, dated to the 6th millennium (Gallis 1982). Here the bodies were burnt on circular pyres and then were probably placed within pits closely clustered. Vase offerings accompanied the bones in many cases.

In terms of funerary rites, inhumation was much more common than cremation. The latter has been suggested by excavators of tumuli (Lefkas and Olympia). Inhumation burial practices included the position of the dead in a contracted state, the placement of offerings (pottery, marble, obsidian, copper tools etc), the number of which varied possibly reflecting status differences.


Three types of burials existed:

1. Cycladic (EBA) cemeteries included clusters often divided into sections or subgroups by rock outcrops (i.e., Chalandriani, Syros). Such clusters might have belonged to small family groups or to extended families (Tsountas 1898). The majority of them occurred on sloping ground Pelos on Melos, although a few were set on narrow flat areas. In order to protect the graves from downhill wash, natural rock outcrops were used or retaining walls were built along the slope. The small extent of the cemeteries, consisting of groups of 15-20 graves was the norm. Yet, in a few instances cemeteries of more than 50 graves have been reported. Chalandriani on Syros is considered a true necropolis (>600 graves).

2. A consistent feature of Cycladic cemeteries is that no standard point of orientation of the graves is another. In hilly cemeteries, graves were placed in accordance with the slope of the ground (eastwards, westwards, southwards etc. depending on local conditions of slope).

3.The types of graves included cist graves (that is, subterranean rectilinear pits, often covered by a slab as a capstone), corbelled graves (pits the lower parts of which are lined with courses of dry-stone walling) and rock-cut tombs (rectangular chambers with a doorway approached by a short dromos). These types roughly correspond to chronological sub-phases as well. However, cist graves are ubiquitous in Cycladic cemeteries.

In general, Cycladic burial practices and cemeteries share certain common features, shown also in a few cemeteries of the mainland (Manika, Ag. Kosmas), Crete (Ag. Fotia) and Asia Minor (Iassos). Such similarities, as long as the presence of Cycladic finds in these areas outside of the Cyclades allow researchers to assume strong communication ties (trading, colonization?) or cultural affinities between the Cyclades and the outside world, especially during phase II (Keros-Syros phase).

Turning to the Greek mainland, a rather diverse pattern of grave types existed. Aside from those cemeteries with strong Cycladic elements (containing mostly cist graves, that is pits with stone slabs or rubble built walls), other types of graves included chamber tombs and tumuli. Rock-cut chambers, found at Corinth, Elaphonisi, N. Makri, Manika etc. consisted of a circular, rectangular or trapezoidal chamber, a doorway (stomion; optionally) and a passageway (dromos). Tumuli, that is, mounds of earth and stone covering graves are mainly a feature of phase III (EH III). Top of the page



A general uniformity in architectural features and burial customs is observed during this period, perhaps reflecting a cultural transformation from the preceding period. The most prominent feature is a tendency to prefer the intramural placement of graves (whether this term denotes infant burials underneath the houses, within abandoned houses or cemeteries and plots just outside the settlement). In terms of types, pithoi/jars, pit/cist and built graves, and tumuli continue into this period. In Mycenae, the Mycenean capital, a new type, the shaft graves are found in the so-called Grave Circle B. These were chambers accessed through a shaft sunk through the earth. They were either constructed with stone walls or carved out of the bedrock.

Burial rites

In terms of burial practices, certain features such as the position of the dead in a flexed position, or the custom of successive, multiple burials continued into this period. Yet, MBA graves are characterized by a poverty of goods, the most common being jugs, cups, bowls, suggesting the ritual consumption of food and drink. Storage vessels and cooking pots, jewellery, metal and obsidian tools were also found. Shaft graves produced wealth of exceptional value such as gold bands, cups, jewellery and other artifacts particularly made for covering the body. In some cases, horse skeletons accompanied the dead. Finally, a new type of grave, the warrior grave appeared in this period. These are tombs containing a dead accompanied by warrior equipment (i.e., Aigina Kolona).

Aside from the evidence of an emerging class of elites (wealthy families, warriors etc.) suggesting political fragmentation, funerary practices suggest an emphasis on the collective identity, whether a kin group or extended families. Top of the page



The Late Mycenean I-II period is a period in which the role of the dead was transformed. First there is now more investment in the construction of tombs and the placement of grave offerings that has no parallels in the past. This fact is related to the need for building impressive constructions of chamber and tholos tombs in direct relation to the social status of the Mycenean deceased (military aristocracy?). In fact, this glorification of death is a typical Mycenean element. On the other hand, there is a continuity in favoring intramural inhumation in pit and cist graves - a proof of continuity with the MH tradition.

The best example of shafts graves is that of Circle A in Mycenae. The graves had a shaft and walls enclosing the pit, although in some cases it seems that the roof beams were supported by rock-cut ledges and they stood in a circle (Cavanagh and Mee 1998). LHI tholos tombs are widely distributed in the Peloponnese, especially Messenia and Argolid. In terms of location, this was dictated by the need of using a rock outcrop. Some were placed on the acropoleis, but most of the well-known tombs of this period (Kakovatos, Vapheio) were built in 100 m distance from the settlement. It may be that the location of the tomb was determined by the social status of the deceased. In terms of architecture, tholos tombs were comprised by massive walls (square, carefully dressed Cyclopean walls), the tholos, the relieving triangle of the facade and the walled dromos. Inside the tombs, pits, cists and benches existed. The most impressive tholos tombs (Kakovatos, Peristeria, Vapheio) demanded a significant labor input.

The Late Mycenean III period coincided with the disruption of the Mycenean bureaucracy and state, and the movement of people to the Aegean islands, Crete and Cyprus. Yet, there is a general continuity in tomb types and cemeteries. In some cases tombs of the previous period continued in use (most of the Peloponnese), whereas in a few cases new tombs (Achaea in Peloponnese, central Greece) or new cemeteries (Aegean islands) came in use. In terms of grave types, intramural burials in pits dug between houses (Tiryns), or in abandoned structures (Mycenae) continued into this period. Tumuli also continued, whereas distributed also in peripheral areas (Thessaly, Asia Minor, Crete), tholos tombs followed local traditions. Extramural cemeteries, like that of Perati, continued also.

Burial Rites

In terms of finds, of the total tombs found in Circle A in Mycenae only a few were found intact, whereas the majority was found disturbed. Tholos tombs contained multiple burials of males and females. Inhumation was the rule, although cremation also existed especially at a later date. The dead wore jewelers, and were accompanied by sealstones made of precious stones, weapons (swords), cups of gold and silver. Apparently, the luxurious grave offerings show a desire for display and were used as status symbols. Some scholars see in this tradition as a medium for competitive display. There is some evidence that some kinds of rituals were performed in some of the graves (layers of ashes). The dead was treated in a uniform way, buried in an extended rather than a contracted position.

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Sub-Mycenean Period

Burial rites & Cemeteries

During the 12th-11th centuries (Sub-Mycenean period) an important change took place that marked a complete break from the previous Mycenean practices: this is the dominance of the single burials in cist or pit graves (Desborough 1995; but note Crete and Messenia continued to use multiple burials). It is now suggested that this practice had its roots in the periphery of the Mycenean world (e.g., Epirus, Thessaly, etc.) and it was later spread to other regions of Greece..

In the meantime, the practice of inhumation continued in the Aegean. Inhumation was mainly practiced in cist graves, that is, slab-lined rectangular pits cut into earth or bed-rock. From the two well-known cemeteries of Arsenal (Salamis island) and Pompeion (Kerameikos, Athens) we learn that graves were laid out in plans, in parallel rows. Small layers of stones heaped over the graves were used as markers in some cases. Although inhumation continued to be the rule, secondary cremation?that is cremation not taking place in situ, but probably in another place- also existed. Grave offerings were simple, ranging from pottery (oil flasks, stirrup jars and lekythoi) to simple jewellery (dress fastenings [fibulae], spiral etc.).

Two are the most characteristic features attested: 1. chamber tombs are now smaller in size (e.g., Perati) and 2. tombs of the previous era are re-used. In general, the impression gained is that of the preference of economical ways to treat the dead.

Proto-Geometric Period

Burial rites

The following period (Proto-geometric period; 11th-10th centuries) is characterized by a major regional diversity in mortuary practices all over the Aegean (Lemos 2002:184). Two new mortuary tendencies emerge in this period:

1. The practice of single burials (exceptions: Messenia, Crete) became a rule now, compared to the fashion of multiple burials of the previous period. This new tendency is linked to major labour expenditure, as shown by the skill and the materials employed for their construction (but see also some double burials, Lemos 2002:189). The new idea may had ben introduced from the periphery of the Mycenean world.

2. A new rite, cremation, which gradually dominated for adults, as shown in a number of examples all over Greece (Lemos 2002). This rite probably was introduced by Myceneans who had copied it from the Hittites and presumably that's how it spread from Asia Minor to Greece. It was probably a time consuming rite with special symbolic importance (Lemos 2002, 186ff). In general, cremated remains were deposited in urns buried in chamber tombs. Most Protogeometric cremations were secondary, as a few pyres have been located (e.g., Nea Ionia). In Attica, cremated remains were put into an ash urn?mainly a neck-handled amphorae for men, and a belly-handled amphorae for women--, which in turn was placed into a round hole of a square or rectangular pit. Then, graves were marked by small mounds of earth. Gradually, as a rule, most adults were cremated, although there are regional exceptions to this rule. Offerings included weapons, jewelry, pins, vases etc.

Inhumation remained a common practice for children, buried in smaller pits of simpler construction. However, in several cases inhumations were practiced along cremations, a fact showing that the two practices were employed by the same community in the same period. Offerings in inhumations were miniatures for children, whereas in cremations varied from vases, bowls, jugs to clay figurines, little jewelry and iron spearheads.


Burials were arranged in cemeteries (over thirty graves) or smaller groups of 2-3 tombs. The most long-used cemeteries of this period are in Athens, Lefkandi, Asine, Atalanti, Kos and Crete. Smaller clusters of tombs, whenever found, might indicate either their link to smaller communities, or that they are only parts of the larger unexcavated cemeteries. In terms of cemetery location it is difficult sometimes to locate the settlements they were attached to (e.g., Agora). When this become possible (e.g., Lefkandi near Xeropolis), it is obvious that these were extramural cemeteries, located outside the domestic space. In terms of gender differentiation, a special care for gender distinction is noted during this period.

Geometric Period

Cemeteries & Burial rites

In the 9th and 8th centuries (Geometric period), cremation ceased to be the dominant practice, and inhumation took over especially in Athens. Its presence is particularly marked in the rich cemeteries of Odos Peiraios and Kynosarges, founded by leading Athenian families. The need for reserving special place (plots) for family members now emerges. Cremation is rare in Athens (e.g., exception is the cemetery of the Odos Kriezi in which conservative noblemen were buried. There, the type of urn changed, from the clay amphora to a cauldron of bronze, possibly associated with men). After 700 B.C. cremation became again the rule for the aristocracy.

In other parts of Greece, again a great regional variety in burial customs is attested. For example, in northern Cyclades (Tenos, Naxos) single inhumations have been reported, whereas in the southern Cycladic islands (Kimolos, Melos) cremation was the rule. In Thera they placed successive cremations in built champers, laid on terraces. Pyre cremations were also found in Donousa and Naxos (Goldstream 2003). Especially in Naxos, 20 tumuli were found near the small settlement. These contained cremation pyres, placed in rectangular graves. In Crete urn cremation remained also the rule for adults. From contemporary vases we learn much about the funeral rites. The most common scene depicted is the ?prothesis', showing the dead person surrounded by mourners. A few other vases show the ekphora, the carrying of the dead, followed by the procession of warriors and chariots. Possibly this rite reflects honor for the dead and was reserved for aristocratic families.

A separate mention should be made for the so-called ?hero-cults' of this era. A new respect for the Mycenean dead and the tholos tombs of the previous era arose this period, possibly connected to a rising heroic cult. The presence of Geometric pottery around these tombs, with no evidence of using them, along with other lines of evidence (e.g., sanctuaries dedicated to Homeric heroes) show that people in the Geometric period got astonished with the size and the degree of sophistication of these monuments and perhaps were exposed to stories of a splendid remote past. Thus, after the 750B.C. a flow of votives to these tombs started leading to a votive heroic cult, often connected to well-known Homeric heroes (e.g., Odysseus, Agamnemon, Menelaus etc.).

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Burial rites

Although the cultures that preceded the Greeks practiced inhumation exclusively, the Greeks eventually developed the custom of cremation (which may have been brought from the East) and the two methods were used alternatively over time. Some thought that burning the body was necessary for the psyche to leave so cremation was performed for the sake of the dead's soul. The ashes were then placed in an amphora and buried in the same procedure as a body.

During the Archaic Period, cremation became more popular and started to be executed in the grave itself (they previously cremated at another location and they brought ashes to the grave).


Burials in the city may have been banned at this time. Tombs were built above graves and gravestones became more elaborate. Inscriptions on the "stelai "told the name of the deceased, the name of his family and who erected the monument.


Burial Rites

In Homer's time it was believed that the dead were escorted to Hades. This belief dominated into the Classical period as well. In the fifth century B.C. the passage to Hades was seen as a gradual one. It required Charon and Chthonic Hermes to guide the soul of the dead downwards.

A. Inhumation

The individual sections of the burial ritual were:

1) prothesis (laying out the corpse),
2) ekphora (carrying the corpse out to burial)
3) perideipnon (the funeral banquet).
4) Thereafter there were annual gatherings in memory of the deceased.

The prothesis, took place the day after a death in the house. It lasted the whole day, and it took place when the traditional laments were sung and the relatives and friends of the deceased said farewell for the last time. Bandaged in a linen wrapper the corpse was placed on a bier - a high trestle with a thick mattress covered with "epiblemata "(piece of fabric covering the mattress of the funeral couch or the corpse). The head of the deceased was raised on a head-rest. It was the women of the family who were in charge of preparing the corpse for its laying out. They washed it, rubbed it with olive-oil, dressed it, and decorated it with flowers, wreaths and jewelry.

On the third day, before sunrise, the ekphora (= carrying out) took place. This was when the deceased was transferred from the house to the grave. It involved a procession that, by law, had to go noiselessly through the streets of the city. When the procession arrived at the graveside, the corpse was placed in the grave. It had been a tradition from the time of Kekrops (according to Cicero) to plant seeds in the soil of the grave mound - thus ensuring that the dead person would rest in peace and that the earth would be purified. Other ancient writers further tell us that choai (= liquid libations) were poured onto the grave. We also know that there was a ceremony called "trita "(= the third day rites) which took place at the grave two days after the death.

After the corpse had been buried, the mourners returned to the dead person's house. Outside the house there stood a pot. This was a sign that there had been a death and that the household was contaminated by a miasma (= pollution). This pot contained water - brought from elsewhere - with which the mourners cleansed themselves as they took their leave.

The "perideipnon "(= the funeral banquet) took place at the home of the deceased. It was a chance for relatives to come together and talk about the dead person. Cleansing the house is also referred to, as are restrictions on the number of people permitted to enter it. From the archaeological finds on top of graves - such as ashes, animal bones, potsherds from drinking vessels, "pinakia and lekanides "- it used to be thought that the perideipnon was held at the graveside. Comparison with literary evidence makes it seem more probable that the meal took place in the house, and that the charred substances and the smashed pots on the tomb should be interpreted as remains of food-offerings to the dead. Eight days after the burial, the relatives and friends gathered at the tomb to perform the "ennata "(= ninth day rites).

It is not known exactly when the end of mourning took place but it must be signaled by a ritual. According to the ancient writers, after this ritual, the household resumed normal life, having performed their 'duties of custom' (nomizomena) to the deceased.

The rituals that followed a death were often the occasion for an adoption, thereby enabling a parent without an heir to ensure that the rituals were properly performed. This shows how important they were. A fair number of these anniversary rites are mentioned in passing by some ancient authors. They had names like Genesia (anniversary), Nemesia (rites for the god Nemesis), Nekysia (corpse rites), Epitaphia (rites at the tomb), Horaia (rites of the Hours), Apophrades (impure days), Miarai Hemerai (days of the curse), Anthesteria (spring-flower rites), and Eniausia (anniversaries). They probably involved a visit to the tomb (during which offerings of flowers, wreaths or fillets were made) and a domestic gathering.

B. Cremation

In Classical Athens cremation of the dead was, at least until the fourth century B.C., a burial practice of limited frequency. Two types of cremation can be distinguished: primary and secondary.

In primary cremation, the corpse was reduced to ashes inside the grave; in secondary cremation it was incinerated on a pyre outside the grave and the ashes were then buried in a clay (or metal) urn. Primary cremation had made its appearance by the Archaic period; it was secondary cremation, however, which was the commoner practice of the two and where there is greater variety in the types of ash urn used. Clay ash urns were pots, either without any decoration or painted in the red-figure style. Normally they were not purpose-made for burials, but had previously served as household utensils.

The urn was laid directly on the ground or was placed in a protective box. A bronze lebes or hydria (placed in a small stone box with a lid) often served as an ash urn. In a few cases traces of the cloth wrapped round the cremated body or round its receptacle have survived. Cremation of infants was a practice acceptable to Classical Athenians, but was not popular at all. In one case bones of small children have been found in the remains of a pyre, but we cannot be sure whether this is a case of infant cremation or the remains of burnt offerings.


