Spinalonga is a small island located in the Gulf of Elounda in eastern Crete, Greece. The island was first inhabited in the Minoan era and was later fortified by the Venetians in the 16th century. During the Ottoman occupation of Crete, the island was used as a leper colony and remained so until 1957.
The island’s rich history has made it a popular tourist destination in recent years. Visitors can walk through the ruins of the Venetian fortifications, explore the remains of the leper colony and learn about the lives of the people who lived there. The island is also famous for its stunning scenery, including the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea and the rugged coastline that surrounds it.
Visitors to the island can explore the narrow cobblestone streets, the old stone houses and the remains of the leper colony. There are several guided tours available, as well as a museum that contains artifacts and information about the island’s history and its former inhabitants.
The leper colony of Spinalonga was one of the last in Europe and its story is a testament to the bravery and resilience of the people who lived there. Leprosy was a highly stigmatized and feared disease in the early 20th century, and those affected by it were often isolated from society. The lepers of Spinalonga, however, managed to create a community on the island, where they could live their lives with dignity and support each other.
Spinalonga has also been the setting for several works of fiction, including the best-selling novel “The Island” by Victoria Hislop. The book tells the story of a young girl who travels to Spinalonga in search of her family’s history and explores the lives of the lepers who lived there.
In recent years, Spinalonga has become a popular destination for tourists who are interested in exploring the island’s rich history and unique scenery. Visitors can take a ferry from nearby Elounda or Agios Nikolaos to reach the island, and spend a few hours or a whole day exploring its fascinating history and stunning scenery.
Overall, Spinalonga is a unique and historically significant place that offers visitors the chance to step back in time and learn about a fascinating chapter in Greece’s rich history. Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of literature, or just looking for a day trip to escape the crowds, Spinalonga is a must-visit destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.