Sights - Chania Prefecture
the coast at Agia Marina, 10 km west of Chania, is the island of Agii
Theodori, often referred to as Thodorou. According to tradition, the
inhabitants of the area were awakened one night by a an infernal noise.
The went down to the beach to find out from where the noise came, and here
they saw the island come barging directly towards them. They prayed to
Virgin Mary for help and she stopped the island by petrifying it.
Antiquity the island was called Akytos, but it was later named after its
Agios Theodoros church where a saint's
held on the 8th of June - which is also the only day admission to the
island is allowed.
1583 the Venetians built two small fortresses on the island - one to the
northeast and one to the southwest - from where they were able to watch
the entire bay outside Chania which was frequently attacked and ravaged by
the Venetians fortified the island, the pirates used it as a base for
their attacks on merchant ships approaching Chania.
largest of the fortresses (southwest)
commanded 3 cannons and was manned by 40 soldiers. The smaller one had 2
cannons and 25 soldiers.
|When the Turks in June 1645 landed very large quantities of troops and materials near the Gonia monastery at Kolymbari, the island's Italian captain Giulio Vlasis gathered all the soldiers, the cannons and the materials on the south-eastern fortress. But the very same night, the Turks managed to land troops onto Theodorou under cover of the darkness.|
The beach at Kolymbari
dawn the Turks attacked the fortress at the same time as their navy
bombarded the confined Venetians. When the Venetian captain at midday had
to realize that all resistance was in vain, he set fire to the powder
barrels so the entire fortress blew up. The explosion not only killed the
surviving Venetian soldiers but took along also 500 Turkish soldiers to
their death. It was like an omen of the horrifying destruction of the
Arkadi monastery 220 years later.
|In 1930 Theodorou was assigned to the municipality of Agia Marina which in co-operation with Chania's hunter's association made the island into a nature reserve.|
|In 1935 Thodoros Viglis caught a kri kri (wild goat) in the Samaria gorge. The goat was released on the preserved island together with two she-goats so that the endemic goats were able to breed without intervention.|
|The island has later supplied goats to many of the zoological gardens in the world because the animals are purebred in contrast to many of the goats still living freely in Lefka Ori which are often mixed with domestic goats.|
soon it emerged that the first population was so
few in number that the goats became "intermarried" and this
caused small changes of the original species. So the population on the
island was increased in order to prevent further inbreeding.