In Classical Period the cemeteries lay outside the city walls. The type of burial was very much a matter of personal or family preference. As in previous periods, inhumation and cremation were most common, with the number of cremation tombs increasing significantly during the fourth century B.C. Rituals and grave-offerings did not differ greatly from those of the Archaic period.

A. Graves

The simplest type of grave was the "pit-grave ". This was a pit dug into the ground. Its walls were sometimes plastered with lime, and its earth floor was covered with a layer of pebbles or stones. From archaeological finds we know that the tomb was sealed by slabs. Any grave offerings were placed either inside the tomb or next to it, and there was normally one grave per person. Multiple burials in pit-graves are occasionally found in Classical Athens, but they were due to unusual circumstances, such as the plague epidemic during the Peloponnesian war (Thucydides 3.87).

Tiled graves were very fashionable in Classical times. The corpse was laid to rest (either directly on the ground or, more rarely, on a layer of tiles), and a protective canopy of flat tiles of fired clay was set over it. Quite frequently, tiles were also placed vertically on the narrow sides of the grave. As with pit-graves, grave-offerings were placed inside the grave or next to it.

Built tombs were either free-standing buildings or annexes (on one or more sides) to other structures. They were either made entirely of brick or had brick side-walls and an ashlars frontage of stone. A gravestone was often placed on a built tomb.

When a sarcophagus was used for burial, the common material used in the case of an adult was marble or limestone and the sarcophagus was covered with slabs. For minors, it would be of stone. A sarcophagus was either hewn from a single piece or made in sections: it had a lid (either flat or gabled). The walls and roof were frequently plastered with mortar of lime or marble. Sometimes there was painted decoration. It is partly because sarcophagi were sealed that grave-offerings are as well-preserved as they are, and lie in their original positions.

Children were normally buried in rectangular or oval clay bathtubs. These were smaller and cheaper to make than sarcophagi. Bathtubs could be used in twos, one stacked on top of the other. They were sometimes decorated, inside and out. It was common for a child to be buried in a special children's cemetery, either in a large pot or in a pit covered with flat clay tiles or with round clay pipes not unlike the ones used as water-ducts.

Cenotaphs were empty tombs for those who had died in a far away country, or whose bones could not be found (as for example in the case of death at sea). Cenotaphs were a part of the complex of public graves found along the road to the Academy; and they were also used for private burials. Offerings were also made at cenotaphs: in some cases, they were placed around a large rock simulating the corpse.

B. Offerings

The gifts that accompanied the corpse were placed in ditches, or in specific places in the pit-grave's coverlet of earth, or around the corpse. The class of grave-offerings of which we have most examples are clay pots (e.g. kylix, lekanis, ribbon-handled banded plate or pinakion white-ground lekythos, lebes gamikos, hydria and chytra). Two types of pot that were specially associated with child burials were the chous (a small trefoil-lipped oinochoe) and the thelastron.

A second class of grave-offerings were stone vessels of marble or alabaster: (pyxis with lid, plemochoe, and alabastron). Favorite objects, as well as pots, could be grave-offerings to the dead. Some objects of this sort found in the graves of Classical Athens were toys, strigils, and mirrors. A small amount of jewelry has been found in Classical Athenian tombs - mostly bronze and gold rings and earrings. Clay statuettes have also been found in a number of tombs, and show figures of a familiar and popular kind: seated female figures, busts, animals, toys, and plangones.

C. Burial rites for the dead in battle

A large number of graves of the Classical period have been discovered to the north-east of the Kerameikos. These can be assigned to a cemetery which grew up just beyond the Erian Gate. Archaeological research has shown that during the Classical period it was connected to the Kerameikos cemetery by a series of alleys running roughly east-west. Such a street would have had Classical tombs along both sides.

Classical burials have also been found in the area south of the city wall that led to the Acharnai Gate, closer to the Agora and the Acropolis.

On the east side of Themistoclean walls and the Diochares Gate (north-east of what is now Syntagma Square), there is another extensive cemetery. It contains a large group of Classical graves inside circuit walls. Construction work on the new Metro station has uncovered new tombs here.

There was a large number of gates (experts disagree over their names) on the southern section of the Themistoclean wall - the section running south of the Acropolis from the Temple of Olympian Zeus in the east to the present Piraios Street in the west. Evidence from the ancient sources and archaeological finds points to a Classical cemetery that extended beyond the Diomeia Gate, the gateway to the Kynosarges road. Both in the neighborhood of the Itonian Gate (west of what is now Makrygiannis Street) and also on the road that led south from it towards Phaleron, a large number of Classical graves were found. Classical burials were found further west as well, at the Long Walls and along the river Ilissos. They probably stood on both sides of the road that ran round Philopappos' Hill and left the city by the Halade Gate, at what is now Erechthiou Street. On the far side of the Long Walls, south of the Sacred Gate, there were one or two further gates, but no Classical cemetery has yet come to light in this neighborhood, although grave markers have been found built into the walls.

D. Public Graves

Beside the shrines of gods and heroes, there were tombs all along the road to the Academy that passed through the Thriasian Gate (Pausanias 1.29,2). Beyond the Gate was a neighborhood that served as the public burial ground. Here, according to ancient Athenian custom (patrios nomos), the bones of fallen warriors were buried. Exactly when this custom started, and whether it continued unbroken after its introduction, we do not know, but it was certainly not observed for the dead from the battles of Marathon and Plataea.

The only surviving description of the topography of the Demosion Sema, the public graves of Athens, is in Pausanias. Its accuracy is open to question: even if Pausanias was using fourth century B.C. sources, the terrain of the Kerameikos had undergone over the years.

The earliest public graves that have been found to date lie in a line parallel with the Themistoclean walls, from which they were separated by the Processional Way. They were covered over after the end of the Peloponnesian War, and district was later rebuilt. It was at this time that the public graves started to take over, not only the north and south sides of the outwork built parallel with the Themistoclean walls in the second half of the fifth century B.C., but also at points on both sides of the road to the Academy and the Thriasian Gate. The earliest public grave yet excavated that can be identified with certainty, the Grave of the Lakedaimonians, dates to 404/3 B.C., but Pausanias gives us a catalogue of the monuments - twenty in all - to men killed in battle during the fifth century B.C.

A number of public graves had elaborate carvings - usually showing horsemen and warriors - and an inscription with the name of the deceased. Apparently the production of these funeral monuments was unaffected by the tomb legislation of the Classical period that strictly limited the number of relief sculptures. The city would honor its fallen with special ceremonies on the day of the funeral and annually thereafter. .Top of the page



Burial Rites

In Hellenistic as in Classical period both burial practices, cremation and inhumation, were in use though the latter seems to be the commonest as well as the less expensive. Children were usually buried and not cremated.

A. Inhumation

The individual sections of the burial ritual were:
1. prothesis (laying out the corpse)
2. ekphora (carrying the corpse out' to burial)
3. perideipnon (the funeral banquet)
4. Thereafter there were annual gatherings in memory of the deceased.
The prothesis, took place the day after a death in the house. It lasted the whole day, and this was when the traditional laments were sung and the relatives and friends of the deceased said farewell for the last time. Bandaged in a linen wrapper the corpse was placed on a bier - a high trestle with a thick mattress covered with "epiblemata "(= piece of fabric covering the mattress of the funeral couch or the corpse). The head of the deceased was raised on a head-rest. It was the women of the family who were in charge of preparing the corpse for its laying out. They washed it, rubbed it with olive-oil, dressed it, and decorated it with flowers, wreaths and jewelry.

On the third day, before sunrise, the ekphora took place. This was when the deceased was transferred from the house to the grave. It involved a procession through the streets of the city. When the procession arrived at the graveside, the corpse was placed in the grave. Choai (= liquid libations) were poured onto the grave.

After the corpse had been buried, the mourners returned to the dead person's house. Outside the house there now stood a pot. This was a sign that there had been a death and that the household was contaminated by a miasma (= pollution). This pot contained water - brought from elsewhere - with which the mourners cleansed themselves as they took their leave.

The "perideipnon "(= the funeral banquet) took place at the home of the deceased. It enabled the relatives to come together and talk about the dead person. Cleansing the house is also referred to, as are restrictions on the number of people permitted to enter it. From the archaeological finds on top of graves - such as ashes, animal bones, potsherds from drinking vessels- it used to be thought that the perideipnon was held at the graveside. Comparison with literary evidence makes it seem more probable that the meal took place in the house, and that the charred substances and the smashed pots on the tomb should be interpreted as remains of food-offerings to the dead. Two days after the death a ceremony called 'the third day rites' (trita) took place at the grave. Eight days after the burial, the relatives and friends gathered at the tomb to perform the 'ninth day rites' (ennata).

B. Cremation

Two types of cremation can be distinguished: primary and secondary. In primary cremation the corpse was reduced to ashes inside the grave; in secondary cremation the corpse was incinerated on a pyre outside the grave and the ashes were then buried in a clay (or metal) urn. In secondary cremation, which was the commoner practice of the two, there is greater variety in the types of ash urn used. The difference between Classical and Hellenistic period is only in the type of the receptacle. The urn a) was laid directly on the ground b) was placed in a protective box or c) was put in the niches cut off the sides of chambers in chamber-tombs. In a few cases archaeologists have found traces of the cloth wrapped around the cremated body or around its receptacle.


The gifts that accompanied the corpse were placed beside the body, in ditches, in specific places in the pit-grave's coverlet of ground, or in wall niches in the chamber tombs. They could be classified as personal things of the deceased, objects of everyday life, or objects made for the grave. The most common grave-offerings were clay-pots of various types. A second class of grave offerings were stone or metal vessels, figurines, lamps, weapons, jewelry, and coins ( e.g., "Charon's fee ", a coin used as a payment to Charon). Grave-offerings could be related to the profession or to the age and the sex of the deceased also. For example strigils have been found in men's tombs, mirrors in women's tombs and toys in children's tombs.

What is new in this period is the wreathing of the deceased. Golden wreaths are found in burials of both practices (cremation and inhumation) from the 4th century B.C.. In some cases have been found inscribed plaques with curses on them (katadesmoi) or with Orphic or Pythagorean instructions for the dead.


The remaining evidence regarding legislation for burials is concerned primarily with limiting expense and the period of mourning. The late 4th century legislation for Athens by Demetrios of Phaleron placed limitations also on the rites of death. This legislation specified the types of monuments which could be erected as well as their magnitude. It requested a modest burial without undue expense for ceremony or monument. It also restricted the ekphora in the early morning hours. Monumental tombs of Hellenistic period make it obvious that these restrictions were local and found no match elsewhere in the Hellenistic world.

A 3rd century law of Gambreion (near Pergamon), on the other hand, specifies the period of post-burial rites and of mourning, as well as the appropriate color of the mourners' dress.


In Hellenistic Period the cemeteries were laying outside the city walls. They were rarely defined by walls. The tombs were placed in plots or groups and were not filling the ground of the cemetery in a systematic manner. The orientation was usually dictated by the slope of a hill, by the position of a road and other topographical and economical factors. In the cemetery of Kerameikos in Athens many of the earlier graves were covered over and the land was artificially leveled so as to be reused for burials without disturbing the earlier graves. In Alexandria cemeteries took the form of "Necropolis ", an organized "City of Dead ", as certain distinctions were taking place within the cemetery area (e.g., Egyptians and non-Egyptians were buried in different areas of the cemetery).


Burials of Hellenistic Period are almost alike with burials of Classical Period. The simplest type of grave was the "pit-grave ". It consisted of a simple earth-cut shaft, which was either left unprotected or covered by a few slabs. Pit graves were normally used for single burials and the offerings, if there were any, were put inside or over them.

The most common type was the "tile-grave ". The corpse was laid directly on the ground or on a layer of tiles. A canopy of fired clay tiles protected the body. Quite frequently, tiles were placed on the narrow sides of the grave. The main difference between Classical and Hellenistic period is that in the Classical Period people preferred to use flat tiles but in the Hellenistic Period they preferred round tiles.

Chamber tombs became popular in this period. They were common in Crete. These tombs were either rock-cut or built, had the form of a single rectangular chamber or of multi-chamber tomb. In the early Hellenistic period loculi (= rectangular niches for sarcophagus or for urns) were curved on each side of the chamber.

Monumental tombs were used mostly for multiple burials. In some cases they had the form of "chamber tombs ", either rock-cut or built (sometimes a combination of both, depending on the local geological formation). These tombs were underground (rock-cut and built tombs) or free-standing (almost without exception built tombs) and in some cases (e.g. the Macedonian tombs) the chambers were covered by tumuli. Tomb furniture such as funerary couches (klinai) and more rarely thrones can be found in the interior of the chambers.

Hypogeum was a variation of a monumental chamber tomb. It was a multiple underground rock-cut tomb with various chambers set on either side of the passageway. A hypogeum could have more complex forms, since more than one passageway could be constructed. In Crete six tombs of the simplest type of hypogeum have been excavated in Chania. They have a central passageway on each side of which parallel rectangular chambers are set. Each chamber was closed with a slab. The passageway was approached by a long dromos.

Monumental tombs can be found in necropoleis around a city (e.g. Petra, Cyrene etc.). They can also be found as groups extending over a region (e.g. Macedonia, Numidia etc.). They probably were constructed as family tombs although some of them were also used as communal tombs. In the cemeteries of Alexandria for example, by the mid-third century BC many tombs were planned as communal burial places for members of professional guilds, religious associations and other fellowship societies.

There is a great variety of types and subtypes as regards the form and construction of Hellenistic monumental tombs. Therefore it is very difficult to adopt a uniform classification. They could have the form of altars, columns, lighthouses, towers, cubes, cylinders, pyramids, sarcophaguses, porticos or of more complex constructions, often with separate architectural units, like houses, courtyards or temples.

Macedonian tombs are the most characteristic type of Hellenistic monumental tombs in Greece. They consisted of a spacious rectangular burial chamber, with one or two "klinai "inside. In some cases there were niches on the walls for ashes and offerings. Behind the facade was a shallow antechamber with a connecting door between them. The roof was mostly barrel-vaulted. A "dromos "(= built passageway) was leading to the entrance of the tomb. The latter in larger tombs had architectural decoration. The tombs were constructed of local limestone, and the walls were coated with stucco, which in some cases bore painted decoration. The whole construction was covered with an earth "tumulus ".

"Mausoleum "was originally the name of the monumental tomb of Mausolos, dynast of Karia, at Alicarnassos. Later on, the term has been applied to tombs which could vary typologically but had in common the extremely decorative appearance and magnitude. These monuments often consisted of a high podium with a lighter superstructure above (often in the form of a pyramid or of a sarcophagus) and were very popular in Asia Minor.

"Heroon "was a funerary monument (that could be of various types and forms) at which the cult of a hero was perpetuated. It was a combination of a tomb and a temple structure and usually had an altar in the vicinity. It seems that during Hellenistic period a change in attitude to the dead and his aspirations to immortality took place and as a result of that some cases did appear where the recently dead was worshiped as a divinity or a hero. After Alexander the Great, hero cults sprang up in numerous localities and were usually housed in impressive architectural forms of great size. A basic arrangement was to enclose the tomb within a temenos, like a sanctuary. In their most complex forms they contained separate architectural units, apart from the funerary buildings, such as courtyards, baths, stadiums etc. (e.g. the Heroon of Antigonos Gonatas), resembling to a gymnasium or to a basilica.

Cenotaphs were empty tombs for those who had died in a far away country, or whose bones could not be found. They belonged mainly to military personnel and were treated as real burials. They could have various forms and it is frequently difficult to distinguish them from real tombs.

Communal tombs were usually mass burials with no particular form, normally of simple construction. In the Hellenistic period, though, there are also examples of communal graves of extremely elaborate architectural form (e.g. the communal Lion Tomb at Knidos).

Grave Markers

When grave markers were used there was no distinction between cremation and inhumation tombs. They could be made of ground, brick or stone and were put on top of the tomb or in front of it. The most common type of grave marker was the "stele ", which was a gravestone. The shape could be either rectangular, or with pediment top and architectural frame. Another class of grave markers was the "trapeza ", which had the form of a low block resembling a table. In this case the tomb marker served also as a receptacle of offerings to the dead. In East and North Greece of this period grave altars are common.

Tomb markers in form of statues are also known from the Hellenistic period. These could be statues of the dead or of animals or mythological creatures. Lions, for example, were usually used in case of communal tombs (e.g. the Lion Tomb at Knidos). Other types of tomb markers have the shape of columns or vases (usually hydriai), while "Hermes "and "phalloi "were also used during this period. Top of the page



Burial Rites

Until the 1st century A.D., apart some exceptions, the most common rite in Rome had been cremation. During the 2nd century A.D. a revolution in burial customs took place and a striking change in the method of disposing of dead had happened. Inhumation spread gradually throughout those areas of the Empire where cremation had been the normal habit. New mortuary tendency, embalmment, emerges during the Late Republic. It was a rare practice as it was considered that it was an outlandish rite.

