Chania Venizelos tombs

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Location: Akrotiri

Only 5 km from Chania Town, on top of the hill Froudia, there are the Tombs of Venizelos, i.e. the tombs of Eleftherios Venizelos and his son, Sophocles Venizelos, two great politicians of Greece. On the tomb of the former, a speech written by himself in 1932 can be seen, which says the following:
“This dead man was a real man of courage and confidence, both in himself and the people he was called to govern. He may have made a lot of mistakes, but he never lacked bravery; he was never a fatalist since he never relied on fate to make his country progress, but dedicated all the fire that burned inside him to serve this country with all his strength, both mental and physical.”

The Venizelos Tombs are a really important historical landmark. A visit there will not only bring you closer to Greek and Cretan history but will also give you the chance to admire an outstanding panoramic view of the whole city of Chania. Gazing at the sky from up there is a truly relaxing and peaceful experience. Plus, if you go at the right time, you can even watch the breathtaking sunset. Below, you can find a cafeteria where you can sit and enjoy a drink or dessert.

Eleftherios Venizelos is among the most prominent political figures in modern Greece. Born in 1864 in the then Turkish-occupied Crete, he took an active part in the revolutionary movements of the locals for the liberation of Crete and in the negotiations with the Turks. He served the Greek State as prime minister 7 times and died in 1936, self-exiled in Paris.

The Cretans have deep respect for Venizelos, whose personal efforts in the early 20th century made Greece double in territory and set the foundations for a modern social state. Venizelos himself had asked to be buried on this spot in Crete, east of his family house in the quarter of Chalepa in Chania Town, with a great view of the town, the Aegean Sea, and the White Mountains.

Right next to the tomb of Eleftherios Venizelos is the tomb of his son, Sophocles Venizelos (1894–1964), who was also prime minister of Greece for three short periods of time between 1944 and 1951. Although not as impactful a leader as his father, he was active in politics for nearly three decades before dying of a heart attack in 1964.

In memory of this last revolution, the statue of fighter Spyros Kayales, or Kayaledakis, was erected close to the tombs. During the great bombardment of the Cretan revolutionaries by the fleet of the Great Powers in February 1897, Kayales used his body as a flagpole in order to hold the Greek flag, which had been shot down by the shells. This action, represented in the statue, probably moved the Great Generals, who at that moment ordered a ceasefire.

Near the tombs, you can find the Monastery of Prophet Elias, a Venetian chapel established in the 16th century. At the bell tower of this monastery, the Revolutionary Camp of Cretans was assembled and raised the flag of the last Cretan revolution in 1897.



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