Agii Theodori - the petrified monsters
If you happen to pass the central road of Agia Marina to Platanias on a day with bad weather you will surely see the waves break at the shores of the deserted island of Thodorou. If you pass it on a day with good weather you will witness its beauty. It is worth to see the island in both ways in order to understand its turbulent history, the legends, as well as its everyday life.
According to a legend, years ago the island didn't exist. The only thing that one could see was the open sea. The villagers were living happily until one day a sea monster decided to lacerate them. While sleeping, they suddenly heard the roaring of the monster. Panic-stricken they looked to the sea without being able to see what was happening. At dawn they saw the huge black bulk of the monster coming towards the seashore. The sea was trembling and the villagers were wishing for this to be a simple nightmare. Unfortunately the monster was real as was its baby that was following the mother.
The young men picked up their weapons and went to kill the monster. After a while the rest of the men followed them to the seashore and started throwing their arrows towards the monster but without success. The rest of the villagers were watching from the end of the village. As soon as the monster took notice of their presence, it roared and opened its mouth widely as if it wanted to tear them to pieces. While the men went back to save their fellow villagers, the women kneeled down and started praying to the Mother of God and St. George for help. The miracle happened and the monsters petrified.
The big monster is called Thodorou and its baby is following. The big hole at the side is not a cave, but the monster's wide open mouth that didn't have a chance to close before being petrified.
The island has always been deserted, so the Cretans decided to call it Akoito, a place not suitable for human establishment. Only when the Venetians built two fortresses in 1574, the island gathered many people. The first fortress at the top of the island and the other named Thodorou a little bit lower.
The island became a military base in order to prevent the Turkish army to land in the Bay of Platanias. But 70 men didn't have the power to stop the enemy. In 1645 the Turks attacked and within a few hours the war reached Chania. The 70 men gathered at the higher fortress with their commander and blew themselves up so they wouldn't have to surrender. Since then no one ever lived on that island again apart from wild animals.
Agioi Theodoroi Map
Today the island serves as a rearing place for the Cretan mountain goat, Kri-kri. There are also the foundation remains of the three-aisled chapel of the St. Theodori to be seen.