Thursday, October 30, 2014
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
October 26-28 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
A Small History of Sfakia
After the Battle of Crete during World War II, Sfakians helped thousands of New Zealand and Australian soldiers evacuate the island. In spite of great reprisals, the Sfakians continued in their rebellion against the Germans during the four years of their occupation.
A monument at the new harbor honors the great effort to evacuate the Allied forces when defeat was inevitable.
Stealing and banditry had been considered a way of life in the mountains, even appearing in a Creation myth, which made God Himself a Sfakiot, as recounted by Adam Hopkins:
- ...with an account of all the gifts God had given to other parts of Crete - olives to Ierapetra, Ayios Vasilios and Selinou; wine to Malevisi and Kissamou; cherries to Mylapotamos and Amari. But when God got to Sfakia only rocks were left. So the Sfakiots appeared before Him armed to the teeth. "And us Lord, how are we going to live on these rocks?" and the Almighty, looking at them with sympathy, replied in their own dialect (naturally): "Haven't you got a scrap of brains in your head? Don't you see that the lowlanders are cultivating all these riches for you?"
In spite of their warlike nature, Sfakians are also famous for their hospitality and generosity towards guests. During and after WWII, the town was never completely abandoned, but the population moved away from the coast into the hills. Gradually, the town fell into ruin. With the improvement and paving of the road from Chania to Hora Sfakia in the 1980's, more and more tourists discovered the town. Residents returned to the coast, restored many of the buildings and put up new construction. It was an easy transition for many Sfakians to turn from traditional labor to tourism.
We have certainly enjoyed our share of Sfakian hospitality!
The photos below are of the old fortifications as the look today.