In Greece both inhumation and cremation was practiced but inhumation was the commoner practice of the two. In this period there is no definite evidence for any practice except inhumation the island of Crete. What could be taken as an evidence for cremation is a clay jar (which could have been a cinerary urn) found in a chamber tomb at Gortyna. It is possible that the tomb belonged to an Italian immigrant, since it is known that numerous Italians have settled at Gortyna during the 1st century B.C. As regards the burial customs followed in Roman Crete what could be said is that they continue the tradition of the previous periods. On the other hand, after the conquest of Crete and the establishment of the roman colony in Knossos (Colonia Iulia Nobilis Cnosos), a diverse spectrum of rituals was practiced in the prefecture of the island.

The funeral procession of Roman citizens depended on the political and social status of the deceased. For the ordinary citizen the "funus translaticum "was the most common procedure. Close friends and relatives of the dying person were gathering in his house to comfort him as death was approaching. It was the duty of his mother or his oldest son to give him the last kiss as he breathed his last (as if this last breath was to be caught in the mouth of the living). Afterwards, altogether started to call his name and to lament him. The eyes of the dead were closed, the body was washed with warm water and anointed, the limbs were straightened, and a small coin was put between his teeth with which to pay his passage across the Styx in Charon's boat. If the deceased had held a curule office, a wax impression of his features was taken. The body was then dressed in the toga with all the insignia of rank that the dead had been entitled to wear in life, and was placed upon the funeral couch in the atrium, with the feet to the door, to lie in state until the time of the funeral. The couch was surrounded with flowers. Before the door of the house were set branches of pine or cypress as a warning that the house was polluted by death.

Burials usually took place at night. Children less than forty days old were always buried during the daylight. Relatives or close friends (4-8 male individuals) hold on their shoulders the deceased, who was on the funeral couch, and bring him to the place of inhumation or cremation. Professional women mourners were following the procession.

By law, all burials should take place outside the city. When the funeral procession arrived at the place where the inhumation or cremation was about to take place, a little earth was thrown on the corpse. In case of inhumation, the body was either buried directly on the ground, usually fully extended, or was first placed in a sarcophagus. If the body was about to be cremated, it was ceremonially necessary that some small part of the remains, usually the bone of a finger, should be buried in the earth. A shallow grave was dug and filled with dry wood, upon which the couch and body were placed. The pile was then fired and, when wood and body had been consumed, earth was heaped over the ashes into a mound (tumulus). The burning of the body took place either at the exact place of the tomb (primary cremation) or at a place specially reserved for cremations (secondary cremation). The remains of the body were drenched with wine and put in receptacles of various types and materials. Professionals were in charge of the funeral arrangements.

It is common practice in many places of the Roman Empire to leave holes or put pipes on graves so as to pour food and drink directly on to the burial. On the funeral's day were organized funerary meals at the tombs place. Similar meals took place the ninth day after funeral and on commemoration days. On funeral's day at the deceased's house took place cleansing ceremonies and rites of purification.

The "Nine Days of Sorrow" were observed by the immediate family of the deceased. At the end of this period a sacrifice (sacrificium novendiale) was offered to the dead, a funerary meal (cena novendiali) took place at his house and funeral games were given. The period of mourning, however, varied between three and ten months, depending on the age and on the kind of relationship one had with the deceased. During the year there were days of commemoration of the dead of both public and private character. To the former belong the "Parentalia ", to the latter the annual celebration of the birthday (or the burial day) of the deceased and the festivals of violets and roses (Violaria, Rosaria), when the relatives laid flowers upon the graves or over the urns. Offerings were also made in the temples and at the tombs in all these occasions.

One of the most interesting aspects of Roman rituals concerning death is the emphasis placed upon the long-term continuity of the family. After the burial, a portrait of the deceased, in reality a mask, was placed in a conspicuous position in the house. In this way a kind of gallery of ancestral portraits was created and in the funerals of notable men the images of distinguished ancestors were paraded.

Special types of funeral

If the deceased was a soldier killed on the battlefield the normal procedure was the "funus militare ". In this case soldiers were collectively cremated or buried and the expanses were paid by their comrades. In the case of persons who had given the State distinguished service, a public funeral, "funus publicus "was held. The body was exposed and honored, a panegyric was read and the expanses were paid by the State treasury. For the emperors and the members of their family the "funus imperatorum "took place, which was of particular magnificence.


The grave-goods found in burials of the Roman period illustrate a widespread Roman practice. They were jewellery, pieces of military equipment, toilet boxes, eating and drinking vessels, lamps, cooking vessels, gaming counters, children's toys, figurines etc. They could be classified as personal things of the deceased, objects of everyday life, or objects made for the grave. Another class of grave-offerings is related to the special abilities (e.g. profession) or to the age and the sex of the deceased. The kind and the number depended on deceased's wealth and social status. Their purpose was to honour the dead and at the same time to serve them at the afterlife and make them feel comfortable like at home. Offerings of food were left as well at the tomb or poured in it through wholes and pipes. The gifts that accompanied the corpse were placed beside the body, in ditches, in specific places in the pit-grave's coverlet of soil, or in wall niches in the chamber tombs.


Legislation and regulations for burials were concerned mainly with limiting expense spent on private funerals and with defining the persons who had the duty of celebrating the funeral rites and those on whom the cost of the obsequies devolved. A regulation, laid down in the Twelve Tables, on the other hand, defined that all burials should take place outside the city-limits.


Roman law strictly prescribed that city's cemeteries should be outside its walls. They normally developed alongside, or in association with, the roads that led outside the city into the open country. These roadside cemeteries contained of blocks or groups of contiguous tombs of similar shape, each group following a common alignment. The alignments of the various groups of tombs in a single cemetery often differed a lot from one another and we can assume the absence of any public control of a cemetery's growth and of any overall rational planning of it as an entity.

In the northern and western provinces of the Roman Empire, and particularly in Britain and Gaul, some unroofed walled cemeteries, with great variations in size and character, exist. In some cases these walled funerary enclosures served as Mausoleums, or were planned for members of a single family or for a whole community.

A special category of cemeteries, used by the Christian and the Jewish communities in the Roman Empire, is that of the Catacombs (2nd-4th c. A.D.). They were complicated underground cemeteries, made up of long intersecting galleries excavated on soil of volcanic origin. Along these galleries burial chambers (cubicula), truly family tombs, were also cut on the soft rock, while in the side walls of the galleries horizontal tiers of graves rose from the floor to the ceiling. These graves could either be rectangular niches (loculi) with only one body in them, or much larger niches with an arch above them (arcosolia) where it was space enough for a sarcophagus. Tombs were also dug into the floors of the galleries or of the chambers. The martyrs' tombs were usually converted into bigger rooms, the crypts, which took part of small underground churches. The desire of being buried as close as possible to a tomb or a shrine of a martyr is illustrated by the extraordinary density of tombs close to them. Symbolic representations were painted and inscriptions giving information on the deceased were written in the tombs. The access to the catacombs was made by staircases, while, in order to obtain light and fresh air, shafts (luminaria) were cut through the soil to the surface of the ground. More than 60 catacombs are found in Rome itself, but there are also other examples from the rest of the Roman Empire (Central Italy, Naples, Sicily, Malta, Sardinia, North Africa and elsewhere). In Greece the best example comes from the island of Melos. where the catacombs are consisted of three main intersecting galleries with arcosolia. Burials were dated between the end of the 2nd to the end of the 5th century A.D.

The tombs, whether intended to receive bodies or ashes or even both, differed a lot in size and construction depending on the different purposes for which they were erected.

The simplest type of grave in this period, as in others, was the "pit-grave ", consisted of an earth-cut shaft, which was either left unprotected or covered by a few slabs (cist-grave or slab-grave). Pit graves were normally used for single burials and the offerings, if they were any, were put either inside or over them.

The other simple and equally common type of grave was the "tile-grave ". The corpse was laid to rest, either directly on the earth or on a layer of tiles, and a protective canopy of tiles of fired clay was set over it. Quite frequently, tiles were also placed vertically on the narrow sides of the grave.

Pit and tile graves are very common in Greece, including Crete, as elsewhere in the Roman Empire, and they continue, with no great differences, forms known from the preceding periods.

Another type with spread use in the Roman Empire, which is also very common in the island of Crete in this period, is the chamber tomb. The tombs of this type could be either rock-cut or built (constructed of masonry or brickwork) and could vary from the simplest form of one chamber to the more elaborate and complex forms of multi-chamber tombs. They usually had niches, smaller (loculi) or larger (arcosolia), on the walls of each chamber where the sarcophagus or the urn was laid. In Crete three variations of rock-cut chamber tombs can be found, all with arcosolia and some with loculi as well, cut on their sides. The basic type is consisted of a plain rectangular chamber, the second type has also an anteroom and the third type has an anteroom and two chambers. These tombs do not seem to have continued in use in the island once Christianity had become established, by the 4th century A.D. A variation of the chamber tomb is the so called hypogeum. This was a multiple underground rock-cut tomb with various chambers set on either side of a passageway. A hypogeum could take more complex forms, since more than one passageway could be constructed. The most complex and spectacular funerary hypogeum is that of Aurelii in Rome.

There is a great variety of types and subtypes as regards the form and construction of Roman monumental tombs, which make it very difficult to adopt a uniform classification. For example they could have the form of arcs, columns, towers, pyramids, obelisks, porticos or more often houses or temples. In Crete examples of the free-standing barrel-vaulted tomb type have been found in the south coast. They are constructed of rubble masonry and have a narrow doorway and arcosolia on the three walls. Most of them stand on built platforms. Similar tombs have been found in Cilicia at Amerium, although the Cretan examples are of a simpler type.

"Mausoleum "was originally the name of the monumental tomb of Mausolos, dynast of Karia, at Alicarnassos Later on, the term has been applied to tombs which could vary typologically but had in common the extremely decorative appearance and magnitude. These monuments often consisted of a high podium with a lighter superstructure above. During the Roman period the so called mausoleums could have various forms; among them very popular were the rectangular and the circular towers (e.g. the Mausoleum of Augustus), examples of which exist also in Greece (e.g. the Mausoleum of Galerios in Thessaloniki). In Crete of this period there are some examples of the type of the rectangular free standing mausoleum are found, constructed of stone or concrete. They have a very distinct distribution, since all the evidence come from the area of Knossos (4th-5th century A.D.).

"Heroon "was a funerary monument (that could be of various types and forms) at which the cult of a hero was perpetuated. It was a combination of a tomb and a temple structure and usually had an altar in the vicinity. In this period, some tombs in the form of temple were a kind of heroon.

In Crete the foundations of a heroon of either Hellenistic or Roman date was found in the area of Knossos.

Cenotaphs were empty tombs for those who had died in a far away country, or whose bones could not be found. They belonged mainly to military personnel and were treated as real burials. They could have various forms and it is frequently difficult to distinguish them from real tombs.

Columbaria were large tombs intended to receive great numbers of urns. They are usually partly underground, rectangular in form, with great numbers of the niches (also called columbaria) running in regular rows horizontally (gradus) and vertically (ordines). In the larger columbaria provision was made for as many as a thousand urns. Around the walls at the base was a podium, on which were placed the sarcophagi of those whose remains had not been burned, and sometimes chambers were excavated beneath the floor for the same purpose. In the podium were also niches, that no space might be lost. If the height of the building was great enough to warrant it, wooden galleries ran around the walls. Access to the room was given by a stairway in which were niches, too; light was furnished by small windows near the ceiling, and walls and floors were handsomely finished and decorated.

The niches were sometimes rectangular in form, but more commonly half round. Some of the columbaria have the lower rows rectangular, those above arched. They contained ordinarily two urns (ollae, ollae ossuariae) each, arranged side by side, that they could be visible from the front. Occasionally the niches were made deep enough for two sets of urns, those behind being elevated a little over those in front. Above or below each niche was fastened to the wall a piece of marble (titulus) on which was cut the name of the owner. If a person required for his family a group of four or six niches, it was customary to mark them off from the others by wall decorations to show that they made a unit; a very common way was to erect pillars at the sides so as to give the appearance of the front of a temple. Such groups were called aediculae. The value of the places depended upon their position; those in the higher rows (gradus) were less expensive than those near the floor; those under the stairway were the least desirable of all. The urns themselves were of various materials and were usually cemented to the bottom of the niches. The tops could be removed, but they, too, were sealed after the ashes had been placed in them; small openings were left through which offerings of milk and wine could be poured. On the urns, or their tops, were painted the names of the dead, with sometimes the day and the month of death. The year is rarely found. Over the door of such a columbarium on the outside was cut an inscription giving the names of the owners, the date of erection, and other particulars. constructed in the time of Augustus, probably because of the high price of land which affected the purchase of private burial grounds. Most of them belonged to burial clubs, associations which were formed for the purpose of meeting the funeral expenses of their members, usually poor people and slaves.

Sepulchral Gardens

Funerary gardens (cepotafia) are first mentioned in the provinces of Orient and by the 2nd century A.D. they spread to the rest of the Empire. These gardens were enclosed by walls, planted with a variety of trees and flowers, equipped with wells and furnished with buildings such as dining rooms for the organization of funerary meals and offers to the dead. Top of the page


People, as far as burial customs are concerned, seem to be conservative, they face their ancestors' death and interment with dedication and constancy in the traditions, beliefs and habits that they have bequeathed. Thus, many of the today's customs have their routes in antiquity and in Homer's time. On the other hand, the changes which have taken place in the post-Christian era should not be underestimated. Jesus Christ's Death and Burial, the foundation of Church, the Christian martyrs' graves and the belief in resurrection of the dead have formed the burial ritual from the Byzantine Era to the modern time.

Burial rites


Α man who felt coming towards the end, prepared his will and singed it assuring he was sane of mind. Then a priest came, like a forerunner of death, to shrive and administer Holy Eucharist. At the same time, his relatives and people close to him came to farewell their beloved one. This borderline situation, in which a man was dying, was described with several expressions, those were delivered by sources, and seem to have a continuation from the Homeric era to the present.

After death had come, relatives closed the eyes and mouth of the dead and then, according to Jewish tradition which was followed, they spread myrrh over the body - for clerics this procedure was coming off with crossway moves. The custom of anointing the dead body in this manner is mentioned by early Byzantine writers and continues being attested until the 15th century.

After the wrapping of the body, they prepared the corpse for the "prothesis "or lying-in-state, by dressing and adorning it. The Byzantines placed an icon upon the crossed hands of a layman, a custom which continued by modern Greeks. Relatives and friends, according to many sources, visited the deceased in the time of "prothesis "in order to farewell him.


Afterwards, the relatives mourned, women took off their head coverings, plucked out their hair, torn their clothes and hit parts of their body. Sometimes men expressed their sorrow with the same dramatic moves. There were cases in which these expressions were so excessive that they led mourners to death. These events were characterized as "non Christian "and as a continuation of ancient Greek and Jewish customs and although there were attempts to prevent them they can still be found in modern Greece.

People also mourned the dead with dirges, encomiastic and lugubrious songs. Some information about the context of these songs is delivered in Byzantine novels. Τhey spoke about the lost youth of the young goner, expressed the moan of widowhood for the husband who left and asked the last piece of advice from the deceased parent. Furthermore, there were professional keeners who were called for the dirge. The night before the inhumation, the dead was kept by his beloved, a compulsory ceremony in the folk thought, which still persists in the Greek countryside.


After the dirge, the funeral named "eksodion "came. The first part of "eksodion "was the procession and the carry of the deceased from his house to the church. This ceremony was not supposed to take place in any specific time, but due to the harsh Mediterranean climate, mainly the strong sun, no delays were allowed.

The dead body was laid in a coffin (pheretron), with the face uncovered. During the procession, relatives, friends or even professionals carried the coffin on their shoulders. The coffins were like beds, mostly made from common wood, but in the case of ?richer' burials the beds were made of cedar-wood, cypress or even silver or gold. The simplest coffins, from the Byzantine era to the 20th century belonged to the churches and were rented for the burials. All the relatives, friends and slaves of the deceased took part in the ceremony. If it was a request of the dead or a promise from his relatives, slaves who followed were let free by the law. If the deceased was a member of a craft union, all his colleagues were bound to be present at the burial. The "eksodion "of public persons was attended by all the citizens, while in aristocrats procession even their horses were there.

In the procession, clergymen chanted holding candles. They were followed by censers, people carrying the coffin and laymen holding candles. Professional keeners participated continuing the dirge. They were protected by the law and nobody could disturb them during the lamentation. Bells tolled during the procedure.

Burial service

In the church, the coffin was placed on a base. If the goner was a cleric it was laid in front of the altar. If he was a layman was laid at the narthex. His head was placed on the West while his "gaze "was towards the East. This Christian custom, applied at the prayer as well, was unknown in the ancient years and it is believed that it was bequeathed by the Hindu during the Hellenistic era. In the 15th century all the dead were placed in the main temple for the service.

The service came after containing prayers and hymns for the rest of the dead soul. Throughout the centuries, new requests were added in the office. This religious part of the ceremony was different for laymen, priests, monks or infants.

In case of the non-Christians, heretics and sectarians, infants that had not been baptized, people who had taken an aphorism and had not regretted and self-slayers who did not suffer from any mental illness, this procedure did not include the religious part, but only the inhumation.


