“A symbol of the triumph of the human spirit“
Spinalonga an intriguing island of history and memory. ©Julia Horbaschk
Once a mighty Venetian fort and a prosperous Ottoman settlement it became one of the last active leper colonies in Europe. On the Unesco World Heritage site Spinalonga is described as “a monument to human pain.” However, it is also seen as “a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit, freedom and democracy over oppression.”
The effort to include Spinalonga on the UNESCO World Heritage List began in 2007. It has been on the “tentetive” list for many years now and Crete has submitted it’s full UNESCO proposal in January 2019 with the hope to get the same recognition as for example Robben Island. There are 6 other recognised islands “of exile” in the world.
Spinalonga was the setting for the award winning and best selling novel The Island by Victoria Hislop.
It is also featured in Werner Herzog's experimental short film Last Words.