The church of Saint Titus (Agios Titos) was initially built after Crete was liberated from the Saracens by the Byzantine emperor Nikephoros Phokas, in 961 AD.
In the Venetian period, the church did not lose its Byzantine character, even though it was transformed into a Catholic church, since the Orthodox decoration and holy relics, as well as the Byzantine icons, were preserved. As it seems, it suffered significant damage during an earthquake in 1446, which was, however, immediately restored. Then, in 1557, Saint Titus’ had to be rebuilt almost from the beginning, after it was destroyed in an extensive fire which had occurred in 1554. During these works of 1557, it was reconstructed as a rectangular-shaped Basilica with a dome, and a bell tower was added at the south-western corner.
During the period of Turkish occupation, Saint Titus church was transformed into a mosque, only to be utterly destroyed by a massive earthquake in 1856. However, it was wholly rebuilt again, according to designs by the self-taught architect Athanassios Moussis, who had also made the plans for Saint Minas Cathedral.
The new church of Saint Titus served as a mosque until approximately 1922. It was re-consecrated again as an Orthodox church in 1925, having been restored from damage, and undergone certain reconstruction works. Thus, Saint Titus church recovered its original use after approximately 700 years of Venetian rule and Turkish occupation.
Saint Titus’and its square are counted among the most beautiful spots in the city of Heraklion, having a large plane tree that casts its shade among the buildings of the Venetian Loggia and the church.
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