After the ceremony, people accompanied the coffin to the grave, where, like the ancient Greek and Jewish traditions, a beloved one delivered a speech, biographic and commendatory for the dead and comforting for his family and friends. Then, they placed the corpse into the grave, the priest poured oil to the body and they threw a ceramic piece or plate with an engraved cross on it, a custom which was kept until recently.

From the Byzantine era, funerals started to take place during the day, since Fathers of the Church fought the belief of ancient Greeks and Jewish which alleged that dead were impure and because of this were buried during the night. But this belief continued to exist through the centuries and until recently; cleaning after the burial thought to be compulsory and the crossing of a funeral was considered as a bad omen. Burial in the father land of the goner was usual, and in case of an inhumation away from it, relatives transferred his bones later on.


The great sorrow for the Byzantines, as a continuation of the Roman tradition, was held according to the law for nine days, while the widow had to grieve for a year. Cutting off the hair and wearing black clothes, were indications of sorrow, ancient customs that persist in the Byzantine and Ottoman period until modern times. Furthermore, bereavement was shown by avoiding food, slicking up and bathing. In this period of time, the limitation of social contacts, especially for widows, was rather expected.

Memorial services

After the interment, fixed memorial services took place, including funeral suppers on the graves or offers made of wheat to the congregation. In the Byzantine and the Ottoman era, memorial service for the dead, took place, just like today, on the third, ninth and fortieth day from his death, and then after a year, intervals with theological symbolism. In memorial services relatives brought to the church and then to the grave "koliva ", roasted wheat mixed with pomegranate, almonds, raisins and cones. The wheat persists to be up to the present day as a symbol of Resurrection, because the seed is inhumed and dies so to vegetate. Apart from "koliva ", according to the ancient Greek and Jewish customs, funeral suppers on the graves, or food to the church which was given to the poor were also offered. Some findings in graves, like cauldron, pitchers, plates etc are evidence of these dinners. This custom was kept until the 12th century, but in some villages in Peloponnesus and on the day of dead (Sept. 14th) in Istanbul, it persisted.

The ancient custom of liquid libations (choes) was conserved by the Byzantines, and modern Greeks. In Macedonia, Trabzon, Capadokia, Crete and the villages of Olympus, during the days of the memorial services people were making drink-offerings to the grave with wine, from the hole or special bottles.

Kings' burial

There was a specific ceremonial for the funeral and the burial of the kings. A dead king, who was to be transferred, was embalmed. He was placed in a golden coffin, which was covered by the imperial tabard and was carried in a coach accompanied by armed men dressed in royal purple color. The corpse was received in the capital by the lords, the senate, the army, the crowd and the chanting clerics. There was a special ceremony for the exit of the dead body from the palace, an imposing procession and a ceremonial funerary service afterwards.

The members of the imperial family, along with the courtiers and officials showed their bereavement by wearing clothes of specific color depending on the status of the royal dead. While the emperor in case of losing a relative of first degree wore white, people in king's death wore black. A developed ceremonial for patriarchs' funeral was also in place.

During the first centuries of the Byzantine Empire, kings were buried at Holy Apostles in Constantinople, in the galleries of the church, in the mausoleum of Constantine and the mausoleum of Justinian. In the 9th century there were about forty five imperial sarcophagi at this temple. Other burial places of emperors and their families were several churches and monasteries, usually in the capital, which most of the times had been built by the dead kings, like Peribleptos, the monastery of Lips, the monastery of Christ Pantocrator.

Imperial sarcophagi were made by red, green, white or rose marble, depending on kings pre-selection, they were luxurious and often had depictions on.


There were provisions in the Byzantine law dealing with a number of issues: the deprivation of an ecclesiastic funeral, funeral issues, the compulsory participants, judging whether a funeral was legal or not depending on the time of burial, laws about the owner of the grave, ground or field and the record of the burials on it, adjudicating what consists a contempt of a dead body, of the dead or his heirs and about the penalties, especially in cases where the offenders were lenders of the dead.

Sources do not deliver provisions which entrench the ecclesiastic burial of the dead Christians. The lack of such a provision is substituted and absolutely covered by the tradition of Church, which considers this obligation as a matter of course.

According to a document by patriarch Photios (858-867), the omission of an ecclesiastic burial from a priest, in case it involved deceit, consisted an offence which should be punished. Another patriarchic document (1143 ad) abjured heretic monks and among the accusations was the deprivation of an ecclesiastic funeral with the excuse that deceased Christians had not regretted for their sins. A similar document (1356 ad) convicted a metropolitan bishop, who among other offences had prevented priests to make funeral ceremonies for two Christians.

Taxidermy and Cremation

Taxidermy which was practiced by the Christians of Egypt was not considered as proper by the Church, since Jesus Christ was buried, but temporary taxidermy was usual for the transfer of the dead to another place. Cremation was not forbidden, but the habit of inhumation was enforced by the writings of the Christian church. The dead were cremated in the Byzantine era only in special cases, in which ashes of the dead was given to be buried. The need of burial, which dominated as a concept from the Homer's times, is shown in sources which deliver that everyone who came across a corpse, should hide it in the ground using any way. It was considered as a curse for somebody to remain unburied, a belief that still holds.


The person, who had chosen another person to be responsible for his funeral, had to assure that this obligation would be accomplished and the expenditure of the funeral disbursed by bequeathing possession with binding conditions. If this was not the case, heirs were responsible for the funeral. There were also other special provisions concerning specific categories of deceased and the responsible (members of a family etc).

While wealthy people covered the expenditure of their familiars' funeral, often with exaggeration, the poor's funeral was the state duty, with the help of the church which had a fund for the burial of the poor and foreigners. Special laws which had passed from the early time of the Byzantine Empire, were dealing with the free of charge making of funerals for the citizens of Constantinople, by ceding absolute relief from taxation to about a thousand workplaces of the city in exchange of the free of charge transfer of the dead to the cemeteries and the arrangement of the place of burial. In other words, the state offered money and the necessary personnel, which were named as ?decani', ?lecticarii' and ?copiate', and later on as, ?askitriai' and ?canonikai'.


?Decani' were commissions of the Byzantine army and had the duty to accompany the dead to the place of burial, and to keep the order at the time of ?ekfora' and inhumation. ?Lecticarii' were those who brought ?lectica', e.g. the coffins, in which the body was transferred from the house of the dead to the church, where the ceremony took place and then to the place of inhumation. ?Copiate' were the persons who made the grave or arranged properly the place of burial in the cemeteries.

?Askitriai' and ?canonikai' were women devoted to the church. They were in front of or behind the coffin canting, and were responsible to provide good service to the dead in monasteries and hotels. ?Mnemoralii' were those who made the graves, the royal tombs and were responsible for their guarding.

Provisions mention the salaries and the way of payment of all of these persons, depending on the type of the funeral, the coffin and the place of burial. They also mention interests in case of delayed payments and penalties for financial delicts against the personnel or the relatives of the dead.

Professionals, not only in Byzantium but also later on, were the keeners, who were hired and paid by the mourners, without being legal.


During the first Byzantine period the cemeteries were situated outside the city walls. In some sources are mentioned urban burials as well. At Leon the Wise's time, burials were allowed in and outside the city walls. The abrogation of this forbiddance was a result of changes in the plan, the arrangement and the size of the mediaeval cities and the appearance of burials in churches.

In Constantinople, the old cemeteries were buried with the establishment of the new city and with the expansion of the city the new cemeteries were found to be between the old and the new walls. A similar development had also occurred in other Byzantine cities. The excavations in the mediaeval Corinth revealed seven blocks of graves, which were settled in the center of the ancient city and date from the 7th to the 12th century. The same happened in Athens after its destruction by the Slavs and in Sardis after its destruction by the Persians.

During the first Christian centuries, places of burials gathered around Early Christian martyrium or memorial basilicas. Then, burials were transferred under the church's floor in the cities, after the habit to transfer the relics of saints in temples and the burial of archpriests in the altar. In addition, in monastery churches, there were graves of monks in the sanctuary and graves of laymen at the gates from narthex to the main temple.

After the 5th century two styles were shaped. The one followed the need for inhumation in the holy place of the temple, where there were the relics of saints, and the other objected to the burial of sinners in the house of God, which was opposite to the sense of humility.

Thus, after the 6th century it is opted the placement of sarcophagi in the narthex and the patio which are considered as less important parts of the temple. The will of having a grave at one of the mentioned places created a lack of burial ground and as result exonarthex, chapels, bethels, monasteries and funerary crypts under the churches were made. From numismatic clues, it results that burials in temples first appeared in the early Byzantine era, multiplies in 10th and 11th century and continuingly has a great spread in the era of Palaeologi.

From the above it is found that the graves and not the cemeteries enter the cities, even though the fact did not come along from the sources of the Byzantine law.

Burials were also held in monasteries, a fact linked with the estate of foundation. Τhis meant that the founder and his heirs had the right to be buried in the temple or at the cemetery of the monastery they had built. Sometimes the motivation of building a monastery was the founder's intention to secure a proper burial place for himself and his relatives and the unfailing prayer for the salvation of their souls.

Monastery rituals assure the existence of specially organized cemeteries in monasteries of the Empire, with the church and its priest with the exclusive duty to do funerary and memorial services. In many circumstances, especially in the cities there was a problem of the lack of space and there were cases where monasteries founded cemeteries in other areas and applied very strict criteria of the right for the inhumation in these (Monastery of the Virgin Cosmosoteira, Monastery of Christ Pantocrator).

Monasteries which did not have a cemetery, also existed, in which case the monks were buried inside the church, usually in the narthex. Founders, who after the 10th century were mainly laymen and high clergymen, also chose to be buried under the church floor. The fact that many members of imperial Byzantine families and many patriarchs were buried under the floor of monastery churches should not be underestimated.

The law forbade burials of men in nunneries and the opposite, and also the burials of orthodox in catholic temples. Martyrs, monks and clerics, kings and other officials were buried in a special part of the cemeteries or in the precinct or inside a church. There were, in Byzantine period, a number of memorial chapels with sepulchral arcosolia (sarcophagus which were dominantly placed against the walls of the temple). Byzantine emperors were buried in the precinct of the church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.

In Greek territory of modern times, there are not few cemeteries which have been deployed around Byzantine churches or above old cemeteries. At the same time, the most of Byzantine and post - Byzantine cemeteries have been destroyed or disappeared.

Foreign Cemeteries

In Byzantine period, special places, which were called ?xenotaphia', were bought by donations and were used in the cities for the dead which were foreigners.

Throughout the centuries, people from other doctrines, religions and nations coexisted along with the Orthodox in Byzantine and Ottoman Empire. Thus, in Greek territory there were and still are Muslim, Jewish and Armenian cemeteries and in more recent times catholic and protestant ones. Cemeteries of different groups also existed in places which were once under the rule of European powers (Franks, Venetians, etc). Moreover, simple graves, tombs in temples and their precincts can be found.

Foreign officials and clergymen were buried in their temples, which could had been built by themselves, or they were buried in fosse with a funerary chamber above, or otherwise in a stone or built sarcophagus which was placed in the internal or the external side of the church walls, but almost always roofed over with an arcade. On the graves and the sepulchral stele the name of the dead and his encomium, the escutcheon of his family and other mournful emblems were written. Mausoleum of this type relayed directly on the ground or shared with stone stands stuck in walls of the temple.

Muslim cemeteries were next to mosques or at the boundary of a big city. They had simple graves which had a sepulchral stele with a turban above. The type of the turban reflected the social status of the dead. According to the Muslim tradition, exhumation was forbidden and every corpse was to be buried in a separate grave.

Byzantine and post - Byzantine Christian, Muslim, Armenian and Jewish cemeteries have been transferred or even destroyed, especially in the cities. As far as the Jewish cemeteries are concerned, in many cases they were flattened by the Nazi during the German command of Greece.


The dead were either put in pits, buried in tombs, or were put in sarcophagus, in any case with their heads towards the East. Apart from the simple graves, there were cenotaphs, charnel houses and saints' graves, which functioned and still function, as shrines. Depending on their type, graves are divided in: simple (pit), encasement (larnax), tomb (constructions were the grave is included), ?hamosoria' (carven), double decked arch-like and sarcophagus.

From all the above the sarcophagi are of diachronic use and were the main subject of most of the studies. According to sources which deliver detailed descriptions sarcophagi were made of wood, metal or carved in stone or marble. The known ones have been divided according to shape, construction and dependence or otherwise on other structures into three basic types: monolithic sarcophagi, fitted from separate slabs that formed the vertical sides and the cover and pseudosarcophagi in arcosolia or immediately dependent on buildings. Regarding the subject matter depicted in the relief on the sarcophagi of the Middle and Late Byzantine periods in Greece, there are very few figurative sculptures, in contrast to the Early Christian sarcophagi, which display a much grater number of relief compositions depicting people. Animals and birds are found in Middle Byzantine period and appear with considerable frequency on the tomb monuments of the Palaeologan period. A basic motif, the arcade, is a typical element of sarcophagi in the 11th and 12th centuries, it continues to be present in the Palaeologi period and survives into post - Byzantine times. A wide variety of palmettes was used as secondary fill motives, and fire whirls and rosettes, as well as stelliform ornaments.

In the Byzantine period, graves were familial or hereditary. Depending on the social status and wealth of the dead graves were more or less simple or luxurious. An inscriptive stele was superimposed on the grave, on which, in prose or poesy, was mentioned the name of the dead and his father's, the date of his death and in brevity some biographic information. Because of the conflict between the churches it was found necessary, sometimes, to mention that the dead was an orthodox. On the gravestone a cross was fixed and in a recess were put oil lamps, icons, a picture of the dead etc. Sometimes the grave was railed, decorated with flowers, saplings, little pillars and sculptures. The grave was regarded as sacred ground and was not supposed to be stepped on. A characteristic element of graves and cemeteries was the planting of cypress, a fact mentioned from the 9th century.

Several things have been found in the graves, which were deposited for the dead, like vials with myrrh, golden wreaths, jewellery, etc. Funeral gifts caused desecration and because of this consequence many times were forbidden. Graves were protected by special guards, who did not manage always to prevent desecration, for which the Byzantine law imposed several penalties. At the same time the law had punitive sanction for cases of desecration such as the removal of bones, sepulchral steles etc. Top of the page


Historical Background

The island of Crete was part of the Roman Empire and later of the Byzantine Empire; it came to the Venetians and later to the Turks. The remaining information about the Byzantine period of the island (330-1204), which is interrupted by a century of Arabian Occupation (824-961), is very poor. The period of the Venetian Occupation (1204-1669), on the other hand, is well documented by the remaining sources and the archaeological records. Some documents and monuments of the Turkish Occupation (1669-1898) remained, too. In 1913 Crete is eventually united with the rest of Greece.

Burial Rites

Small variations differentiate Crete from the rest of Greece, concerning the habits and the ceremonies of the burial and rituals of death. Most of the available information comes from the documents of the Venetian Occupation period.

As far as the dying man's preparation is concerned, the procedure following is the same: the dying man has prepared his will and has administered the Holy Eucharist. The priests in Crete seem to have neglected this duty, as a duke's decree dating 1567 proves. That decree obliged the priests not only to offer the Holy Communion to the dying people, but also to do this very duty wearing their sacerdotal vestments and being followed by the people accompanied by the sound of bells.

The visit to the dead man's house, the wailing and the funeral procession were all carried out as usual. In Crete, while the dead person's body was at the house, they didn't sweep the floor so as not to turn the dead people's souls away, the ones had come to accompany the soul, and they filled the dead man's pillow up with olive leaves. Despite its age the custom of cutting the hair of a beloved person when he died was extremely spread out in Crete and it is continued until our days in Sfakia. Lament scenes are comprised also in "Erotokritos", with beatings to the knees and breasts, while one can recompose the funeral songs of the period from the texts of "Erofili" and others.

The funeral procession was called ?xodi' in Crete, the dead man's carriers ?sicotai', and the coffin, ?kivouri'. A decree of the Duke of Crete edited in 1356 banned the participation of the women who sang the funeral songs during the funeral procession and the funeral. The women who disobeyed this ban and the ones who invited them were punished according to the law. The same decree imposed serious limitations to the number of persons allowed to participate in the funeral procession, as well as to the streets through which they could perambulate the dead man's body.

It seems that the Cretans were used to envelope their dead in luxury, because they were threatened to be anathematized, since showed disrespect to the dead by burying gold, silver, silken dresses and others items in the tombs. The description of the majestic funeral of the Great Lord Alexios Kallergis buried in 1299 with a grand procession and with the escort of Latin and Greek to the church of Saint Ekaterini has been saved and it is also known that the thirty five thousand golden coins (?yperpyra') were spent at his funeral by his sons and heirs of his great fortune.

In Crete, however, people showed their respect through the decoration of the graves with flowers and wreaths, the headstones in prose or in rhyme and the fixed memorial services for the dead people, as it is confirmed by a range of documents and testified by the lyrics of "Erotokritos". In other places, epitaphs were quite popular tools in praising the dead. The beloved of the dead were showing their mourning by wearing black clothes, keeping the windows sealed, fasting and living without luxuries.


