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History of Spinalonga

History of Spinalonga

The following is the history of Spinalonga and the story of Elounda dating back to the prehistoric years

Spinalonga the early years.

During the Minoan years, Spinalonga protected and guarded the ancient port of Elounda. The whole city which is one hundred on the island of Crete, has grown in the region of Olous and now a large part of it is submerged.

Olous became a major city in north eastern Crete and also became an important port and developed its own currency.

Spinalonga during the Venetian rule.

Large groups of people recognised the value of Elounda and their export possibilities. Gold became a lucrative business and also they used the port of Elounda to move local agricultural products around the region.

The Eands completed their fulfilments. They improved the existing defences and redesigned some structural works.

The new fortress was built on Spinalonga in 1579 under the supervision of the General of Crete Giacomo Foskarini. Even today it is maintained to a satisfactory condition and is considered to be one of the most important Mediterranean forts.

In 1630 Spinalonga had a total of 35 canons installed and turned the area into a fortress. A fortress with great firepower. For this reason Spinalonga fortress was never conquered.

The venetians managed to keep Spinalonga in its sovereignty until 1715 together with Gramvousa and Suda, they did this with the hope of rebuilding Crete.

Spinalonga during the Turkish Domination.

Spinalonga in 1715 was handed over to the ottoman Turks on Capandan Pasa. Spinalonga then became a refuge where Christians could be saved.

Spinalonga in the 20th Century.

The island of Spinalonga was largely abandoned in 1898, after the autonomy of Crete. In 1903 the last Turks settled here to turn the island into a small village what we all know it as now until 1957.

Spinalonga during the second world war was known to the Germans as the island of the lepers  and all during the war the Germans continued to send lepers to the island, the Germans would never go to the island and never had any guards at all on the island.

Spinalonga today.

In the 70’s there was a warning to protect Spinalonga. Engineers have regular maintenance on the wall of the fortress to keep it in good condition.

Since 1976 the archaeological site of Spinalonga and all of the Venetian buildings on the island continue up to this day to have regular maintenance to preserve the historical site.

Spinalonga today is one of the main Sites to visit while on the island of Crete and receives more than one thousand visitors every day during the summer season.

In 2018 Spinalonga was also nominated to become a world heritage site due to its history and status.