The Isolation Place of the Lepers
Spinalonga Island carries a dark and dramatic history. It has been an outpost fortress defending Mirabello Bay in front of Agios Nikolaos, but mainly it is known as a practically closed community into which the lepers were forced to move and live their lives in the shadows of sickness and death. Spinalonga Island is far back in the bay looking from the direction of Agios Nikolaos. Spinalonga can be reached from several harbours by boat: Elounda, Agios Nikolaos and Plaka village with the shortest boat trip of 15 minutes.
The boat trip to Spinalonga takes you through a very beautiful bay and its turquoise blue waters. In the background you can see the iron gate, behind which the lepers were closed and isolated. Panoramic view of the ruined buildings on the southern shore.
“The Island” by Victoria Hislop is one of the best descriptions of the history and the reality of the island.
The fortress, which was built in many phases, protected the bay in front of Elounda before the lepers were transferred and isolated into the island. The impressive experience on the island is to realize that the outcasts tried to live their lives as normally as possible in spite of their incurable sickness. Sick individuals sometimes formed relationships and even children were born in the exile. The isolated island was very self-sufficient, to which ruined gardens, bakeries, ovens and many other structures give silent testimony.
Coordinates for Spinalonga: 35°17’51.51″N 25°44’17.03″E
Coordinates for Plaka village pier: 35°17’53.31″N 25°43’43.75″E