Religious Architecture in Crete: Materiality and Identities between the Venetian and the Ottoman Rule


  • Marta Lorenzon



In archaeology, the concept of identity is investigated with a clear focus on material culture, while architecture has often been excluded from this narrative, or when included, the general outlook gravitates towards more contemporary case studies. This article argues that iconoclasm, cultural appropriation and architectural destruction are not issues only concerning the recent past, but they are a diachronic phenomenon present endemically in a variety of case studies that pertain to archaeological contexts.


Anagnostopoulos, A. 2016. Cosmopolitanism or constitutive violence? The creation of ‘Turkish’ Iraklion, in R. Bryant (ed.), Post-Ottoman Coexistence. Sharing Space in the Shadow of Conflict: 86–106. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Anastasopoulos, A., E. Kolovos and M. Sariyannis 2008. Introduction, in E. Brouskare (ed.) Transl. E. Fowden. Ottoman Architecture in Greece: 18–44. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture.

Archer, J. 2005. Social theory of space: Architecture and the production of self, culture, and society. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 64 (4): 430–433.

Arnold, D. Y. 1991. The house of earth-bricks and Inka Stones: Gender, memory and cosmos in Qaqachaka. Journal of Latina American Lore 17: 3–69.

Ascherson, N. 2005. Cultural Destruction by War and its impact on group identities, in N. Stanley-Price (ed.) Cultural Heritage in Postwar Recovery. Papers from the ICCROM FORUM held on October 4–6, 2005: 17–25. Rome: ICCROM Conservation Studies 6.

Bevan, R. 2006. The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War. London: Reaktion.

Bezant, J. and K. Grant 2016. The post-medieval rural landscape: towards a landscape archaeology? Post-Medieval Archaeology, 50 (1): 92–107.

Biçakçi, I. 2003. Yunanistan’da Türk Mimarî Eserleri [Turkish Architectural Works in Greece], İstanbul: İslâm Tarih, Sanat ve Kültürünü Araştırma Vakfı.

Bierman, I. 1991. The Ottomanisation of Crete, in I. Bierman, R. Abou-el-Haj and D. Preziosi (eds), The Ottoman City and its Parts. New Rochelle, NY: A.D. Caratzas.

Bintliff, J.L. 1999. The Ottoman era in the context of long-term settlement history. A case-study: The archaeological survey of the Valley of the Muses, Boeotia, Greece. Arab Historical Review for Ottoman Studies 19–20: 203–229.

Bintliff, J.L. 2012. The Complete Archaeology of Greece from Hunter-gatherers to the 20th Century AD. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Bintliff, J.L. 2014. The archaeology of Ottoman to Early Modern Greece. Pharos 20 (1): 347–369.

Boschini, M. 1651. Fortezza di Rettimo/ da Marco Boschini. [Map]. Venetia. ark:/12148/btv1b53011754c

Bougarel, X. 2005. L’héritage ottoman dans les recompositions de l’identité musulmane/bochniaque, in S. Gangloff (ed.), La perception de l’héritage ottoman dans les Balkans / The Perception of the Ottoman Legacy in the Balkans: 63–94 Paris: L’Harmattan.

Boykov, G. 2011. Reshaping urban space in the Ottoman Balkans: a study on the architectural development of Edirne, Plovdiv, and Skopje (14th-15th centuries), in Hartmuth, M. (ed.) 2011. Centres and Peripheries in Ottoman Αrchitecture: Rediscovering a Balkan Heritage / Centri i periferije u osmanskoj arhitekturi: Ponovo otkrivanje balkanskog naslijeđa: 36–49. Sarajevo: Cultural Heritage without Borders.

Brouskare, E. (ed.) 2008. Transl. E. Fowden. Ottoman Architecture in Greece. Athens.

Buchli, V. 2013. An Anthropology of Architecture. London: Bloomsbury.

Bulle, S. 2016. A Conflict of Spaces or of Recognition? Co-presence in Divided Jerusalem. In R. Bryant (ed.), Post-Ottoman Coexistence. Sharing Space in the Shadow of Conflict: 238–257. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Collignon, F. 1668. Pianta della Citta di Candia assediata da Turchi. [Map]. Rome. ark:/12148/btv1b530117350

Crain, E. E. 1994. Historic architecture in the Caribbean islands. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

Fleet, K. and S. Ianeva. 2014. Ottoman Economic Practices in Periods of Transformation: The Cases of Crete and Bulgaria. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi.

