Kallikratis (Greek: Καλλικράτης) is a small village in Sfakia municipality, southwest Crete, Greece. According to tradition, it was named after the admiral (droungarios) Manoussos Kallikratis, who in March 1453 led a campaign to reinforce the defense of Constantinople with 5 ships and 1500 Cretan volunteers. As reported by Sphrantzes in his Chronicle, these volunteers manned three towers on the walls of Constantinople and continued to fight bravely even after the city had fallen. In recognition of their gallantry, sultan Mehmed allowed them to safely sail back to Crete, retaining their weapons.
The road from Kapsodasos to Kallikratis (*)
Kallikratis is situated off the beaten tourist path and is made up of four widely separated neighborhoods that are scattered on a small plateau in Lefka Ori with an average altitude of 540m. It can be reached via Myriokefala, Asi Gonia or Asfendos, or via a recently paved road with more than 25 tight hair-pin turns, which starts in Kapsodasos and offers stunning views of the Frangokastello plain and the Libyan Sea in the distance. Kallikratis is also on the E4 walking route. Kallikratiano (i.e. Kallikratis') gorge starts southwest of the village and ends in the village of Patsianos, maintaining important natural habitats. The gorge can be crossed on a 4 km path. Kallikratis is uninhabited during the colder months of the year, since during that time the local shepherds move with their herds in transhumance to the warmer climate of the villages near the shore.
Kallikratis never lived under permanent foreign rule and its residents have a long tradition of participation in fights for freedom. In 1770, the village was destroyed during Daskalogiannis' revolt against the Ottoman Empire. In 1867, during the great Cretan revolution, Ottoman forces under the command of Omar Pasha unsuccessfully attempted to invade Sfakia from Kallikratis. At the beginning of the twentieth century, several villagers voluntarily took part in the struggle for Macedonia between 1904-1908  . During the first months of the Axis occupation of Crete, the resistance organization AEAK was headquartered at the house of Colonel Andreas Papadakis in Vourvoures, a location between Kallikratis and Asi Gonia. Later on, the resistance operated a radio station hidden in the Anemospilios cave which is located near the Lampronas plain between Kallikratis and Asfendos. In his book The Cretan Runner, George Psychoundakis reports to have stayed in that cave during the spring of 1942 and to have been fed by Kallikratians.
In reprisal for the local participation in the resistance, the Jagdkommando Schubert, which was a paramilitary force with links to the Wehrmacht under the command of Sdf. Fritz Schubert, surrounded Kallikratis on October 8, 1943. The inhabitants were dragged from their homes and herded to the church, threatened with death upon disobedience. Some men were shot outside their homes after refusing to comply with orders. Around 30 civilians were executed in total, most of them in the churchyard under the eyes of their families. Women and children were held hostage and later expelled from the village, whose houses were looted and then set ablaze. Nevertheless, several men who had slept outside the village as a precaution, managed to escape safely.
The family of Kostas Mountakis, one of the most celebrated Cretan music artists, originated from Kallikratis. On Sep. 5th 2008, a Cretan music night dedicated to his memory was held in Kallikratis.
During summer, a couple of coffee shops and tavernas serving local specialties are open in the area.
^ Από τις παραλειπόμενες άγνωστες επετειακές σελίδες Κρήτης - Κωνσταντινούπολης, Πατρίς onLine, 29 Μαΐου 2006
^ FILOTIS - database for the natural environment of Greece
^ Γυπαράκης, Ανδρέας. Κρήτες Μακεδονομάχοι 1903-1908, Αθήνα 1976.
^ Μάντακας, Γιάννης. Μακεδονικός Αγώνας 1903-1908, Χανιά 2005.
^ Psychoundakis, George. The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation, John Murray, 1955, Penguin Books, 1998.
^ Beevor, Antony. Crete: The Battle and the Resistance, John Murray Ltd, 1991. Penguin Books, 1992.
Kallikratis gorge photos & videos
Car commercial for which Kallikratis gorge provided the setting
Kallikratis from e-sfakia.gr (in Greek -- translate)
German occupation of Crete: Kallikratis (in German -- translate)
Kallikratis, pictures of the village
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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