Photographer's Note

Today is a great day for all Cretans. 140 years ago , on 8 November 1866, the most heroic act in the struggle of Cretans against the Ottoman empire, took place at Moni Arkadiou, Rethymnon, which since then has become the symbol of the neverending lust of the habitants of the island for freedom. I chose not to upload a photo from the beautiful Venetian baroque church of the monastery (one of the most well known "postcards" from Crete), but a photo from the surrounding buildings, where you can also see a sample of traditional Cretan architecture, not easily seen nowadays.

Some information about that heroic day, that I found in Wikipedia:

By the mid-1800's, the Turks had occupied Crete for more than two centuries, despite frequent bloody uprisings by Cretan rebels. The monastery of Moni Arkadiou became the rebels' headquarters, owing to its central position on teh island and it's strategic location.

There were 259 rebels in the monastery and 12 out of the 16 revolutionary committee's members. In addition to the rebels and revolutionary leaders, there were 700 unarmed women and children from nearby villages who were seeking refuge from the Turks.

On November 8, 1866, the Monastery was surrounded by 15,000 Turkish soldiers armed with 30 cannons. The Turkish commander gave Aboot Gabriel Marinakis an ultimatum, which was to either surrender or the Monastery would be destroyed. The ultimatum was answered by gunfire from the rebels.

After several days of fighting the Turks, by sheer weight of numbers penetrated the Monastery's walls. As they poured into the inner courtyard, where they fought a hand to hand fight with the rebels. The women and children seeked refuge in a gunpowder room where they decided it would be better to commit suicide than surrender to the Turks. Konstantin Giaboudakis set the gunpowder off and caused the explosion which killed the 700 women and children and several hundred Turkish soldiers.

The Greeks killed over 3,000 Turks and Egyptians in the battle.

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Additional Photos by Hercules Milas (Cretense) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5327 W: 74 N: 16998] (68709)
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