Not many graves and cemeteries of the Byzantine age have been discovered and thoroughly examined during the archaeological excavations throughout Crete. It's not rare to find single burials, which are brought to light without any contemporary findings and are dated from the Early Christian period until the start of the Venetian Occupation. Cemeteries or groups of graves have been found next to or within basilicas, such as in the Basilica of Vyzarios, as well as in excavations near some important cities of the first Byzantine period, such as the cemetery of Agios Titos at Gortyna and the Early Christian cemetery of ancient Kissamos.

The Venetian documents confirm that there existed a habit, during the Venetian Occupation, to bury the dead people at the precinct of numerous churches of the cities, inside of them, but also in monasteries. All the arch-bishops, the bishops, the dukes, the generals, the ?provleptai', the advisors, and the rest of the nobles and feudal lord dying, for example, in Herakleion, were buried in the precincts and the courtyard of the temples of Agios Marcos, Agios Titus, Agios Francisco etc. A lot of these burials carrying the name of the dead and of the church have been referred. Besides, there are many tomb inscriptions saved and those are still being found in excavations. It is the same case with the Greek Cretan lords and other Greek elder clerics and seculars.

The extension of this phenomenon proves the prohibition of the urban graves with a duke's decree from1365, which appears not to have been in force ever. The same decree mentions private graves in the cities, which were barred from the prohibition.

On the other hand, no precise news exists showing if there have been any cemeteries out of the cities for the people, but it seems to be the most likely. The common graves, anyway, bore the name ?kivouria'.

Except from these plain graves, there were two other kinds of graves-monuments. The one consisted of a burial chamber over the ditch made on the church's floor or around it. The other type of grave is given by the shape of sarcophagus, either stone or built, which is placed against the walls of the temple inside it or at the exterior, and an arch is raised over it. The mausoleums of this type, ?arcosolia', rested on the ground or were supported by stony props, embedded in the wall. On the graves and on the tombstones, the name and the encomium of the dead person, the family's escutcheon and others funeral emblems were engraved.

Arcosolia exist from the Venetian period reached the numbers of fifty three, since many of those were destroyed. As for their decoration they are divided to arcosolia with embossed decor, samples of Veneto-Cretan sculpture and with wall-paintings.

There are examples of sarcophagi in several churches, as well as a plan (late 16th century) which depicts the mausoleum of Mathaios Kallergis. Apart from some examples of the 15th century, most of them belong to the 16th and 17th century.

The majestic grave of K. Venieris dated in the end of 15th century was destroyed and the several pieces were laid over the door of the temple of Agios Ioannis Prodromos in Kissamos and the one of G. Vlachos in Agios Athanasios in Lithines, a temple renovated by himself, dated in 1610. Some remains of the grave of the Kallergis family still exist in the temple of Panagia on the Amarios' throne. The mausoleum of Panagia at Prinos Mylopotamou, which is in the southern wall of the west arch of the temple, is the best preserved one. The monument of Agios Ioannis at Skouloufia Mylopotamou, whose sarcophagus has been destroyed and repaired on the exterior, bears an engraved date "1531".

The Christians during the Turkish Occupation went on burying the dead in the courtyards of their churches, while in the cities they kept on using the cemeteries at the borders of the cities, mainly for the ordinary people.

In Herakleion there was a habit of burying, at least, the Greek dignitaries in the courtyard of the sinaitic dependency of Agios Matheos. Most of the Christians, though, were using the so-called "old cemetery" situated in the west of the city along the beach, where nowadays is the settlement of Agia Barbara. According to the 1671 Turkish firman, the Orthodox Christians inhabitants of Herakleion were allotted two acres of earth at the edge of grassland out of Kizil Tabya. The next year, with another firman the Armenians Christians of Herakleion they were allotted four acres of earth, in the same area, to bury their dead. In the same document there is evidence of the already existing Jewish cemetery. Kizil Tabya means the "red earthwork" where this name was given by the Turks to the west part of the fortress of Chandax facing the sea. The Greek one, the Armenian and the Jewish cemetery was somewhere near the region of the OFI stadium in Kaminia and the other Christian cemetery in the sinaitic monastery of Agios Matheos. The cemeteries of the Kaminia region left no trace, while something similar happened to the cemetery of Agios Matheos, where a tomb-inscription, found accidentally few years ago, revealed the name of an eminent Herakleio resident entombed there. In Chania, the first years of Turkish occupation, the people buried their dead near themselves, meaning that they buried them within the city limits. The increase of the population, along with the fear of epidemics had as a consequence the dead being buried outside the city walls. The Orthodox buried their dead at the cemetery of Agios Loukas, Agia Fotini, Chrisopigi and the Protestants at the cemetery of Souda. There was also a cemetery for Catholics.

In Rethymno, the Christian cemetery seems to have been in the area, where today old cemetery of Saint Konstantinos is, near Main Bus Station. Sources deliver that there were two churches, Agios Athanasios of the Franks and Agios Athanasios of the Greeks. Likely, this cemetery was used from the Venetian period.

As far as Muslims are concerned, there was the habit of burying the dignitaries, viziers, pashas, clergymen etc. in the precincts of the mosques and the tekke during the Turkish occupation.

In Herakleion, the Albanian General Hassan Pasha, who was killed after the slaughter of 2,000 Christians in the cave of Milatos in 1823, was buried in the Vizier Mosque and his grave carrying an inscription is placed opposite the Dialina warehouse. Ismael Pasha who was Christian but was converted to Muslim, while returning from an expedition in May 1867 died and was buried in the same precinct of Vizier Mosque. Abraham Baba Afentakakis was allowed to be buried, with an order of the official minister, few years ago in the Tekke of Dervish (behind the modern hotel "Knossos"), even though his remains were taken by his grandsons when they left as exchange.

In Chania during the early years the Muslims were buried within the walls. Next to every mosque there was small cemetery. Furthermore, the Turkish cemetery lies immediately beyond the south moat, in what is today Plateia 1866. Graves of Turkish generals and captains were dotted outdoors. The mausoleum of Chamit Bei, was built of marble next to the road Souda to Chania, in December 1892.

In Rethymno, the Muslim cemetery lied, in the borders of the old town and the centre of the contemporary one, in the Public Gardens. Old citizens remember several groups of Muslim graves in other parts of the city, too.

In Herakleion, most of the Turkish people were buried outside the city limits and by having the ritual of burying the dead in separate tombs, large Turkish cemeteries emerged quite fast and occupied an area of many acres. The wide area covered by the Turkish graves was given by the government to the people. Today blocks of flats and streets are built in its place. In the same temples, those orthodox churches that turn into catholic and then into mosque, where the Byzantine bishops, the Katepano of Crete and the noblemen were once buried, the Francs bishops and Dukes and generals and last of all, the Turkish viziers pashas were buried afterwards.

There were also cemeteries for the Jewish outside the cities. Likewise, in Chania, it was outside the Topanas gate, while in Herakleion it was on the western beach, near the region of the OFI stadium in Kaminia (this place is called "ton evraion ta mnimata"). This is also the region where the executions of the criminals and the murderers took place, by the Jewish executioners. Similarly this was evidenced in others regions with Franc and Turkish occupation. The Jewish cemetery of Herakleion was in use until the 20th century for the few Jewish still living in the city. Just before the Second W.W., the Jewish community of Crete was not more than 400 people. After Nazis occupied the island eight members of the Jewish community were executed and the Herakleion synagogue bombed. The Jewish cemetery of Rethymno was outside the west side of the city, where today the Main Bus Station and the Public Swimming Pool are. The cemeteries of Herakleion, Chania and Rethymno, were disfigured and destroyed.

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Military War Cemeteries

In many European countries, military war cemeteries had been established, in which soldiers and officers who had lost their lives during the First and the Second World War were buried. These cemeteries had been established either during the war, or soon after the war's end. There is also the case that a cemetery had been established for the deads of a specific fight, and thus, soldiers who had been buried in other cemeteries or isolated graves, were relocated and buried there after the end of the war. A lot of cemeteries contain burials both of the 1914-18 War and of the Second World War.

The site of many military cemeteries was chosen by authorities to be in the most attractive areas of the city or the country, maybe as a duty of honor to the young men who lost their lives. Usually the central focus of many cemeteries is the Cross of Sacrifice. The cemeteries contain headstones of a standard pattern, usually set in perfectly straight row. At the top of each headstone the national emblem or the service or regimental badge is engraved, followed by the rank, name, unit, date of death and age. In some cases, at the foot of the headstone, there is an inscription chosen by the relatives.

Some examples of European allied War Cemeteries follow:

In United Kingdom, there is the "Cliveden War Cemetery", which is in high hillside, which forms the left bank of the River Thames, along the Cliveden House estate. It contains 42 burials of soldier of the 1914-18 War, of which 28 were Canadian and the others were American, British, Australian and New Zealand. There also one Canadian and one British burial of the 1939-45 War. The markers are small plain stones still recumbent on the graves.

In France, there is the "Calais Southern Cemetery". The earliest British War Graves in Calais were three graves of 1914-18 War in the Northern cemetery and nearly 950 graves of 1914-18 and over 200 of 1939-45 War in the southern cemetery. In "St. Cemetery and Extension", there are 8.500 burials of the First World War and 300 of the Second, in an area of 49.885 square meters.

In Germany, there is the "Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery". Its site was chosen by the British Occupation Authorities and Commission officials in 1945, soon after the war's end, in one of the most attractive areas. The burials were removed from the Berlin area and eastern Germany. It contains nearly 2.700 British Burials, 530 Canadian, 220 Australian, 60 New Zealand, 30 South African and 50 Indian.

The largest Commonwealth war cemetery of the 1939-45 War in the world lies in Germany, too. It's the "Reichswald Forest War Cemetery". In this cemetery, thousands of soldiers remains were brought in, from other burial places of western Germany. It contains totally over 7.600 burials (6.400 are British).

In Italy, there is the "Beach Head War Cemetery", 2 miles north of Anzio on the road to Rome. It was established in January 1944 and it contains 2200 British and a small number of Australian, New Zealand and South African burials.

War cemeteries there are also in Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Malta, Spain, Greece and elsewhere in Europe.

There are more than 800 German war cemeteries all over the world. In the following, there are some examples; In France, there are many cemeteries with thousands of burials; There is the "Andilly" war cemetery, which contains 33,064 burials of German soldiers, in "Marigny" cemetery, there are 11, 169 burials and in "Orglandes" 10, 152 burials. In England, there is the "Cannock Chase" cemetery, which contains 4,940 German burials. In Italy, in "Costermano" cemetery, there are 21, 972 burials. All these German war cemeteries had been established by "Volksbund", a German organization, which is occupied to the organization, the maintenance and the protection of the German war cemeteries, all over the world.


Ritual Rites

In Greece, funerals are of the type of the conventional burial. The grandeur of the final service is affected by the status of the family of the dead person. The funeral is a fitting way to express one's love to the person who has just "left".

The actual process of burial has been changed a little through ages. Believing that the body is going to be resurrected, Christians have a particular procedure of taking proper care of the dead. Before the burial, relatives close the eyes and the mouth of the dead person, wash and dress the body. The color of the clothes is usually white, especially when the dead person is a baby or is unmarried. For the rest, different colors are in use. Finally, the body is laid in an open coffin and is exposed in the biggest room of the dead's house. The family and the friends come to pay their respects. They are sitting around the coffin mourning for their loss. In some places, especially in the villages and small towns, women sing their grief asking their Dear God to take care of the dead afterlife.

Nowadays, there are offices who are in charge of preparing the corpse for its laying out. The funeral fee depends on the kind of services burier (e.g., type of coffin, flowers, reception etc). The mourning in the house of the dead lasts a day. According to the law the dead person has to be buried at least 24 hours after the diagnosis of the death. If the person was very ill and was taking strong medicine before death or the weather is very hot, for health reasons, the body is not disposed for a whole day in the house. It stays in a special room in the Hospital and is brought to the church as soon as the ceremony is about to begin.

On the second day, the priest comes to the house where the dead person lies and reads the Funeral Eulogy written in the Serapion's Book. Four of the dead's relatives and friends hold the coffin and bring it to the church. The rest accompany the pomp. During the "ekphora", priests are reading some more Funeral Eulogies.

When the people who hold the coffin arrive at the church, they lay it on a small table or other kind of stand with the face facing east. It is believed that Christ comes from the East and that there is the Paradise. Sacred Words follow. Finally, people give the last kiss to their loved one.

Afterwards, in the "ekphoras" procession, the relatives or the member of the Funeral Office bring the corpse to the cemetery. Priests are reading the Last Eulogies. The body is buried facing East. The priest washes the corpse down with oil and soil in a crossway.

Dates of Commemoration

From the days of the Apostles there are a particular procession and particular dates of commemoration.

  • The 3rd day after death (symbolizes the 3 days that Christ stayed in the grave)
  • The 9th day after death (decompose of the corpse)
  • The 40th day after death (Resurrection of the Christ or the decompose of the hurt)
  • The 3rd month after death (Holy Trinity)
  • The 6th month after death (Holy Trinity)
  • The 9th month after death (Holy Trinity)
  • A Year after the day of death (Resurrection)


The Church gives the opportunity to people to organize commemorations whenever they feel it (e.g. the name day of the dead).

Dates that are not allowed Commemorations

According to the Church, there are some dates that is not allowed to being ceremonies of commemoration. These dates are:

  • The Saturday before the Sunday of Carnival
  • The Saturday before the Sunday of Pentecost
  • From the Saturday of the Lazar until the Sunday of Thomas
  • In the Magisterial Feasts (e.g. the date before the Genesis of the Christ, Pentecost etc.)
  • Days near Easter
  • The day of the Church's celebration
  • On National festivals e.g. 28th of October, 25th of March


If a commemoration concurs with the dates above, an Eulogy can be read a day before or the commemoration can be done some days before or some days after.

Memorial Service

After the funeral, fixed memorial services take place, including funeral suppers on the graves or offers made of wheat ("kolliva) to the congregation. It is believed that "kolliva" are the same custom as the coins that they used to put to the mouth of the dead in the previous periods.

Modern Cemeteries

The site of many cemeteries in Greece is chosen by the authorities in the most attractive areas in the city or in the country. They contain a small or large chapel. The headstones are of standard patterns usually set in straight or almost straight ways.

In each cemetery there is one or more ossuaries. They contain little boxes with exhuminated bones. Each box has the name of the dead.

The cemeteries have a water spigot in strategic spots for the use of the families. There is a caretaker who is willing to help people, to do the gardening and to clean the open areas.

Military War Cemeteries

In Greece, there are German war cemeteries, in which German soldiers and officers were buried, who lost their lives in Greece, during the Second World War. The most famous German cemeteries are these of Maleme on Crete island (see below) and the German Cemetery at Dionysos near Athens.

The German cemetery at Dionysos had been established on September, 28, 1975, on Rapetzona area, 30 km from Athens. The area had been given by Greek government and here were relocated the remains of the dead German soldiers, who were buried initially in other places in Greece. The cemetery contains 68 burials of the First World War and 9,905 burials of the Second one.

In many sites there are allied cemeteries, in which the allies of Greece (British, French, Australian, New Zealand) were buried, who died in Greece during the First and the Second World War. Burials of soldiers from the war of 1914-18 war were made at "Salonika Military Cemetery", known as Anglo-French Military Cemetery. It was opened in November 1915 and had British, French, Serbian, Italian and Russian sections. Most of the burials are of soldiers who died in hospitals established locally.

From the beginning of 1917, British burials were also made at the "Mikra British Cemetery" in Kalamaria (west Thessaloniki).

Burials of the Second World War were placed in the "Phaleron War Cemetery", close to Athens. The site was chosen originally by the Division as a burial ground for Commonwealth causalities of the Greek Civil War (December 1944-February 1945), but now there also 2.028 British burials.

Allied cemeteries can been found in other regions of Greece (e.g., Leros War Cemetery, Portianos War cemetery, Rhodes War Cemetery, Lahana military cemetery, Syra New British Cemetery, Souda Bay War cemetery). They all have the form described above. Beautiful gardens in attractive areas with headstones set in perfectly straight rows and the Cross of Sacrifice in a central spot.

Apart from the German and Allied War cemeteries, there also mass burials of Greek people who had been executed by German Forces during the German occupation in Greece. Some burials were made either in the area of civil cemetery (for example in 3rd Cemetery of Kokkinia near Athens, there are 200 burials, [in 8 rows with 25 graves each] of people who had been executed on May 1st 1944) or in the open country (for instance, in Poliobouni, a ravine in Arkadia near Tripolis). 204 Greeks executed on February 24, 1944 were buried by their fellow-citizens in the same area with some small crosses marking the spot. Such cemeteries can be found also in monasteries. In the historical monasteries of Mega Spilaio and Agia Lavra, there are the burials of the monks (11 and 8 monks, correlatively) executed by German Forces on December 1943.



The church of St. George, with a wonderful view to the coast, lies on the top of a hill in Perivolia area. The date of the church's construction is not exactly known, but according to A. Mayrakis the church was already in use on 1826.

On the SW corner of the altar of the (Tessaris Martires: their names were: Georgios, Aggelis, Manouil and Nikolaos). They were murdered by Turks on the 28 of October 1824. In 1963-1965 and in 2000 the grave was reconstructed from the Celestial Team. The marble slab which covers the grave is decorated with angels who give a garland to Georgios, Aggelis, Manouil and Nikolaos.

