//
// //

// // // //

// // //

The Sfakia

The region of Sfakia is located in Western Crete, more specifically in the south of Chania Prefecture. Its size is 472 square km and it is the most mountainous area in Crete. It takes up the biggest part of the "Lefka Ori" (White Mountains). It was named after the ancient Greek word "sfax", which means canyon. There are 15 canyons in the whole region of Sfakia, the most famous of which is the renowned Samaria canyon.

The villages which are inhabited nowadays are the following: Askyfou, Imvros, Asfendou, Kallikratis, Argoules, Skaloti, Fragokastello, Patsianos, Kaspodasos, Nomikiana, Vouvas, Vraskas, Komitades, Chora Sfakion, Loutro, Agia Roumeli, Anopoli, Agios Nektarios and Agios Ioannis. It is the most historical region in Crete and its modern inhabitants have a lot of reasons to feel proud of their place of origin.

During the Byzantine period, volunteers from Sfakia, under the leadership of Manousos Kallikratis, armed three ships and went to Istanbul to defend it against the Ottomans. During the Venetian domination, Sfakia was the centre of many insurrections. The most glorious moments in the history of Sfakia were during the Ottoman domination. It was the only area in Crete which the Turks never inhabited due to the morphology of the terrain, the wild, haughty and unyielding character of its inhabitants and their perfect war skills. While the rest of the Crete was enslaved by the Turks, Sfakia became a rich area thanks to shipping and trade. The inhabitants of the area, having the economical means, have supplied with guns all the insurrections since 1770, in 1821 and all those that followed. Their bravery, magnanimity and their profound faith were proved in the insurrection of Daskalogiannis in 1770, when, although they were free and their economy was flourishing, they decided to declare war in order to liberate the enslaved Crete from the yoke of the Turks. Their contribution was also important to the Macedonian and the Hepeirotian struggle. Tsontos Vardas from Sfakia became the leader of the Macedonian struggle when Pavlos Melas died.

The inhabitants of Sfakia are considered to be legitimate descendants of the Dorians and even nowadays they have their special body features. They maintain their patriarchal morals and all the customs related to birth, christening, wedding, death, celebrations and feasts and their love for freedom. They are famous for their hospitality and their love for their area. Stock-raising is still the main wealth-producing resource, with products of excellent quality, along with bee-keeping, fishing, shipping and olive culture. During the last years, tourism has been developed greatly. The Samaria canyon attracts thousands of foreign and Greek tourists every year.

á