Spinalonga - Lasithi

A small island with fascinating history!

The island of Spinalonga in the prefecture of Lasithi has been designated as the island of Lepers.

Spinalonga is a small island located in the Gulf of Elounda, off the northeast coast of Crete. Despite its size, Spinalonga has a fascinating history that makes it a popular destination for tourists visiting the island.

Originally, Spinalonga was used as a Venetian fortress to protect the port of nearby Elounda. After the Venetian period, the island was occupied by the Ottomans, who also used it as a defensive fortification. However, it was during the early 20th century that Spinalonga became known as the “Island of the Lepers.”

In 1903, the island was converted into a leper colony, and it remained so until 1957 when a cure for leprosy was discovered. The colony was home to hundreds of people with leprosy who were forced to live in isolation from the rest of society. The patients were given rudimentary medical care, and they had to rely on donations and government support to survive.

Today, Spinalonga is a popular tourist destination, and visitors can take a boat trip from nearby Elounda to explore the island. Upon arrival, visitors can see the remains of the Venetian fortress and Ottoman buildings that remain on the island.

The most significant attraction on the island is the leper colony, which has been preserved as a museum. Visitors can explore the former hospital buildings and learn about the daily lives of the patients who lived there. The exhibits include photographs, medical equipment, and personal belongings, which provide a glimpse into the harsh conditions the patients had to endure.

Aside from the historical attractions, Spinalonga also offers stunning views of the surrounding sea and coastline. Visitors can take a leisurely walk around the island and enjoy the scenery or relax on one of the island’s beaches.

Overall, Spinalonga is a unique and fascinating destination that offers a glimpse into the island’s rich history. The leper colony, in particular, is a moving reminder of the island’s past and the struggles of those who lived there. A visit to Spinalonga is highly recommended for anyone interested in history and culture or looking for a beautiful and peaceful island getaway.

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