Forty, A. 1999. Introduction, in A. Forty and S. Küchler (eds) The Art of Forgetting: 6–12. Oxford: Berg.

Georgopoulou, M. 2011. Venice’s Mediterranean Colonies: Architecture and Urbanism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Georgopoulou, M. 2012. Vernacular Architecture in Venetian Crete: Urban and Rural Practices. Medieval Encounters, 18 (4–5): 447–80.

Gerelyes, I. 2011. Ottoman architecture in Hungary: new discoveries and perspectives for research, in Hartmuth, M. (ed.) 2011. Centres and Peripheries in Ottoman Αrchitecture: Rediscovering a Balkan Heritage / Centri i periferije u osmanskoj arhitekturi: Ponovo otkrivanje balkanskog naslijeđa: 50–59. Sarajevo: Cultural Heritage without Borders.

Gerola, G. 1908. I Monumenti Veneti dell’Isola di Creta. Vol II. Venezia: Istituto Veneto di Scienze e Arti.

Giapitsoglou, K. 2008. Küçük Hasan Mosque (Yiah Cami). In Brouskare, E. (ed.) 2008. Transl. E. Fowden. Ottoman Architecture in Greece: 419–421. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture.

Giapitsoglou, K. and F. Kougleri. 2009. Το τζαµί Ιµπραΐµ Χαν στο φρούριο της Φορτέτσας του Ρεθύµνου και η αποκατάστασή του [La mosquée Ibrahim Han dans la Fortezza de Rethymno et sa restauration], in Stefanidou Aimilia (ed.) Η συντήρηση και η αποκατάσταση των οθωµανικών µνηµείων στην Ελλάδα [L’entretien et la restauration des monuments ottomans en Grèce]: 233–248. Thessaloniki, ΑΙΜΟΣ-Société pour l’étude de l’architecture médiévale des Balkans et sa protection.

Giapitsoglou, K. and Kougleri F. 2011 ‘O naόs tou Agίou Fragkίskou Pethumnou in Andreadaki-Vlazaki, M. (ed.). Proceedings of the 1st International Cretological Congress, Khania, Crete, 1–8 October 2006. Volume B2: 137–157. Heraklion: Society of Cretan Historical Studies.

Giddens, A. 1983. Comments on the Theory of Structuration. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 13(1): 75–80.

Giles, M. 2012. A Forged Glamour: Landscape, Identity and Material Culture in the Iron Age. Oxford: Windgather.

Ginio, E. and K. Kaser, 2013. Introduction: Towards a Comparative Study of the Balkans and the Middle East, in E. Ginio and K. Kaser (eds) Ottoman Legacies in the Contemporary Mediterranean: The Balkans and the Middle East Compared:3–21. Jerusalem: The European Forum at the Hebrew University.

González-Ruibal, A. 2005. The Need for a Decaying Past: An Archaeology of Oblivion in Contemporary Galicia (NW Spain). Home Cultures, 2(2): 129–152.

Goodwin, G. 1993. Sinan: Ottoman Architecture and Its Values Today. London: Saqi Books.

Gradeva, R. 1994. Ottoman Policy towards Christian Church Buildings. In Balkan Studies (Etudes balkaniques) 4: 14–36.

Greene, M. 2001. Ruling an island without a navy. A comparative view of Venetian and Ottoman Crete. Oriente Moderno 20, 81(1): 193–207.

Gutiérrez, R. 1994. Los ingenieros militares en las fortificaciones del Caribe, in R. Paolini (ed.) El Caribe Fortificado: 31–49. Bogotá Colombia: Editorial Escala.

Hales, S. and Hodos, T (ed.) 2009. Material Culture and Social Identities in the Ancient World. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hartmuth, M. 2011. The history of centre-periphery relations as a history of style in Ottoman provincial architecture, in Hartmuth, M. (ed.) 2011. Centres and Peripheries in Ottoman Αrchitecture: Rediscovering a Balkan Heritage / Centri i periferije u osmanskoj arhitekturi: Ponovo otkrivanje balkanskog naslijeđa: 18–30. Sarajevo: Cultural Heritage without Borders.

Hayden, R. M. 2002. Antagonistic Tolerance: Competitive Sharing of Religious Sites in South Asia and the Balkans. Current Anthropology 43(2): 205–31.

Hayden, R. M. 2005. Religious Structures and Political Dominance in Belgrade. Ethnologia Balkanica 9: 213–24.