Another spot which reminds the difficult days of the war to the people who lived in Perivolia is the ossuary which lies in the middle of the cemetery. There the bodies of some of the people who were murdered by Germans on 1941 were buried. Nowadays, the bodies are exhuminated and removed in a war cemetery located in Misiria area.

Nowadays the cemetery of the church consists of 367 graves in almost straight rows. Most of them are Built Graves made of white/red marble or of different kind of stones [332]. The rest of the graves are communal.

There are three main ossuaries. Two of them are already full of exhuminated bodies. The ossuary which is still in use is that on the SE corner of the cemetery.

Graves of the Cemetery of St. George in Perivolia, Rethymnon

The headstones are of two types:

a) Built Graves: They represent family tombs. Each headstone is rectangular and consists of a plaque, a little box and a cross, usually all made of marble. At the top of each headstone the name of family who owes the grave is engraved. The names of people who are in the grave are carved at the top of the plaque. In each grave the relics of more than one persons can be. The grandeur of the grave is affected by the status of the family of the dead person. The height and width is determinated by Greek Law. It is specified that the height of the "tholos" can not be more than 2.5 meters. The graves of adults have to be about 2.20 X 1.0m. and the graves of the children have to be 1.10 X 0.50m. The distance between graves has to be about 0.50m. The marble box which is on the headstone contains the photo/s of the dead/s, a small "oil-lamp", an icon and some flowers. Some of the headstones have some lyrics or a short note carved.

The graves are well taken care of by the family. They are responsible to clean, to water and to replace the flowers with new ones when they die.

b) Communal Graves: They are simple rectangular cists up to the level of the ground. They are free for people who do can not afford to buy a grave. There are no photos of the dead, icons or other ornate. There is barely a cross with the name of dead carved on it.


In Crete, there are two great war cemeteries: the "British and Commonwealth War Cemetery" at Souda Bay and the German cemetery "Deutsche Soldaten Friedhof" at Maleme. The "British and Commonwealth War Cemetery" is at the NW corner of Souda Bay (the location called "Βλητέ" [Vlite], 5 kilometers east of Chania), in a beautiful area. Buried in this cemetery are the allies of Greece (British, Australian, New Zealand) who lost their lives during the "Battle of Crete" on May 1941. The land given by the Greek people became the last resting place of those forces in 1945. The bodies of the soldiers were gathered from 4 main "British military cemeteries" created by the German forces and were re-buried here.

In this cemetery there are 1527 burials most British, but Australian and New Zealand as well. Except from the graves, special memorials commemorate men known to have been buried in certain groups of graves, but whose actual graves within those groups cannot be exactly determined. The German occupying forces moved many of the remains from their graves in the fighting areas into four large burials grounds (British Military Cemeteries) and in so doing they lost the identities of the casualties. The graves were moved into the war cemetery by 21 and 22 Australian War Graves Units from burial grounds and other sites in various parts of the island. The memorials bear the inscription "Buried near the spot" and "Believed to be". The cemetery is maintained by the "War Graves Commission" and is beautifully kept. There are hundreds of white headstones on the ground and the whole area looks like an enormous garden of peace. In a central spot there is the Cross of Sacrifice. In this cemetery, there is the grave of J. Pendlebury (10E), a great archaeologist, who worked as a British spy and had executed by German forces on 1941. There is also a headstone for a German soldier, Alfred Hemann, who was buried there, because of a mistake. His remains were discovered near Maleme in 1956, while building work was being carried out. His identity tag was removed from the body and his remains were again buried in a garden in Maleme. In 1960 his remains were recovered by the re-burial service of the Volksbund. The only thing found on him was a watch, made in England. For this reason the body was held to be that of a fallen British soldier and was handed over to the British War Graves Commission, which had the remains buried in Souda Bay. Only later his German identity was found out. Alfred Hemann, a corporal, born on March 12, 1918 in Berlin-Tretow died on May 20, 1941-the first day of the battle of Crete. Following an agreement reached between the Commonwealth War Grave Commission and the Volksbund, a decision was taken not to transfer his remains again from Souda to the German cemetery of Maleme.

There was an allied war cemetery on Rethymno (Misiria area) until the end of the Second World War. The cemetery had been constructed by German forces, during the Battle of Crete and the occupation of the island. In the background, there was a stone altar and in the middle of the cemetery stood a wooden cross, about 3-4 meters high. The graves (about 100-150) were on the right and on the left of the corridor, which drove from the entrance to the altar. After the war's end, the remains of the allies were re-located to Souda Bay cemetery. Today, in the cemetery's area is a school.

The German War cemetery is on a hill behind the airfield at Maleme (hill 107), where many German parachutists died on May 1941, during the operations hold on Crete. There are 4,465 burials. Except from Germans who lost their lives at Maleme, the remains of Germans who were buried on various locations on Crete, were re-located in the same cemetery in 1974 (Germans who had were initially buried: a) in mass graves in the NW sector of Heraklion airport, b) in front of the chapel at Galatas near Chania and c) in the cemetery of the German parachutists fallen in Heraklion). The cemetery was officially opened by German ex-officer Gericke in 1974. He was one of the officers in charge during the initial phase of the assault on Grete, on May 20th, 1941. The headstones are in fact tablets laid flat on the ground, one tablet for two men. At intervals, there are also small stone crosses. In this cemetery, General Bruno Brauer was buried. He had the command of the fortes of Crete from September 1942 to June 1944. After the war's end, he was extradited to Greece to tried as war criminal by the Greek Military Authorities. He was found guilty on seven counts and the court convicted him to death. He was executed on May 20, 1947 at Aegina. Respecting his last wish, his remains were transferred to the Maleme cemetery and buried there.

On Maleme, two memorial manifestations take place. The first take place on the 3rd Sunday of November (it' s like a popular commemoration of the deads), organized by German Embassy. The second one take place on May, 20th (Anniversary of the "Battle of Crete"), organized by German veterans parachutists. There are no elements for private commemorations. On Crete, there is also a German officers' cemetery situated at Rethymnon, in the area of Mastaba. It is organized in terraces, when the headstones are tablets laid flat on the ground with small crosses above them.

Until the end of the war, in Rethymno (Perivolia area), there was another German cemetery, which was on the main road, which drives from Rethymno to Heraklion. It was a rectangular cemetery, with a corridor, which drove from the entrance to the altar. The altar was about 2m high and on its upper side, there was a wooden cross, 5-6 m. high. At the right and left side of the corridor, there were the graves of the dead German soldiers. There were about 350-400 graves. Each of the graves had a small cross, with the name of the dead and his helmet. After the war's end, the dead relocated to Maleme cemetery.

Apart from the war cemeteries, monuments can be found almost anywhere in Crete. They were erected in memory of the innocent victims to German atrocities. Such a monument there is in Rethymno (in "Ammos" area, Mysiria). In this location 110 Greek people had been executed by German forces. The monument is called today "110 Martyres". During the German occupation, here there were the graves of the executed people, but later, their remains were relocated to the civil cemetery of Agios Georgios (Perivolia area). In the same location today, there is a statue of Liberty and a memorial with the names of the executed.

Another memorial monument, there is in the Sfakaki area in Rethymno, with the names of New Zealand soldiers, who lost their lives, during the Battle of Crete. On Crete, there are also burials connected with the local revolts against the Turkish forces, which occupied the island, until the end of 19th century. In Rethymno (Kriari street), there is a polish cemetery, which contains 18 graves of Polish soldiers, who died for the liberty of Crete, in the revolts against Turks, during the period 1897-1905.

On August 25, 1898, in Herakleion a great slaughter of innocent people by Turks took place. Hundreds of people had been killed. Between them there were 17 British soldiers buried in the civil cemetery of Saint Konstantinos in Herakleion.

Besides, there are some other special areas ("τόποι μαρτυρίου"). For instance, on January 1824, 340 Cretan women and children and 30 men had been recoursed to Melidoni Cave, in order to save themselves from Turks. Turks made a fire on the entrance of the cave and Cretan people died by suffocation. They were buried by fellow-citizens in the same cave, in which they had been sacrificed.

An important case is this of Arkadi monastery, a few kilometers from Rethymno. In 1896, Turks besieged the monastery. All the monks had been gathered in the powder-magazine and when Turks invaded in the monastery, the monks put fire in the powder-magazine and a great explosion killed both monks and Turks. Today, there is an ossuary with the skulls of the monks. On November, 8th, memorial manifestations take place in Arkadi, as a honor to the great sacrifice. The most important sites of the war cemeteries in Crete are showed in the Map 8.


Life and Death in Islam

According to Islam the human is a unique creature. God is his creator and his whole life emanates for the God. Consequently life is holy and the Law of God protects her. Purpose of the human being is to please his Creator and to find peace with Him observing the divine laws.

Death (mawt) is something natural for all creatures of God. Only God is eternal and immortal. Everything else in nature is perishable. Therefore God "offers" and "takes" life. Death is not a punishment and as an idea is inconceivable. It can be comprehended as a kind of fulfillment to human life where somebody can receive benediction of God and become acceptable in Paradise.

Therefore death is the moral impulse in Islam. Thinking death helps the individual to pursue the morality as long as "good" is related to paradise and "evil" to hell. In other words death is just a gate in human life and the continuous thinking of this moment assists the individuals to understand the value of doing something "good" or something "bad".


In the moment of death somebody reminds to the dying person the central tenet of Islam (Shahadah) by whispering in his ear. Specifically whispers the phrase: "No God but Allah and Mohammed is His Prophet and Messenger". It's the first phrase, which a Muslim hears, when he comes to life and the last one when he dies.

The dead body is placed in a coffin with the head towards Mecca. The present people pray in God for the dead to have an easy, painless passage to the other world. They close the eyes and the mouth of the deceased. The arms stretched are placed to the body sides. Also they straighten the legs and of course they cover the body with a sheet of cloth. Moreover they read extracts from the Koran, the room is lighted up and the deceased never remains alone in the room.

It should be marked that special funeral offices do not exist but everything is arranged by the relatives of the deceased. They prepare the body for the burial and it's a chance for them to remember their short existence on earth. Before the beginning of the ritual the relatives take off the dead's clothes and they clean him from possible dirt (for example: blood). The corpse is washed (Ghusl) carefully and with respect usually by the closest relatives of the deceased. Generally men wash men and women wash women. If this isn't possible, only then somebody from the opposite sex can wash the corpse. The body is washed three or five times or more (odd number) with water and sometimes with camphor and spices. Washing begins from the right side of the body or from the head. Afterwards they wrap it in shroud (white cotton cloth - kafan). Men are wrapped with three pieces and women with five. The burial should be done quickly, before nightfall. Otherwise, it takes place the next day. The cortege starts from the house to the cemetery with optional stop at Mosque. It is considered as great honor to help carrying the deceased. Usually women are not allowed to follow the cortege. However, they may enter in the graveyard but this differs from region to region. Screaming and crying is generally forbidden.

Grave's depth is in the height of the waist, if the deceased is a man, and in the height of breast for the woman. The direction is towards Mecca and the body is placed to the right side. Always with the presence of the imam the phrase "God is great" is proclaimed four times with the hands raised.

After the first proclamation the opening chapter of Koran is recited. Praises to the Prophet follow the second proclamation. In the third time they pray on behalf of the deceased and the last time they pray for themselves. During the burial prayer the attendants are standing up without bowings (R'uku) or prostrations (Sujjood) and the corpse is layed horizontally between the imam and the direction of the prayer (Ka'bah). The funeral finishes by invocating (twice) peace to the Prophet, his household and all believers. No prayer is recited when the deceased is atheist or committed suicide.

Afterwards they bury the corpse. Relatives in odd number place the deceased into the grave loosing the cloth and turn the face towards Mecca. Also they whisper in his ear: "No God but Allah and Mohammed is His Prophet and Messenger". Then the grave is covered with earth. The attendants sprinkle over three handfuls earth saying three separate prayers for the deceased and his sin forgiveness.


The recorded and the surveyed cemetery is that of Yeni Mahalle (New Neighborhood) in the town of Komotini. The cemetery is located in the north edge of the town. It is separated to three parts. There is a small part in the entrance of the cemetery with a very small storehouse. Next to it is the main graveyard though the third part is the extension of cemetery in case of room deficiency.

Cemetery's land is "vakf", in other words is a pious property and belongs to the Administrative Committee of Moslem Fortune in Komotini. Yeni Mahalle's cemetery land has been donated and the donator's grave is located in different place from the other graves (grave number: 1). Specific land - plan of the cemetery doesn't exist. Therefore the graves are not in great order. Trees exist in the graveyard and of course among them a lot of cypresses.


The most common grave type in the graveyard is the following: After the burial, the ceremonial water slop on the grave and the flower placing, small pales are placed in the height of the head and the legs indicating the grave's confines. Afterwards instead of the pales two tombstones are placed. They can be made of marble, cement or simple stones depending on the financial standing of each family.

Another less common grave type located is fenced with marble or cement configuring a rectangle shape. The tombstones are placed again as the previous grave type. Sometimes over the graves (in all grave types) are planted flowers, even trees.

The tombstone's text usually starts with the phrase's "Huvelbaki" or "Allah Bakidir" which means "God is eternal". Below these phrases there are written some wishes, prayers and thoughts about the vanity of life. Identity in formations is written at the end. In many cases the one tombstone is written in Arabic alphabet and the other in modern Turkish alphabet. However, in this case the inside formations to both tombstones are the same. There are cases where tombstones are written only in the Arabic alphabet.

Grave installation started from the backside of the graveyard (north - eastern side) with direction towards Mecca (south - western side).

Grave register

The registry concerns graves that are created till 15 July 2004. The fields are created according to the registered information. They contain information about the deceased's identity, cause of death, profession, residence area, origin location, date of death, age and date of birth. The Turkish words (for example name, profession, location) are registered as they are written but in the English alphabet.

The first field includes all the information that identifies the specific individual and they are registered exactly as they are written on the tombstone. In this way somebody can read on this field the name of the deceased, father's name, origin (there is a separate field for the origin), profession and even nickname. In women's graves her name and her fathers name are reported even the profession or the origin of her husband. Other times is reported next to her name the name, father's name, profession and origin of her father. Occasionally the tombstone contains identity information for the father and the husband of the deceased woman. Sometimes next to female name all the above information for her children exist while there are occasions that next to female name information for her son in law is written.

However, in several cases, for elder people, the profession or the origin can be used as the deceased's surname. Taking into account all the above, in the registration all the identity information of the deceased preserved as they were written. At the same time in this way a very interesting picture is maintained about the existing otherness in comparison to the Christian cemeteries of the town. The origin and profession fields are filled whenever they concern directly the deceased.

The graves are characterized "unknown" when they don't have tombstones, when the inscription's letters are vanished, when tombstones are completely destroyed and when instead of the tombstones simple stones are placed.


Pilot Studies

Pilot Study 1: Cemetery of Agios Georgios in Perivolia, Rethymnon

Pilot Studies in GreeceHistorical Background
Date: It was built before the date of 1826.
Monument: Grave of “Tesseris Martires”
(executed by Turks on the 28 of Oct. 1824).

Number of graves: 367 in almost straight rows.
Type of graves: Built Graves: 332 Communal Graves: 35
Ossuaries: 3

Built Graves (Family Tombs)
Type: Rectangular Graves
Consists of: a plaque, a little box (with photo/s of the dead/s,
a small “oil-lamp”, icon & flowers) & a cross.

Cemetery of Agios Georgios in Perivolia, RethymnonCommunal Graves
Type: Simple rectangular cists.
Consists of: 3 rectangular cement plaques stamped with lime.

Data and Information regarding the built tombs

Name of the owner of the tomb
Names of the deceased (In each grave can be the relics of more than one persons)
Date of birth (occasionally)
Date of death
Age (occasionally)
Lyrics or notice for the dead



Pilot Study 2: Muslim cemetery in Komotini (NE of the town), Northern Greece Cemetery of Yeni Mahalle


Muslim Cemetery of Yeni Mahalle in KomotiniNumber of Graves: There are 784 graves

Graves made of: Marble, cement or stones

Orientation: Towards Mecca

Grave/s Alphabet: One of the two headstones is written in Arabic alphabet & the other in modern Turkish alphabet. Some graves have both headstones in the Arabic.

Information regarding the tombs

Number of graves
Description of graves
Name of the deceased
Date of birth
Date of death
Age of the deceased
Cause of death
Residence & Origin


German War Cemetery, MalemePilot Study 3: “Deutsche Soldaten Friedhof”, Maleme, Chania, West Crete

Officially opened by the German ex-officer Gericke, 1974

Number of Graves: There are 4,465 burials

Burials of Germans who lost their lives at Maleme

Re-located burials: Germans who were initially buried:
a) in mass graves in the NW sector of Heraklion airport,
b) in front of the chapel at Galatas near Chania
c) in the cemetery of the German parachutists fallen in Heraklion

Headstones: They are in fact tablets laid flat on the ground, one tablet for two men. At intervals, there are also small stone crosses.

