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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Union of Crete with Greece (Ένωση Κρήτης με την Ελλάδα)

There is a land called Crete in the midst of the wine-blue sea,
a beautiful and fertile land, seagirt; in it are many
people, innumerable, and there are ninety cities.
Language with language is mingled together. There are Akhaians,
there are great-hearted Eteocretans, there are Kydones,
and Dorians in their three clans, and noble Pelasgians.
[Homer, Odyssey 19, lines 172 - 177]
We visited the former mosque in the old harbour last night, to see an an exhibition of schoolchildren's drawings depicting their understanding of the Union of Crete with Greece: this was my daughter's contribution.
Since the Myceneans invaded Crete (around 1400BC), the local population became Hellenes, and the Greek language has always been spoken on the island, while people's names have generally been recognisably Greek in nature. But Crete has had a very muddled history of governship - depsite her obvious Greekness, she has been ruled by various cultures:
67BC - the Romans got her
330AD - the Byzantines got her
1204 - the Venetians got her
1669 - the Ottomans got her
1830 - the Egyptians got her
1840 - the Ottomans got her back
1898 - Crete is a self-governing state
1st December, 1913 - Crete is united with Greece
A 1913 picture representing the Union of Crete with Greece. Greece is represented by the blue colour, while Crete is bronze, an aptly chosen colour, given the amount of sunshine our fertile earth receives.
And in 2013, she is still part of Greece, constituing her biggest and southernmost part - the island of Gavdos, south of Hania, is in fact Europe's southernmost point.

After the exhibition, we took our reading material and went to the rooftop cafe 'ΘΕΑ' for a view out to the harbour (you can just make out the lighthouse on the left) where we enjoyed a very large cup of delicious very hot chocolate.
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