Welcome to the 100th. Explore! article (more about this right at the end). It is fitting that this milestone falls in December, as loyal readers will know, it’s the Paleochora Christmas Puzzle time!

So, if the weather is wet or cold outside, light up the log burner, get some spiced wine (or a cup of tea) and indulge yourself…

You won’t travel far in Crete without passing a church or small chapel, and “Explore” walks have visited many, all having the name of a Saint, either male (eg. Agios DIMITRIOS) female (Agia MARINA) or occasionally a combination or plural (Agii PAVLOS & PETROS, and Agii APOSTOLI).

Ag Apostoli Ligia

One website lists 750 Greek ‘prime names’, with 2085 ‘derivatives’, ie. the prime name of NIKOLAOS has derivatives of Nikos, Nick, Nicoleta and Nicole. Similarly DIONISIS with Denis and Denise. The site gives 2800 “name days”, from January 1st (VASILIS) to December 31st (MELANY), and alphabetically from Aaron to Zoe. A further 980 names have unknown or non-established name days.

Ag Nikolaus Strati

The Greek equivalent of Robert (or Bob) is HARALAMBOS, with a church in Prodromi, its name day February 10th, and perhaps next year I shall go there.

Close to Paleochora is the 13thC church of Ag. GIORGOS in Anidri, and Ag. IOANNIS, of similar age, in Kalamos.

Ag Giorgos Anidri


Ag Ioannis Kalamos

High above Spaniakos, hidden away, is Ag. TIMIOS STAVROS, and near Kakodiki is Ag. ISIDOROS.

Ag Isidoros Kakodiki

Voutas has Ag. PARASKEVI with its bizarre frescoes, and at Temenia is Ag. SOTIROS, a beautiful Byzantine church.

Ag Paraskevi Voutas


Ag Sotiris, Temenia

Close to Kandanos are Ag. MAMAS, Ag. AIKATERINI, and Ag. ANNA.

Ag Aikaterini Kandanos


Agia Anna Kandanos

The churches dedicated to PROFITIS ILIAS are always on heights (eg. above Anidri and Kadros), and many visitors will have walked through the Ag. IRINI gorge.

Profitis Ilias Kadros

Ag. ANTONIOS is close to me in two ways, and Ag. ZINAS was the high point of a memorable walk (see ‘Explore’ August 2015.)

Many ‘main’ churches are named PANAGIA after the Madonna (eg. in Spaniakos), and Ag. TRIADA, the Holy Trinity (in Kallithea.) Less frequently found are CLEO, TITOS, OLGA and NINA.

So here is what you have to do…

You can download a printable version of the grid – click here

Of the 29 names in BLOCK CAPITALS, 26 can be found in the Word Square (vertical, horizontal, diagonal) – when you’ve found these, 14 unused letters remain. Circle these, and read from left to right, top to bottom, to find two more names.

Which is the one missing name?

DO NOT put your answer as a comment. Please enter using this form:


Closing date : 5th January 2018 , with the usual prize of a Ten Euro voucher for “To Delfini” bookshop for the lucky winner.

Note from the editor: As I mentioned right at the start, this is the 100th. Explore! article.

Yes, Bob has been researching and writing these exclusive insights into the local area since 2009. Time certainly flies!

There are thousands of regular readers all across the globe…From the USA to Australia (and at least one in Turkey). Many people never miss an article and many of those have had their experience of visiting Paleochora greatly enhanced by getting off the beaten track and following one or more of these articles.

On behalf of all the loyal readers, wherever they are, I would like to take this opportunity to give Bob our sincere thanks and a hearty pat on the back for all of the pleasure he has given us. Long may it continue!

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