Kandylakia are small shrines built alongside Greek roads to commemorate those who have died in a traffic accident, or by those who have survived a potentially fatal accident. They are made of concrete, stone, metal or wood and often take the shape of a little church. They hold Orthodox Christian icons, in addition to oil lamps. Sometimes they will even have a small hand censer for the burning of incense. In more mountainous areas of Greece, kandylakia may be carved into the side of cliffs rather than placed as a freestanding shrine.
Most kandylakia are built in the shape of small Greek Orthodox chapels and will have a central door, along with some windows to let the light of a candle out. Larger kandylakia may even be large enough for someone to walk into and use as a small prayer corner.
During your trip to Greece you’ll see ancient temples, impressive Greek Orthodox churches with arching domes, and brilliant gilded icons. You’ll see evidence everywhere of thousands of years of Greek belief. But to feel it, step inside one of the little chapels. Or stand a moment on a wild roadside by a little shrine where someone’s hopes, pains, or life is perpetually commemorated, and our own spirits are restored by a moment of quiet in the heart of Greece.
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