Spinalonga – A Place of Living History

Across Blue Palace, the isle of Spinalonga lies peacefully in the Gulf of Elounda. The site has always been a major attraction for visitors. The tiny island hosts a wonderful amalgamation of Medieval Venetian and Turkish buildings and turn of the century Greek houses. On a small scale, its history and architecture – marked by subsequent invasions – reflects the history of Crete itself.


Bits of History

During the Hellenistic period, the island was fortified from the inhabitants of the ancient city of Olous to protect the harbor. In the 17th century, Spinalonga fell under the occupation of the Venetians, who built a new powerful fortress over the ruins of the ancient one. In the 18th century, the island fell in the hands of the Ottoman Empire. By 1903, the Turks had abandoned the island while in the same year, the Cretan State decided to create a leper colony in Spinalonga. In 1957, the discovery of antibiotics cured the patients of leprosy (Hansen's disease) and the island was deserted.

Spinalonga Island

Traveler Tips

Here are a couple helpful tips for visiting Spinalonga Island.

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