The statue of Cervantes in Nafpaktos: Could it be that a European writer is honored in a small Greek town? Indeed, the statue of Miguel de Cervantes surprisingly stands in a park near the port of Nafpaktos in order to commemorate the participation of this great novelist into the sea battle of Nafpaktos, also known as the battle of Lepanto. This battle took place in October 1571 and was decisive for putting an end to the Turkish naval supremacy.
Miguel de Cervantes was a great Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. At the time of the battle, he was 23 years old and was serving the Spanish infantry. Although Cervantes was taken down with fever, he refused to stay below and decided to take part in the battle, saying that he would rather die for his God and his king rather than hide under the blankets. During the fight, he got three gunshot wounds: two in the chest and one in his left arm, which paralyzed and was cut off. Cervantes used to say that he lost his left hand so that he could glorify his right hand, making, of course, a reference to his literary work. Many of his military experiences are recorded in his famous novel Don Quixote.
His brave fighting in the battle of Lepanto granted him this imposing iron statue, in which he is looking at a feather he is holding up with a proud gesture, as a representation of his distinguished literary work. The inscription above the statue says Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), a Spanish soldier, a genius of letters, honor of humanity, wounded heroically at the naval battle of Nafpaktos.