Hayden, R. M. 2016. Intersecting religioscapes in post-Ottoman spaces: Trajectories of change, competition, and sharing of religious spaces, in R. Bryant (ed.), Post-Ottoman Coexistence. Sharing Space in the Shadow of Conflict: 59–85. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Hayden, R. M., H. Sözer, T. Tanyeri-Erdemir and A. Erdemir. 2011. The Byzantine Mosque at Trilye: A Processual Analysis of Dominance, Sharing, Transformation and Tolerance. History and Anthropology 22(1): 1–17.

Herscher, A. 2010. Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

Hodder, I. 1986. Reading the Past. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Insoll, T. 2007. The Archaeology of Identities: A Reader. London/New York: Routledge.

James-Chakraborty, K. 2014. Beyond postcolonialism: New directions for the history of non-western architecture. Frontiers of Architectural Research. 3(1): 1–9.

Kusno, A. 2000. Behind the Postcolonial: Architecture, Urban Space, and Political Cultures in Indonesia. London: Routledge.

Larsson, S. and T. Saunders 1997. Order and architecture in the age of transition: A social analysis of the archbishop’s palace in Trondheim, Norway. Norwegian Archaeological review, 30 (2): 79–102.

Locock, M. (ed.) 1994. Meaningful Architecture: Social Interpretations of Buildings. Aldershot: Avebury.

Lorenzon, M. 2017. Earthen architecture in Bronze Age Crete. From raw materials to construction. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Edinburgh.

Nixon, L. 2006. Making a Landscape Sacred: Outlying Churches and Icon Stands in Sphakia, Crete, A.D. 1000–2000. Oxford: Oxbow.

Nixon, L. 2012. Building memory: The role of sacred structures in Sphakia and Crete, in B. Dignas and B. Smith (eds), Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World: 187–214. Oxford: Oxford Univeristy Press.

Papliaka, Z. E., A.Philippidis, P. Siozos, M. Vakondiou, K. Melessanaki, and D. Anglos. 2016. A Multi-technique Approach, Based on Mobile/portable Laser Instruments, for the in situ Pigment Characterization of Stone Sculptures on the Island of Crete Dating from Venetian and Ottoman Period. Heritage Science 4, 15 (1).

Parker Pearson, M. and C. Richards (eds) 1994. Architecture and Order. Approaches to Social Space. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Pendlebury, J., Y. Wang and A. Law 2018. Re-using ‘uncomfortable heritage’: the case of the 1933 building, Shanghai. International Journal of Heritage Studies 24(3): 211–229.

Rykwert, J. 1991. House and Home. Social Research 58, 1: 51–62.

Sabri, R. 2018. Greek nationalism, architectural narratives, and a gymnasium that wasn’t, International Journal of Heritage Studies, DOI: 10.1080/13527258.2018.1431302 accessed on 08 February 2018

Samson, R. (ed.) 1990. The Social Archaeology of Houses. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Shanks, M., and C. Tilley. 1987. Re-constructing Archaeology: Theory and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Siller, B. 2013. The building and rebuilding of walls: Aspirations, commitments and tensions within an Andean community and the archaeological monument they inhabit. Journal of Material Culture, 18(1): 27–51.

Smith, L. 2004. Archaeological Theory and the Politics of Cultural Heritage. London: Routledge.

Soja, E. W. 1989. Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory. London: Verso.

Tilley, C. 1994. A Phenomenology of Landscape. Places, Paths and Monuments. Berg, Oxford: Bloomsbury

Uluengin, M.B. 2010. Secularizing Anatolia Tick by Tick: Clock Towers in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic. International Journal of Middle East Studies 42(1): 17–36.

Vionis, A.K. 2012. A Crusader, Ottoman and Early Modern Aegean Archaeology: Built Environment and Domestic Material Culture in the Medieval and Post-Medieval Cyclades, Greece (13th-20th centuries AD). Archaeological Studies Leiden University 22. Leiden: Leiden University Press.

Zarinebaf, F., J. Bennet and J. Davis 2005. An Analysis of the Ottoman Cadastral Survey of Anavarin, 1716, in Zarinebaf, F., J. Bennet and J. Davis (eds) A Historical and Economic Geography of Ottoman Greece. The Southwestern Morea in the 18th c. Hesperia Supplement 34. Princeton: The American School of Classical Studies at Athens.



How to Cite

Lorenzon, M. (2018). Religious Architecture in Crete: Materiality and Identities between the Venetian and the Ottoman Rule. Journal of Greek Archaeology, 3, 341–359.



Medieval and Post-Medieval