Megali Vrisi

Megali Vrisi

Megali Vrisi is about 30 kilometers from Heraclion, in the north side of the basin of the Monafatsi district.

The settlement is built amphitheatrically, 620 meters above the sea level. Administratively, it falls under the Gortyna municipality and 770 people live in it.

The local community of Megali Vrisi includes the desolated settlement of Vorrou and the beautiful, traditional village of Preveliana. The traditional houses of Preveliana can be seen from the central road. 190 people live in there.

Their main occupations are olive crop, vine-growing and livestock.

A wind farm is built in Megali Vrisi due to its favorable, land and climate conditions and it produces electric current of 5MW.


The statuette of a man of 80 cm was found in Megali Vrisi in 1898 and it is from the Middle-Minoan era. The Byzantine fortresses in Kavvalos and Pirgos show the long history of the village.

The first written reference was in the Kastrofilakas’s census, in 1583, and then it is mentioned in all the Venetian and Turkish censuses.

The population of the village was mixed (i.e. both Turks and Greeks) during the Turkish occupation.

Many residents of the settlement participated in the Battle of Crete, with Ioannis Mpantouvas at the head.

Preveliana is mentioned for the first time in the Egyptian census of 1834.


The name Megali Vrisi comes from the spring in the centre of the village that was once very large and abundant water flowed.

Preveliana was named after its first resident called Prevelis.


The patron saint of Megali Vrisi is Agios Konstantinos. The churches of Timios Stavros, Panagia Almiri, Agia Anna, Agios Georgios, Agios Nektarios, Agia Anastasia and Agios Charalampos are also in the village.


The faith of the residents can be proved by the stories passed down and preserved until today. Most of them have to do with the churches of the area.

The Panagia Almiri church is said to have been built during the first Christian years when Agios Pavlos came to Crete. He was shipwrecked in the southern coasts of Crete, lived and started to teach Christianity where the church of Panagia Almiri is built. His stay and presence caused the rage of the ruler of Festos, who, in order to live, sent his son to ask Agios Pavlos to hit his stick on Earth and to spout salted water from there. Agios Pavlos hit his stick and salted water was sprouted from there. Then, the ruler’s son, shocked by the event, decided to live as a hermit in a cave, where the small church of Agia Paraskevi is today, for the rest of his life. Today there is a well in the spring (that Agios Pavlos created), from where holly water appears on the day of Analipsis, when the church is celebrated.

It is said that holly water flowed from a place in the church of Agia Anastasia but, when Turks passed by, it stopped flowing.

The Cathedral of Megali Vrisi is the oldest church of Agios Konstantinos and it is said that whoever thief passed by, he was immobilized since morning, when people could see him.

Tradition states that there was a large snake that attacked and scared passers-by in Pera Ampelia.

It is also said that there was a large bush in the village that, whenever Turks were coming to loot the village, a voice was heard that warned the residents.