Leros Italian Fortifications

The Italian Fortifications in Lakki, in Leros: The Italians occupied all of the Dodecanese islands from 1911 to 1912. In 1912, the island was seized by the Italian battleship San Giorgio, during the war between Italy and Turkey. A new town, Porto Lago, was created in the 1930s, under the watchful eye of Mussolini and with it the now-infamous Italian Rationalist art-deco architecture and streets wide enough for military parading.

Later the Greeks renamed it Lakki. In fact, the Italians tried very hard to actually Italianize the island but the response of the inhabitants was to declare the autonomy of the islands under the title The Aegean State, with the aim of reunification with Greece.

The Italians remained in Leros for about 35 years and they had a great plan for the fortification of the island and to build it as well. Its strategic position and its physical form with its large natural harbors along with the fortification of Leros and the creation of a major naval base at Lakki, meant that the Italians were able to control over an area of vital interest to the Allies, the Aegean, the Dardanelles, and the Near East.

Leros was now a crucial base for Italian domination of the eastern Aegean believed Mussolini and he went to the extent of building a mansion for himself in the town of Porto Lago now Lakki. The War Museum of Leros opened in Merikia, near Lakki in September 2005. This museum is inside an old tunnel that had been constructed by the Italians during the Second World War. There are several artifacts from the battle of Leros including guns, helmets, bombs, uniforms and many photos.