Number of graves
Description of graves
Name of the deceased
Date of death
Age of the deceased
Rank of the deceased




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Info Table



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Δ.Δ. Ρεθύμνης (28987)          
Ρέθυμνο, το Εισόδια Θεοτόκου (Μητροπολιτικός) Ζωοδόχου Πηγής Ρέθυμνο 74100 Μεταξαράκης Γεώργιος 2831029324
Ρέθυμνο, το   Άγιος Γεώργιος Ρέθυμνο 74100 Τζαγκαράκης Σταύρος 2831029219
Μικρά Ανώγεια, τα   Ευαγγελιστής Λουκάς      
Γάλλος, ο Κοιμήσεως Θεοτόκου Ευαγγελιστής Λουκάς Γάλλος 74100 Ζολωτάκης Νικόλαος 2831050711
Τρία Μοναστήρια, τα   Κοιμητήριο      
Δ.Δ. Αρμένων (588)          
Αρμένοι, οι Μεταμόρφωση Σωτήρος Άγιοι Κωνσταντίνος και Ελένη Αρμένοι 74100 Ξενικάκης Σωκράτης 2831051424
Σωματάς, ο Άγιος Γεώργιος Ζωοδόχου Πηγής Σωματάς 74100 Λαζάρου Χρήστος 2831041112
Δ.Δ. Γουλεδιανών (135)          
Γουλεδιανά, τα Αγία Κυριακή   Γουλεδιανά 74100 Μεταξαράκης Γεώργιος 2831029097
Γενή, η   Κοίμηση της Θεοτόκου      
Δ.Δ. Καρές (190)          
Καρέ, η Άγιος Στέφανος Τίμιος Σταυρός Καρέ 74100 Βαλέργας Μανούσος 2831021438
Αμπελάκι, το          
Δ.Δ. Καστέλλου (97)          
Κάστελλος, ο   Άγιος Αντώνιος      
Δ.Δ. Κούμων (173)          
Κούμοι, οι Μεταμόρφωση Σωτήρος Υπαπαντή του Σωτήρος Κούμοι 74100 Ψαθάκης Ανδρέας 2831041073
Δ.Δ. Μαρουλά (218)          
Μαρουλάς, ο Μεταμόρφωση Σωτήρος Αγία Παρασκευή Μαρουλάς 74100 Κοπανάκης Νικόλαος 2831071495
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Όρος, το Άγιος Αντώνιος        
Δ.Δ. Πρασιών (115)          
Πρασσές, οι Άγιος Αντώνιος Κοίμηση της Θεοτόκου (Παναγία Μυρτιδιώτισσα) Πρασσές 74100 Σταφυλάκης Διονύσης 2831025145
Δ.Δ. Ρουσσοσπιτίου (374)          
Ρουσσοσπίτι, το Αγία Παρασκευή   Ρουσσσοσπίτι 74100 Κατσιπουλάκης Χριστόφορος 2831023279
Δ.Δ. Σελλίου (247)          
Σελλί, το   Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Θεολόγος      
Μύρθιος, η   Άγιοι Θεόδωροι      
Δ.Δ. Χρομοναστηρίου (482)          
Χρομοναστήρι, το Άγιος Γεώργιος Αγία Κυριακή Χρομοναστήρι 74100 Μανουσάκης Γεώργιος 2831075245
Μύλοι, οι   Πέντε Παρθένες      


Δ.Δ. Ανωγείων (2507)          
Ανώγεια, τα Άγιος Ιωάννης, Άγιος Γεώργιος, Άγιος Δημήτριος, Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου Αγία Παρασκευή Ανώγεια 74051 Ανδρεαδάκης Γεώργιος 2834031223


Δ.Δ. Άδελε (1059)          
Άδελε, το Άγιος Παντελεήμονας Ζωοδόχου Πηγής Άδελε 74000 Παπαδογιάννης Ανδρέας 2834071263
Αγία Παρασκευή, η   Γενέθλιο της Θεοτόκου      
Αδελιανός Κάμπος, ο   Κοινό με Άδελε      
Δ.Δ. Αμνάτου (222)          
Αμνάτος, η Ζωοδόχος Πηγή   Αμνάτος 74100 Κοστάκιε Δανιήλ  
Πίκρης, ο Αγία Παρασκευή Γενέθλιο της Θεοτόκου Πίκρης 74100 Μπροτζάκης Γεώργιος  
Δ.Δ. Αρχαίας Ελεύθερνας (Πρινές) 100          
Αρχαία Ελεύθερνα, η (τ.Πρινές, ο) Προφήτης Ηλίας Μεταμόρφωση του Σωτήρος και Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Πρόδρομος Αρχαία Ελεύθερνα (Πρινές) 74052 Σταματάκης Δημήτριος  
Δ.Δ. Ελευθέρνης (237)          
Ελεύθερνα, η Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου Παναγία, Κοιμήσεως Ελεύθερνα 74052 Τσιλιγκάκης Κωνσταντίνος 2834092044
    (εντός του χωριού)      
Έρφοι, οι Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Έρφοι 74052 Δάνδολος Δημήτριος 2834022409
Άνω Βιρανεπισκοπή, η   Άγιοι Ανάργυροι και Άγιος Γεώργιος      
Βιρανεπισκοπή, η Άγιος Νικόλαος κοινό με Άνω Βιρανεπισκοπή Βιράν Επισκοπή 74052 Νεονάκης Ιωάννης 2834024958
Μαγνησία, η   Ταξιαρχών      
Δ.Δ.Κυριάννας (331)          
Κυριάννα, η Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου Τίμιος Σταυρός   Μαντζουράνης Ανθ. 2831026631
Δ.Δ.Μέσης (362)          
Μέση, η Άγιος Ιωάννης Άγιος Γεώργιος Μέση 74100 Μαμβουκάς Τίτ. 2831083116
Αγία Τριάδα, η   Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Θεολόγος      
Λούτρα, η Αγία Φωτεινή Αγία Μαρίνα Λούτρα 74100 Τζαγκαράκης Κωνσταντίνος 2831083183
Δ.Δ. Παγκαλοχωρίου (412)          
Παγκαλοχώρι, το Εισόδια Θεοτόκου Αγία Τριάδα Παγκαλοχώρι 74100 Κενή  
Σφακάκι, το   κοινό με Παγκαλοχώρι      
Τσεσμές   Άγιος Νεκτάριος      
Δ.Δ.Πηγής (652)          
Πηγή, η Άγιος Νικόλαος Άγιος Γεώργιος Πηγή 74100 Λάριος Σταμ. 2831071228
Άγιος Δημήτριος, ο   Άγιος Γεώργιος      
Δ.Δ. Πρίνου (526)          
Πρίνος, ο Άγιο Πνεύμα Αρχάγγελοι Πρίνος 74052 Δερμιτζάκης Ευάγγελος 2834093370
Δ.Δ.Σκουλουφίων (204)          
Σκουλούφια, τα Μεταμόρφωση Σωτήρος Εισόδια της Θεοτόκου Σκουλούφια 74052 Τζαγκαράκης Χαρίλαος 2834061426
Ρούπες, οι   Άγιος Στέφανος      
Δ.Δ.Χαμαλευρίου (865)          
Χαμαλεύρι, το Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου δεν έχει Χαμαλεύρι 74100 Αράμπογλου Ανδρέας 2831055568
Αστέρι, το   Αγία Αικατερίνη      
Δ.Δ. Χαρκίων          
Χάρκια, τα Αγία Άννα   Χάρκια 74100 Πανταγιάς Εμμανουήλ  
Καβούσι, το          


Δ.Δ. Περάματος (1650)          
Πέραμα, το Άγιος Γεώργιος Κοιμητήριο Πέραμα 74052 Αλεξανδράκης Ιωάννης 2834051302
Δ.Δ. Αγγελιανών          
Αγγελιανά, τα Ευαγγελισμός της Θεοτόκου Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Θεολόγος Αγγελιανά 74052 Πρωτογεράκης Εμμανουήλ 2834051168
Κάμπου Μετόχια   Αγία Τριάδα      
Χάνι Αλεξάνδρου, το   Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Πρόδρομος      
Χανοθιανά, τα          
Δ.Δ. Αγίου Μάμαντος          
Άγιος Μάμας, ο Άγιος Γεώργιος   Άγιος Μάμας 74054 Ρουσσάκης Νικόλαος 2834091418
Αβδελλάς, ο   Άγιος Ιωάννης      
Αργουλιό, το   κοινό με Αγιο Μάμμα      
Καστρί, το   Παναγία      
Δ.Δ. Αλφάς (431)          
Αλφά, η Άγιος Χαράλαμπος Κοίμηση της Θεοτόκου Αλφά 74052 Καραγιαννάκης Δημήτριος 2834022492
Δ.Δ. Αχλαδέ (193)          
Αχλαδές, ο Άγιος Δημήτριος Αγία Παρασκευή & Ταξιάρχες Αχλαδές 74057 Πολυμέλης Νεκτάριος 2834051374
Δ.Δ. Καλανδαρές          
Καλανδαρέ, η   Τίμιος Σταυρός      
Δ.Δ. Χουμερίου (620)          
Χουμέρι, το Άγιος Γεώργιος   Χουμέρι 74052 Τσακπίνης Δημήτριος 2834091040
Γαρίπας, ο   Άγιος Ιωάννης      
Κεραμωτά, τα Αγία Παρασκευή   Κεραμωτά 74052 Ανδρεδάκης Κωνσταντίνος 2834091382
Κρασούνας, ο   Άγιος Γεώργιος      
Δ.Δ. Σκεπαστής (242)          
Σκεπαστή, η Άγιος Νικόλαος   Σκεπαστή 74057 Ζερβός Ματθ.  
Δ.Δ. Μαργαριτών (715)          
Μαργαρίτες, οι Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου Μεταμόρφωση του Σωτήρα ( μετόχι της Μονής Καρακάλλου του Αγίου Ορους) Μαργαρίτες 74052 Πυθαρούλιος Γεράσιμος  
Λαγκά, η Υπαπαντή Σωτήρος   Λαγκά 74052 Τζεβράκης Πέτρος 2834023467
Πιγουνιανά, τα          
Πλευριανά, τα Άγιος Βασίλειος   Πλευριανά 74052 Βασιλάκης Βασίλης 2834022105
Δ.Δ. Μελιδονίου (857)          
Μελιδόνι, το Αγία Σοφία Αγία Βαρβάρα Μελιδόνι 74052 Γοργοράπτης Σταύρος 2834022047
Βλυχάδα, η   Άγιος Αντώνιος      
Εξάντης, ο Άγιος Κυπριανός Κοίμηση της Θεοτόκου Εξάντης 74057 Τσιρίτας Γεώργιος 2834094074
Μπαλί, το Αγία Τριάδα   Μπαλί 74057 Καλαϊτζής Μύρων 2834074057
Δ.Δ. Μελισσουργακίου (44)          
Μελισσουργάκι, το   Κοίμηση της Θεοτόκου      
Δ.Δ. Ορθέ (173)          
Ορθές, ο Άγιος Φανούριος Ανάσταση του Χριστού Ορθές 74052 Σηφάκης Εμμανουήλ 2834092211
Δ.Δ. Πανόρμου (992)          
Πάνορμος, ο Ανάληψης Σωτήρος Άγιος Νικόλαος Πάνορμος 74057 Κενή 2834051265
Δ.Δ. Πασαλιτών (46)          
Πασαλίτες, οι Μεταμόρφωση Σωτήρος Τίμιος Σταυρός Πασαλίτες 74052 Γερωνυμάκης Εμμανουήλ 2834091250
Δ.Δ. Ρουμελής (427)          
Ρουμελή, το Αγία Ζώνη   Ρουμελή 74057 Σωπασουδάκης Δημήτριος 2834051431
Δ.Δ. Σισών (560)          
Σίσες, οι Άγιος Γεώργιος   Σίσες 74057 Καλοκύρης Βασίλης 2834071188


Δ.Δ. Γαράζου (712)          
Γαράζο, το Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου, Αγία Κυριακή   Γαράζο 74054 Ρουσσάκης Νικόλαος 2834041006
Μουρτζανά, τα Αγία Σοφία Άγιος Γεώργιος Μουρτζανά 74054 Μαρκάκης Θεμ. 2834041214
Δ.Δ. Αγιάς (308)          
Αγιά, η Άγιος Νικόλαος   Αγιά 74054 Καλυβιανάκης Παρθ.  
Δ.Δ. Αγίου Ιωάννου Μυλοποτάμου (68)          
Άγιος Ιωάννης, ο Άγιος Ιωάννης Άγιος Γεώργιος Άγιος Ιωάννης 74054 Κόκκινος Ανδρέας 2834061732
Δ.Δ. Αϊμονα (355)          
Αϊμονας, ο Άγιος Βασίλειος   Αϊμονας 74054 Τσαμάνδουρας Νικόλαος 2834071052
Δ.Δ. Αλοίδων (314)          
Αλόιδες, οι Άγιος Γεώργιος Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Θεολόγος Αλόιδες 74054 Κενή  
Δ.Δ. Απλαδιανών (337)          
Απλαδιανά, τα Αγία Πελαγία   Απλαδιανά 74054 Θεοδωράκης Νεκτάριος 2834071125
Κάμπος Απλαδιανών, ο          
Δ.Δ. Βενίου (350)          
Βενί, το Αγία Παρασκευή Αγία Αναστασία Βενί 74051 Μυρθιανός Γεώργιος 2834041144
Δ.Δ. Δαμαβόλου (224)          
Δαμαβόλος, ο Μεταμόρφωση Σωτήρος Γενέθλιο της Θεοτόκου Δαμαβόλος 74054 Αντωνακάκης Ιωάννης 2810317104
Δ.Δ. Δοξαρού (298)          
Δοξαρό, το Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου Άγιος Ιωάννης Δοξαρό 74054 Παπαδάκης Χαράλαμπος 2834071464
Χελιανά, τα Άγιος Γεώργιος   Χελιανά 74054 Νταντζιόπουλος Νικηφόρος  
Δ.Δ. Επισκοπής (376)          
Επισκοπή, η   Άγιοι Κωνσταντίνος και Ελένη      
Δαφνέδες, οι Άγιος Γεώργιος Γενέθλιο της Θεοτόκου Δαφνέδες 74054 Κουλιανόπουλος Αναστ. 2834041476
Δ.Δ. Θεοδώρας (56)          
Θεοδώρα, η Άγιος Γεώργιος   Θεοδώρα 74054 Ζαχαριουδάκης Στυλιανός  
Δ.Δ. Καλύβου (408)          
Κάλυβος ,η Ταξιάρχες Άγιος Γεώργιος Κάλυβος 74054 Παπαδάκης Αντώνης 2834061441
Κρυονέρι, το Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Κρυονέρι 74054 Κενή  
Δ.Δ. Λιβαδίων (1775)          
Λιβάδια, τα Μεταμόρφωση Σωτήρος   Λιβάδια 74051 Κλάδος Αντώνιος 2834061455
Κράνα, η Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου Άγιος Χριστόφορος Κράνα 74051 Μανιάς Βασίλειος 2834061359
Δ.Δ. Χώνου (203)          
Χώνος, ο Αγία Κυριακή   Χώνος 74054 Δρακουλάκης Ιωάννης  
Δ.Δ. Αξού (727)          
Αξός, η Τίμιος Σταυρός Άγιος Ιωάννης Αξός 74051 Μιγαδάκης Δαβίδ 2834061733
Δ.Δ. Ζωνιανών (1578)          
Ζωνιανά, τα Άγιος Γεώργιος   Ζωνιανά 74051 Ζερβός Αθανάσιος 2834061288


Δ.Δ. Γωνιάς (594)          
Γωνιά, η Άγιος Ιωάννης Αγία Ειρήνη Γωνιά 74100 Ριτζάκης Στυλιανός 2831031610
Άγιος Ανδρέας, ο   Άγιος Ανδρέας      
Δ.Δ. Αγίου Κωνσταντίνου (276)          
Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος, ο Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος Μεταμόρφωση του Σωτήρα Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος 74005 Χατζακης Ιωάννης 2831091363
Δ.Δ. Άνω Βαλσαμονέρου          
Άνω Βαλσαμόνερο, το Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου Σωτήρας Χριστός Άνω Βαλσαμόνερο 74100 Γαβαλάκης Νικόλαος 2831031598
Δ.Δ. Ατσιποπούλου (45)          
Ατσιπόπουλο, το Άγιος Ελευθέριος Αρχάγγελοι Ατσιπόπουλο 74100 Γιαννούλης Εμμανουήλ 2831031413
Δ.Δ. Γερανίου (697)          
Γεράνι, το Άγιος Γεώργιος Αγία Παρασκευή Γεράνι 74100 Παπαργυρίου Νικ 2831031443
Δ.Δ. Ζουριδίου (120)          
Ζουρίδι, το Άγιος Παντελεήμονας Αγία Παρασκευή Ζουρίδι 74058 Μάργκαριτ Νικόλαος  
Δ.Δ. Καλονύκτου (201)          
Καλονύκτης (Καλονύχτης), ο Γέννηση Θεοτόκου Άγιος Παντελεήμων Καλονύκτης (Καλονύχτης) 74058 Φραντζεσκάκης Ιωάννης 2831031343
Δ.Δ. Μαλακίων (196)     Άνω Μαλάκι 74100 Κεριμάκης Νικόλαος 2831031987
Άνω Μαλάκι, το Άγιο Πνεύμα        
Δ.Δ. Μούντρου          
Μούντρος (Μούνδρος), ο Άγιος Νικόλαος Άγιο Πνεύμα Μούντρος (Μούνδρος) 74058 Κουμεντάκης Νικόλαος 2832022358
Δ.Δ. Πρινέ          
Πρινές, ο Άγιος Αντώνιος Άγιος Γεώργιος Πρινές 74100 Μπεμπής Δημήτριος, 2831031340  
Γκούφη   Ζωοδόχου Πηγής      
Δ.Δ. Ρουστίκων (365)          
Ρούστικα, τα Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Ρούστικα 74055 Μάργκαριτ Μάρ.  
Παλαίλιμνος, ο   Άγιος Παντελεήμων      
Δ.Δ. Σαϊτουρών (181)          
Σαϊτούρες, οι Ευαγγελισμός Θεοτόκου Άγιος Ευμένιος Γορτύνης Σαϊτούρες 74058    
Δ.Δ. Φραντζεσκιανών Μετοχίων (264)          
Φραντζεσκιανά Μετόχια (Φρατζεσκιανά Μετόχια), τα Ευαγγελισμός Θεοτόκου Τίμιος Σταυρός Φραντζεσκιανά Μετόχια (Φρατζεσκιανά Μετόχια) 74100 Δεληγιώργης Εμμανουήλ 2831031258


