Hora Sfakion

A brief history of Hora Sfakion, South Crete.

Crete (Κρήτη) is famous for its beauty and popularity amongst tourists. One area that receives a large amount of attention is the Sfakia (Σφακιά), which has a history that complements the stunning surroundings. The invasions from foreign threats throughout the years has built a strong reputation for this area. It is a courageous, powerful land where the locals are warriors. They protect themselves, their people, and their land with everything that they have. They have proven that few can force their way into their homes. The entirety of Sfakians has proven its strength, of course, but Hora Sfakion (Χώρα Σφακίων) has played a vital role in its success. This is a small village, which has only a few hundred inhabitants and covers a small amount of land. Its size was never an important factor in victory, though.

During the time of Venetian rule over Crete, the locals were unhappy. There were constant uprisings and rebellions, both widespread and local. These uprisings brought about a large amount of pain and bloodshed, but there was no stop. They did not want the Venetians to have power over them. The battles that started over this control took them all across Crete, including the area of Hora Sfakion. This was a powerful stronghold during the battles.

The same applies to Turkish control over Crete. Any time a force took power over them, the locals had fought to protect their land and keep the foreign invaders out. In every situation, Hora Sfakion was a main stronghold. It provided both strength and defense during the battles, helping to keep out invaders. Locals that set up around this village were able to keep out anyone who tried to put up a battle. One of the reasons for this is simple: The surroundings. It is the location of Hora Sfakion that has made it a strong defensive position in Crete during times of war and uprising.

Hora Sfakion has the White Mountains and rocky beaches bordering it. When invaders come in, they have few options for easy entry. The locals understanding the area, having an ability to navigate it, and having a defensive position made it easier for them to succeed. The invaders, the Turks and Venetians, could not get through the rocks nor the mountains. Due to their inability to pass into Hora Sfakion, they had trouble regaining power throughout their control. It was one of the most troubling aspects of the battles for these invading forces.

While there were struggles, Hora Sfakion did do well during the years it was not attempting an uprising. Over the hundreds of years of control, much of it was in peace. The locals were able to build churches, improve trade, and build up their economy. Their abilities and strengths grew during these years. It remained a small village, but it had continued to add on to its beauty and capabilities. The people had more power, more options, and more money. Up until recent battles during World War II, this village had incredible size and strength. It is now starting to rebuild, too.

The Battle of Crete during World War II hit Hora Sfakion. Bombs and soldiers littered the land, bringing with them destruction of the buildings that had stood for hundreds of years. It was a sad moment that hit hard on all sides. The locals, alongside Allied Forces, fought against the Nazis that threatened the land. During later stages of the battles, even the locals with no experience in battles stood up to protect their land. Their actions show that the bravery of the locals, their pride and love of the land, never died. They would always fight to protect their home.

In recent years, Hora Sfakion has grown. Tourism has had a major impact on Hora Sfakion economy too, becoming one of the top sources of income alongside local trades. People flock here for the views and history, to take it all in with wonder and amazement. The White Mountains, beaches, small shops, and sun soaked streets provide a unique experience that tourists adore. Combined with the culture, it easily brings in tourists from around the globe. This boost in its economy has led the way for growth and rebuilding, allowing this small village to regain its beauty.

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