Etz Hayyim Synagogue
Etz Hayyim Synagogue Review
This ancient landmarke is tucked away in what was once the Jewish ghetto, a warren of narrow lanes known as Evraki, just off the harbor south of the Firka. The building was formerly the Venetian church of St. Catherine, became a synagogue under the Ottomans in the 16th century, and was sorely neglected and near collapse by the end of the 20th century. Venetian Gothic arches, a mikveh (ritual bath), tombs of three rabbis, and other architectural features have been beautifully restored and are a stirring memorial to Crete's once sizable Jewish population, obliterated during World War II; many Cretan jews drowned when a British torpedo sunk the ship carrying them toward Auschwitz in 1944.