Medieval village of Voila

The village of Voila, deserted today, takes up the northern and the western side of a steep hill on the eastern side of the plateau where the villages Ziros, Armeni and Handras are located. The steep hillside creates a natural fortification to the south-east, while at the northern and the western side, which overlooks the valley, the buildings have closed, fortress-like facades. A low, partially preserved wall encloses the remaining space towards the valley.

The village used to extend beyond the present-day main road, the opening of which necessitated the demolition of several buildings. Vaulted constructions, storage space and stables can be seen in the lowerouter zone, while the residences were built on the hillside. 

During the Venetian period, Voila was the fief of the Salomon noble family. They added an extension to the churchof Saint George(Agios Georgios), where their family tomb is located.

In the period of Turkish rule, Voila was headquarters of a battalion of Janissaries, inhabited mostly by Muslims.

The tower that can be seen in the village was named after Jen Ali, the most well-known of the Janissary commanders. 

From the late 19th century and on, the settlement gradually declined and was consequently deserted. Nowadays it lies in a state of ruin. The majority of the preserved buildings date to the Turkish period. However, the ruins of the surviving Venetian residences are noted for their remarkable architecture, which seems indicative of the prosperity and development of the settlement during the particular period.

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Additional Info

  • location Chandras, Sitia, Lasithi
  • type Architecture, Medieval Settlement
  • time period Secong Byzantine Period, Venetians, Turkish Occupation
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