Δ.Δ. Επισκοπής (783)          
Επισκοπή, η Προφήτης Ηλίας   Επισκοπή 74055 Λουκογεωργάκης Παυλος  
Δ.Δ. Αργυρουπόλεως (402)          
Αργυρούπολη, η Ταξιαρχών Άγιος Γεώργιος, Προφήτης Ηλίας Αργυρούπολη 74005 Λελεδάκης Γεώργιος 2831081377
Δ.Δ. Αρχοντικής          
Αρχοντική, η Γέννηση Θεοτόκου   Αρχοντική 74005 Αντωνάκης Θεολ. 2831083116
Δ.Δ. Βιλανδρέδου          
Βιλανδρέδο, το Εισόδια Θεοτόκου   Βιλανδρέδο 74055 Γαλεράκης Νικόλαος 2831081326
Αρολίθι, το Άγιος Παντελεήμων Άγιος Σπυρίδων Αρολίθι 74005 Λαγουδάκης Δημήτριος 2831052218
Δ.Δ. Καρωτής          
Καρωτή, η Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Καρωτή 74055 Φραντζεσκάκης Εμμανουήλ 2831031343
Δ.Δ. Κούφης          
Κούφη Αγία Μαρίνα     Σουχλάκης Εμμανουήλ 2831061426
Δ.Δ. Μυριοκεφάλων (457)          
Μυριοκέφαλα, τα Γέννηση Θεοτόκου Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Ξένος Μυριοκέφαλα 74055 Λελεδάκης Ιωάννης 2831082316



Δ.Δ. Φουρφουρά (508)          
Φουρφουράς, ο Άγιος Γεώργιος Σωτήρας Χριστός Φουρφουράς 74061 Διαμαντάκης Παντελής 2833041325
Δ.Δ. Αγίας Παρασκευής (88)          
Αγία Παρασκευή, η Άγιος Στυλιανός Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος & Αγία Ελένη Αγία Παρασκευή 74061 Λίτινας Κυριακός 2833031031
Δ.Δ. Αγίου Ιωάννου Αμαρίου (109)          
Άγιος Ιωάννης, ο Άγιοι 4 Μάρτυρες   Άγιος Ιωάννης 74061 Βασιλάκης Δημοσθένης 2833031381
Δ.Δ. Αποδούλου (205)          
Αποδούλου, το Άγιος Ιωάννης Παναγία, Κοιμήσεως Αποδούλου 74061 Κενή  
Μάνδρες, οι   κοινό με Αποδούλου      
Δ.Δ. Βιζαρίου (88)          
Βιζάρι (Βυζάρι), το Εισόδια Θεοτόκου Άγιος Γεώργιος Βιζάρι (Βυζάρι) 74061 Λαντζουράκης Γεώργιος  
Δ.Δ. Κουρουτών (124)          
Κουρούτες, οι Αναλήψεως Άγιος Αντώνιος Κουρούτες 74061 Καπελώνης Κυριακός 2833041278
Δ.Δ. Λαμπιωτών (96)          
Λαμπιώτες, οι Άγιος Κήρυκος και Ιουλίτη   Λαμπιώτες 74061 Στριλιγκάς Εμμανουήλ 2833041490
Δ.Δ. Λοχριάς (302)          
Λοχριά, η Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος και Ελένη   Λοχριά 74061 Τζαγκαράκης Εμμανουήλ 2892043522
Άρδακτος, ο   Παναγία, Ζωοδόχου Πηγής      
Δ.Δ. Νιθαύρεως (320)          
Νίθαυρις, η Άγιος Νεκτάριος   Νίθαυρις 74061 Φουντουλάκης Ευάγγελος 2833031229
Δ.Δ. Πετροχωρίου (153)          
Πετροχώρι, το Άγιο Πνεύμα   Πετροχώρι 74061 Διαμαντάκης Εμμανουήλ 2833041030
Δ.Δ. Πλατανίων (206)          
Πλατάνια, τα Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Πλατάνια 74061 Λίτινας Σταύρος 2833041244
Δ.Δ. Πλατάνου (504)          
Πλάτανος, ο Ευαγγελισμός Θεοτόκου Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος & Αγία Ελένη Πλάτανος 74061 Βράντζος Αντ. 2833031320


Δ.Δ. Σπηλίου (706)          
Σπήλι, το Απόστολος Παύλος Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος & Αγία Ελένη, Τίμιος Σταυρός Σπήλι 74053 Κοπανάκης Ευάγγελος 2832022202
Δαριβιανά, τα Άγιος Παντελεήμονας Σωτήρας Χριστός Δαριβιανά 74053 Κενή  
Δ.Δ. Αγίας Γαλήνης (1273)          
Αγία Γαλήνη, η Άγιοι 4 Μάρτυρες Παναγία, Κοιμήσεως Αγία Γαλήνη 74056 Παπαδογιάννης Εμμανουήλ 2832041550
Ξηρόκαμπος, ο   κοινό με Αγίας Γαλήνης      
Δ.Δ. Ακουμίων (625)          
Ακούμια, τα Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου Άγιος Νικόλαος Ακούμια 74053 Παπαδομιχελάκης Κωνσταντίνος  
Βρύσες, οι Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου Άγιος Φίλιππος Βρύσες 74053 Κακογιαννάκης Ιωάννης 2832061302
Δ.Δ. Αρδάκτου (216)          
Άρδακτος, ο Αγία Μαρίνα   Άρδακτος 74053 Στεφανάκης Παύλος 2832023015
Αγία Παρασκευή, η          
Ακτούντα, τα Ευαγγελισμός Θεοτόκου   Ακτούντα 74053 Μυξάκης Ανδρέας 2832022003
Βάτος, ο Άγιος Νικόλαος   Βάτος 74053 Σαμαρτζής Πορφύριος 2832022300
Δ.Δ. Δριμίσκος (56)          
Δρίμισκος, η Αγία Τριάδα   Δρίμισκος 74053 Λεμονάκης Γεώργιος 2892031313
Δ.Δ. Καρινών (218)          
Καρίνες, οι Τίμιος Σταυρός   Καρίνες 74053 Λαγουδάκης Αντώνιος 2831023525
Δ.Δ. Κεντροχωρίου (156)          
Κεντροχώρι, το Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Κεντροχώρι 74053 Λίτινας Κωνσταντίνος  
Πλατανές, ο Άγιος Νεκτάριος Ζωοδόχος Πηγή Πλατανές 74053    
Δ.Δ. Κεραμέ (345)          
Κεραμές, ο Άγιος Παντελεήμονας   Κεραμές 74053 Μαθιουδάκης Μιχαήλ 2832022607
Δ.Δ. Κισσού (180)          
Κισσός, ο Μεταμόρφωση Σωτήρος Παναγία, Εισόδια Θεοτόκου Κισσός 74053 Τσινδινός Νικόλαος 2832022082
Κισσού Κάμπος, ο   κοινό με Κισσού      
Δ.Δ. Κρύας Βρύσης (184)          
Κρύα Βρύση, η Άγιος Νικόλαος Άγιο Πνεύμα Κρύα Βρύση 74053 Καβλεντάκης Ελευθ  
Νέα Κρύα Βρύση, η   κοινό με Κρύα Βρύση      
Δ.Δ. Λαμπινής (171)          
Λαμπινή, η Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Λαμπινή 74053 Κενή  
Δ.Δ. Μελάμπων (909)          
Μέλαμπες, οι Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου Άγιος Ιωάννης Μέλαμπες 74053 Τσουρλαδάκης Ευάγγελος 2832041210
Δ.Δ. Μουρνές (291)          
Μουρνέ, η Άγιος Φανούριος Άγιος Φανούριος Μουρνέ 74053 Μυγιάκης Λυκούργος 2832022852
Ακτούντα Της Ανάληψης Της Ανάληψης      
Δ.Δ. Μυξόρρουμα (395)          
Μυξόρρουμα, τα Προφήτης Ηλίας   Μυξόρρουμα 74053 Βλαστός Αδάμ 2832023031
Αγία Πελαγία, η Οσία Πελαγία   Αγία Πελαγία 74053 Κουκουναράς Φιλόθεος 2832050042
Φρατί, το Άγιος Γεώργιος   Φρατί Καστρινάκης Αλέξανδρος  
Δ.Δ. Ορνές (77)          
Ορνέ, η Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Ορνέ 74053 Πιτσιδιανάκης Ιωάννης  
Δ.Δ. Σακτουρίων (331)          
Σακτούρια, τα Τίμιος Σταυρός Άγιος Νικόλαος Σαχτούρια 74053 Παπαδογιάννης Αντώνιος 2832041293
Κάτω Σακτούρια, τα   κοινό με Σαχτούρια      


Δ.Δ. Αποστόλων (327)          
Αγία Φωτεινή, η   κοινό με Αποστόλων, Θρόνου κλπ.      
Απόστολοι, οι Άγιος Πέτρος και Παύλος, Άγιος Νικόλαος   Άγιοι Απόστολοι 74061 Σταυρουλάκης Εμμανουήλ 2833041258
Γέννα, η Άγιος Νικόλαος Άγιος Ονούφριος Γέννα 74061 Τσιλιμπώκος Ευμένιος 2832022300
Δ.Δ. Αμαρίου 288          
Αμάρι, το Εισόδια Θεοτόκου Άγιος Ονούφριος Αμάρι 74061 Πιπεράκης Αλέξιος 2833041479
Δ.Δ. Άνω Μέρους (358)          
Άνω Μέρος, το Γέννηση Θεοτόκου Άγιος Στυλιανός Άνω Μέρος 74061 Μπαγουράκης Ιωάννης 2833051297
Δρυγιές, οι Ευαγγελισμός Θεοτόκου Άγιος Γεώργιος Δρυγιές 74061 Φραγκουλάκης Γεράσιμος  
Χωρδάκι (Χορδάκι), το Αγία Άννα   Χωρδάκι (Χορδάκι) 74061 Γιαννούλης Παναγιώτης  
Δ.Δ. Βισταγής (262)          
Βισταγή, η Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου Άγιος Αντώνιος Βισταγή 74061 Φουρτίνης Ελευθέριος 2833022416
Μονή Ασωμάτων, η   κοινό με Καλογέρου, Μοναστηράκι κλπ.      
Δ.Δ. Βρυσών (168)          
Βρύσες, οι Άγιος Γεώργιος   Βρύσες 74061 Χανιωτάκης Θεοχάρης 2833051246
Δ.Δ. Βωλεώνων (170)          
Βωλεώνες (Βολεώνες), οι Ευαγγελισμός Θεοτόκου   Βωλεώνες (Βολεώνες) 74061 Κενή  
Δ.Δ. Γερακαρίου (409)          
Γερακάρι, το Ευαγγελισμός Θεοτόκου Αγία Παρασκευή Γερακάρι 74061 Λίτινας Μιχαήλ 2833051262
Δ.Δ. Ελενών (188)          
Ελένες, οι Άγιος Νικόλαος Σωτήρος Χριστού Ελένες 74061 Πολιτάκης Σεβαστιανός  
Μεσονήσια, τα Άγιος Αντώνιος Άγιος Γεώργιος Μεσονήσια 74061 Αρναουτέλης Γενν. 2833051130
Δ.Δ. Θρόνου (128)          
Θρόνος, ο Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Θρόνος 74061 Σφακιανάκης Μιχαήλ 2831058759
Κλησίδι, το   κοινό με Θρόνος      
Δ.Δ. Καλογέρου (160)          
Καλόγερος, ο Άγιος Αθανάσιος και Κύριλλος Αγία Άννα Καλόγερος 74061 Στυλιανουδάκης Ιωάννης 2824024076
Δ.Δ. Μέρωνα (374)          
Μέρωνας, ο Άγιος Παντελεήμονας   Μέρωνας 74061 Βαμιεδάκης Εμμανουήλ 2833022164
Δ.Δ. Μοναστηρακίου (209)          
Μοναστηράκι, το Μεταμόρφωση Σωτήρος Αγία Τριάδα Μοναστηράκι 74061 Λαντζουράκης Γεώργιος 2833051328
Δ.Δ. Παντανάσσης (271)          
Παντάνασσα, η Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Παντάνασσα 74061 Κανναβάς Γεώργιος 2833061234
Δ.Δ. Πατσού (200)          
Πατσός, ο Άγιος Γεώργιος, Άγιος Ευθύμης   Πατσός 74061 Παντινάκης Ευάγγελος 2833061421


Δ.Δ. Σελλίων (613)          
Πλακιάς, ο   κοινό με Σελλιά      
Σελλία, τα Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου, Άγιος Νεκτάριος   Σελλιά 74060 Κουρμούλης Κωνσταντίνος 2832031268
Δ.Δ. Αγίου Βασιλείου (64)          
Άγιος Βασίλειος, ο Άγιος Βασίλειος Άγιος Ιωάννης Θεολόγος Άγιος Βασίλειος 74053 Τσιλιμπώκος Παρθ. 2832022300
Δ.Δ. Αγίου Ιωάννου Αγίου Βασιλείου (334)          
Άγιος Ιωάννης, ο Άγιος Παντελεήμονας Άγιος Γεώργιος Άγιος Ιωάννης 74060 Μυγιάκης Ιωάννης 2832050042
Καλή Συκέα, η Άγιος Ιωάννης Θεολόγος   Καλή Συκιά 74060 Λυκάκης Ιάκωβος 2832031246
Δ.Δ. Αγκουσελιανών (330)          
Αγκουσελιανά, τα Τίμιος Πρόδρομος Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος Αγκουσελιανά 74053 Σπυρλιδάκης Γεώργιος 2832061440
Παλαιόλουτρα, τα Αγία Κυριακή Παναγία/ Άγιο Πνεύμα Παλαιόλουτρα 74053 Στρατιδάκης Παναγιώτης 2832051044
Δ.Δ. Ασωμάτου (207)          
Ασώματος, ο Αγία Άννα Άγιος Γεώργιος Ασώματος 74060 Λύκος Ιωάννης 2832031739
Δ.Δ. Κοξαρές (401)          
Κοξαρέ, η Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Κοξαρέ 74053 Γιανναράκης Ιωάννης  
Ατσιπάδες, οι Αγία Παρασκευή   Ατσιπάδες 74053 Βεργίτσης Δημήτριος  
Δ.Δ. Λευκογείων (369)          
Λευκόγεια, τα Άγιος Γεώργιος Παναγίας Λευκόγεια 74060 Βάθης Ιωάννης 2832032248
Γιαννιού, το Εισόδια Θεοτόκου Εισόδια Θεοτόκου Γιαννιού 74060 Νίκας Στέφανος 2832032267
Δ.Δ. Μαριού (289)          
Μαριού, το Αγία Τριάδα   Μαριού 74060 Σταυγιααννουδάκης Εμμ. 2832031219
Παλαιά Ταβέρνα, η          
Δ.Δ. Μύρθιου (845) Άγιος Χαράλαμπος Άγιος Ιωάννης Μύρθιος 74060 Κυριακάκης Ιωάννης 2832031452
Δ.Δ. Ροδακίνου (428)          
Άνω Ροδάκινο, το Κοίμηση Θεοτόκου   Ροδάκινο 74060 Χατζηδάκης Βασίλειος  


Ηράκλειο Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος   Λεωφόρος Κνωσού    
Χανιά Αλατσάδων   Ανάληψη    
Άγιος Νικόλαος   Άγιος Ιωάννης Πρόδρομος      
    Ζωδόχος Πηγή Βότσαλο (εκτός Αγίου Νικολάου) Αυγουστινάκης Φιλ. 28430-23357, 28250
Σητεία   Ευαγγελισμός Θεοτόκου Καζάρμα    

Project Team

Apostolos Sarris

Apostolos Sarris

Professor of Digital Humanities
Chair “Sylvia Ioannou” on Digital Humanities at the Archaeological Research Unit, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Cyprus
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