Sfakia (Chora Sfakion)

Sfakia, Crete

Around 74km south of Chania is the small village of Chora Sfakion (Sfakia). This enchanting seaside village is located midpoint in a hidden cove surrounded by countryside renowned for its remote wilderness.

This lonely and rugged terrain is said to be a reflection of the character and personality of the people who reside there. Renowned as plucky and free-spirited, the residents of Chora Sfakion made a living from the sea and became sailors and commercial traders. Sfakia has many links with heroic periods throughout the history of Crete and the village has a good few mansions dating from around 300-400 years ago as testament to this history. During the times of the Venetian occupation the village became a centre of financial development and saw its population increase to around 3000 inhabitants.
It was at this point that its fortress, Castelli, was constructed and where the local Venetian governor took up residence. In 1770 there was a rebellion against the Turkish occupation and, although unsuccessful with the townsfolk being drained in blood , the people of Chora Sfakion did not admit defeat and continued to fight the Turks at every opportunity.

This brave perseverance was still evident when, during the Second World War, on 31st May, 1941, the small port of Sfakia was used  with the support and assistance of the villagers as a point of escape from the island by soldiers from Australia and New Zealand who had remained behind after the main allied forces had gone. Sites to visit whilst in Sfakia include the Church of Panagia of Thymiani, the village of Komitades and the legendary Fragocastello.