The birthplace of Domenikos Theotokopoulos
The village of Fodele is located 28 km west of Iraklion at 60m a.s.l., and has 500 permanent residents.
The area of Fodele expands over approximately 24,000,000 sq.m, extending from the northern side of the mountain "Strouboulas" to the northern coast of Crete, at the bay of Fodele.
Most of its area is forest covered by bushes. Another 3,000,000 sq.m covers the famous
Fodele orange grove. The river Pantomantris and its banks which form a perfect refuge for hundreds of flora and fauna species, cover another 600,000 sq.m.
The name "FODELE" probably comes from the name of one of its first settlers, since 1248 it is mentioned three times at the Kalergis- Venetians treaty.
At the census of Fr. Barozzi (1577), Fodele is mentioned belonging to the county of Milopotamos of the prefecture of Rethimno.
Since then all the censuses (Castrofilakas 1583, Bassilikata 1630, Turkish 1671, Hourmouzis 1842 and 1881), mentioned Fodele with quite a few residents, most of them Christians.
Since 1920 the area of Fodele is part of the Malevizi county of the prefecture of Iraklion.
Very close to Iraklion, at the 25th km of the new national road Iraklion- Rethimno we meet the beach of Fodele. Here a cross road leads to the village of Fodele after a distance of 3km, by the riverside and through fruitful orange trees.
The village is built among orange trees and plane-trees, forms a real oasis for the visitor, during the hot summer days. Through the village runs the small river "Pantomantris", which took its name from the old city "PANTOMANTRION" once existing here.
A the village's square under a plane-tree aged over one thousand years there is a memorial, of the great painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos who was born in Fodele in 1541.
This is a plaque, standing on a marble base, with the face of the painter engraved and a text which says:
This plaque was brought to Fodele in 1934, by a team of professors, representatives of the University of Valladolid.
An other memorial to the painter stands at the village, since 1964 when the 350th
anniversary of his death was celebrated. It is a bust made by the sculptor Apartis.
Within a small distance from the village 's square, one kilometer to the west, is the small settlement "Arhontiko", with the house where it is believed that EL GRECO was born and passed its childhood.
In Arhontiko there is also the small Byzantine church of Panagia (Holy Mother) which is said to have inspired the painter to treat and express his feelings with, religious themes and sacred items.
At the Municipal office, the visitor can see copies of the EL GRECO' s works.
The visitor to Fodele can also enjoy the Cretan specialties at the taverns of the
village, buy souvenirs of the Cretan weaving art from the small stores and, for the nature lovers, take a walk to the monastery of Agios Pantelehimon, an old one which played an important role to the history of the place. This walk, five kilometers long, follows the river side and passes through the forest with plane-trees and bushes. Experienced walkers will love it.
At Fodele there are two beaches, the first near the national road provides some tourist facilities, with a big hotel, restaurants, cafe etc, and a car station. The other one is located a little to the west, accessible only from the village and there are no facilities to the visitors.