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Frangokastello Chania: Frangokastello is one of the trademarks of Crete and one of the most visited places of the island. It is situated 80 km south east of Chania town, on an arid plain, surrounded by beautiful mountains.
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The beautiful coastal settlement is famous for the Venetian castle and unique architecture. Some excellent restaurants can be found around the castle as well as many accommodations and idyllic sandy beaches with clear shallow waters, really ideal for children.
The imposing castle of Frangokastello was built by the Venetians in 1371, right on the beach, as a protection from the pirates, and from the regular revolts of the locals against their authority. The famous Battle took place in 1828 during the war of Independence against the Turkish yoke. The Cretan troops, led by Hatzimihalis Dalianis, sought refuge in the castle, and the Turks besieged it for seven days.
During this siege, the leader (Dalianis) and 350 of his men died. Locals managed to help the troops and to force the Turks to retreat and let the men exit the castle. Afterwards, the Turks demolished a part of the castle and left towards north-east where the locals were waiting for them. All the Turks were slaughtered.
Since this terrible event a strange phenomenon is taking place on the day of the anniversary of the Battle of Frangokastello, on May 17th. At the break of dawn, a long procession of visions of men dressed in black, with shining weapons, walking and riding, is marching from the ruined Church of Agios Charalambos to the castle.
When the procession reaches the sea it disappears at the first ray of the sun. This phenomenon is called Drosoulites and last for about 10 minutes. Many explanations have been made, among which one believes the vision to be a mirage coming from Africa. The mirage is so real that, in 1890, a Turkish army took the procession for real rebels and opened fire on them. The same thing happened during World War II with a German patrol that also shot at the vision.
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