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Title: Elafonisi  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Crete, Artemis (island), Greek War of Independence, Agioi Theodoroi (islands), Nikolos
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Native name: Ελαφονήσι
Southeastern coast of Elafonisi
Elafonisi is located in Greece
Elafonisi (Greece)
Archipelago Cretan Islands
Area 1.5 km2 (0.58 sq mi)
Region Crete
Regional unit Chania
Population 0 (as of 2001)
Vehicle registration ΧΝ

Elafonisi (Greek: Ελαφονήσι "deer island") is an island located close to the southwestern corner of the Mediterranean island of Crete, of which it is administratively a part, in the regional unit of Chania. When the weather is fine it is possible to walk to the island through the shallow water. The island is a protected nature reserve.

Elafonisi beach

Greek War of Independence

At the highest point on the island there is a plaque that commemorates a tragic event. On Easter Sunday of 24 April 1824 several hundred Greeks, mostly women and children, were killed on Elafonisi by Ottoman soldiers. To avoid advancing Turkish Ottoman troops, forty armed men had taken refuge on the island with women, children and old folk where they were waiting for a ship to take them to the Ionian Islands. The Ottoman soldiers had decided to camp on the beach opposite the island. One of their horses walked along the shallow water to the island and the people hiding on the island were discovered. According to several sources there were between 640 and 850 people in total, most of whom were killed and the remaining survivors were sold into slavery in Egypt.[1][2][3]

Shipwreck of the Imperatrix

A large wooden cross commemorates a shipwreck from 22 February 1907. It was an Österreichischer Lloyd passenger steamer, called the Imperatrix. Due to strong northwest winds 38 people died in a lifeboat that tried to reach the shore. They were all buried on the island. The Imperatrix still lies on the seabed in front of the island's cliffs and was the reason that a lighthouse was built on an island hilltop.[4]

The lighthouse was destroyed during the Second World War by the occupying German troops.[5]


Elafonisi island in the distance from the coast of Crete.
Chrysoskalitissa monastery.

On the mainland the 17th century Chrysoskalitissa Monastery is approximately 5 km (3.1 miles) from the island.

See also


  1. ^ Website of local Kissamos, Mythymna and Inachorio (Greek)
  2. ^ newspaper of 17 August 2007Ta NeaArticle in (Greek)
  3. ^ , S.200Walking in Western Crete: 45 walks in Kissamos and SelinosAlan Hall: (English)
  4. ^ – The WreckImperatrix (English)
  5. ^ Kissamoslive ( (Greek)

External links

See Chania Region for maps

  • Municipality description
  • Chania rent a car description
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