Cut off by the White Mountains, the remote eparchy of Sfakiá was the cradle of the island’s most daring desperados, who clobbered each other in blood feuds but in times of need united to become Crete’s bravest freedom fighters. Now linked to civilization by a beautiful road, it still harbours dark tales of vendettas and honour killings.
From Vríses the road ascends the Krapí valley (prettier than it sounds) to the Lággos tou Katré, a 2km ravine known as the ‘Thermopylae of Sfakiá’. This was a favourite spot for a Cretan ambush, and spelt doom to 400 Turkish soldiers after the capture of Frangokástello (see below), and again in 1866 to a Turkish army fleeing south after the explosion of Arkádi.
Images by AWI, Maesi64, Marc Ryckaert (MJJR), Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho, Mireille Muggianu, Olaf Tausch, Tango7174, Tobias Mömke