Planning to visit Spinalonga? Unknown Facts about Spinalonga

by Anna Giakoumaki on Jul 20, 2018 Shopping and Product Reviews 255 Views


Do you know that… 

- Spinalonga’s history begins in prehistoric times? 

- Spinalonga protected and guarded the harbor of ancient Olous or Olounda, modern-day Elounda? 

- Elounda bay has shallow, salty waters, and Venetians built salt-pans, a particularly lucrative enterprise? 

- Venetians were selling salt in the Mediterranean, that’s why the salt-pans at Elounda should be protected? 

- Spinalonga’s fortress is a fortified complex including high double walls and stern towers, and constructed by the Venetians because they had to defend their salt-pans at Elounda? 

- In 1630 it had 35 cannons, essentially meaning that it had been turned into an island fortress with great firepower? 

- Venice managed to hang onto Spinalonga even after the fall of Heraklion to the Turks in 1669, keeping it in its possession, along with Gramvoussa and Souda, until 1715, in the hope of retaking Crete. Spinalonga was finally ceded to the Ottoman Turks in 1715 under a treaty with Kapudan Pasha? 

- The Cretan State with the Law 463, identified Spinalonga as the place where the lepers of Crete were to settle? (The was voted on 30 May 1903) 

- In 1904, the first 251 lepers settled on the islet of Spinalonga and the 272 remaining Muslims were indirectly forced off the island with the promise of compensation? 

- In 1905, a supplementary Decree was passed to try to bring some order to the prevailing chaos? 

- The first lepers who arrived on Spinalonga were accompanied by convicts from death row incarcerated at the Idjedin prison in Chania? 

- The situation on the island in the early days was beyond anything imaginable, with constant mistreatment of patients and daily scenes of terror and violence? 

- During the first three decades of the century, according to reports, approximately 1,000 patients were confined on the islet of Spinalonga? 

- On the islet of Spinalonga, in contrast with other similar Greek institutions, the patients had three basic advantages? 

- The patients had an allowance granted by the State and they could buy whatever they considered necessary. 

- The patients had to obtain food and other basics from somewhere in order to survive? But where? 

- The boom in trade also affected the appearance of the shore fronting the small harbor of Plaka on the Cretan mainland? 

- Spinalonga was a leper colony till 1957? 

- After the leper colony closed in 1957, the Greek Government explored the possibility of using the islet for other purposes, such as a public psychiatric hospital, but these discussions were soon dropped? 

- Now-days, dozens of boats from the nearby villages ferry visitors to the small islet? 

Find more amazing tips for Spinalonga here!: 

Anna Giakoumaki is the author of the best-selling nonfiction book "Spinalonga - the True Story. Spinalonga reveals the hidden truth behind the island of Spinalonga, as recorded in historical archives and as narrated by those who lived it. To know more, visit

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