Agios Thomas is a place with an imposing landscape, dense vegetation and a magnificent view.
The carved winepresses, the Roman tombs, the Melissa fortress, the unique laurel forest, the monastery of Panagia Kardiotissa and 49 churches and country churches create a wonderful puzzle, the village of Agios Thomas.
The village is 30 kilometers from Heraclion and built between giant, steep rocks, 530 meters above the sea level.
Administratively, Agios Thomas falls under the Gortyna municipality and 665 people live in the settlement. Their main occupations are livestock and agriculture. The abundant water in the village helps the crop watering.
The ancient city of Panona was near Agios Thomas.
During the Venetian occupation, it was one of the largest villages in Monofatsi. In 1583, in the Kastrofilakas’s census, it is referred as “S. Thomas” with 521 residents.
During the Turkish occupation, the village was given to Kioprouli, the conqueror of Chandax, who dedicated it to the Vezir mosque (Agios Titos). In the 1866 revolution, Turks destroyed the village and cut down the fruit-bearing trees.
The name of the village comes from the old church (with 3 aisles) in the center of the village.
As it was mentioned before, 49 churches and country churches are in the settlement.
The central church is the basilica (with 3 aisles) dedicated to Agios Thomas, Agios Nikolaos and Agios Charalampos.
Agia Paraskevi, with the frescos remnants, Michail Archagelos, on the way to the cemetery, with the archaic frescos of the 12th century, Agios Panteleimonas, Agios Ioannis, Agios Ioasaf and the church of Kera Melisani and Agio Pneyma, in the ruins of the village of Aksenti, are some worth visiting churches.
You should also visit the church of Kera Spiliotissa, on the way to the old settlement of Ardaxthia. According to the tradition, there was a theatre and an ancient altar, while out of the cave, there is an ancient, Greek inscription carved on it. In Spiliotissa, there is the hole of Hades – now it is concrete. The entrance to the Underworld is said to be there and that is why people threw tributes and some of the favorite objects of the deceased in it.
The old monastery of Panagia Ksrdiotissa is some kilometers outside of the village.
The ancient custom of zosima is held every 2-3 years in the churches of the Agios Thomas settlement.
According to this, the women of the village knit very long ropes, they put them 7 times in beeswax and, in spring, they coil the churches with it.
It is said that, by this way, bad luck goes away.
That custom comes from the ancient Greece.