STINALONDE: From the ancient city of Olous, to the lepers island of Spinalonga
Take a tour or go hiking in one of the most famous regions in Crete, but from a different point of view. Discover hidden salt marshes, underwater cities and the surroundings of the fortified island of Spinalonga. Here you will encounter its sweet yet tragic history. The story of an island that has been the home for the lepers of Crete and the rest of Greece. TREKKING: The distance and the time of trekking can be adopted to the abilities and desires of the participants. It varies from 1 to 4 hours without affecting the programme.
The last remains of an ancient city of Crete, Olous, are visible in the sea, at the isthmus of Elounda. The city was already plunged into the water when the Venetians arrived in Olounda, so called in Greek “stin Olounda” or as they recorded it: “Stinalonde”. On the ruins, that the tide every so often conceals and reveals, the Venetians created salt marshes for production of salt and a little later, at the other end of the gulf, they built the fortress on the island of “Spinalonga” paraphrasing the initial name they have given to the region. The Venetian fort became the center of the harbor and the island retained the name Spinalonga during its conquest by the Ottomans, its conversion into a busy trade village and its transformation into a place of exile for the lepers.
The tour in the gulf of Elounda aspires to be a short trip to the local history, enjoying the exceptional beauty of the nature and identifying not only the monumental, but also the humble traces that people of the past left behind.
The trip step by step
Introduction from a view point: the human-made and natural landscape.
Walking tour to the canal of Elounda: tracing the submerged remains of the ancient city “Olous”, passing through the wetland of the former salt pans, visiting the early christian basilica and the medieval church of Analipsi.
Optional tour to Kolokytha peninsula: walking on a roman street, feeling the wild nature, discovering an other part of the ancient city and swimming at the crystal-clear water east of the peninsula.
Walking or driving tour around the island of Spinalonga, from the mainland (or sailing around upon request): observing the strong medieval castle, marking the orthodox churches, talking about the ottoman inhabitants, recognizing the hospital and the dormitories of the 20th century’s exiled lepers.
- Guided tour by an English speaking archaeologist (not inside the organized archaeological site of Spinalonga).
- A specialised booklet for each traveler edited for this particular trip by the archeologist (containing .references, maps, photos, etc.).
- Light meal at a local tavern at Elounda.
- Transport from your accommodation to the sites proposed and back to the hotel (upon request with extra cost).
- Guided tours and entrance fees in organized archaeological sites and inside Spinalonga.
- Personal accident insurance (upon request with a supplement).
- Drinks, personal expenses and tips.
- Boat fees for Spinalonga.
- Translator (upon request with an extra cost)
- Anything that is not specifically mentioned in the paragraph above.