Graveyards and iconostasies on the island of Crete.

Nederlands talige teksten

Because the soil on Crete is very hard, it is difficult to dig a deep grave. Therefore you will notice that the graves expand above ground in concrete shells. The chest is put inside and then covered with a marble plaque. Because of the high temperature people are buried within 24 hours after they die. This leaves very little time to send a mourning card, therefore mourning posters are put up on electricity posts, trees and signboards.

When the chest is placed in the tomb the lid is not completely closed. This is done to speed up the process of decomposition. A rented grave will be emptied after three-five years. The bones are then cleaned and put in a bone house on the graveyard.

On the graves you will often find small iconostasies; a memorial with a photo and a candle.
You also find these memorials alongside the road. The literal translation is icon stop. These chapels are placed alongside the road for three reasons; when a fatal accident happened or an accident without casualties or as a reference to the nearest church or monastery.

They always contain an icon, an oil lamp, oil, matches or a lighter, a fuse and sometimes even some money. The lamps in the chapels are always burning. When it has gone out, you are allowed to light it.