History

The oldest traces of habitation of Crete, located in a cave of Sfakia namely to 'Skordolakia' in the mountain village Asfendou. The cave is located on a steep slope near the road from Asfendou to Kallikratis. Basically consists of one room, which was previously larger. This small cave has immense archaeological importance as 1960 engraved Paleolithic cave paintings were discovered on the floor near the entrance on a sinter plate. It seems certain from the theme and the way that the rock art engraving included in prehistoric times, and more particularly belong to the Neolithic and architecture dating from about 7500 to 8500 years, making them the oldest trace of habitation on the island.

There are figurative carvings, depicting deer or antelope, Bow and arrow, spear, spear, ship and twig. There are also abstract carvings, linear and tectonic, and others made from small engraved dots. These rock paintings showing the existence hunters in Sfakia mountains, who were either older than the Neolithic, or survived in Neolithic times, isolated, continuing a tradition of millennia.

The region of Sfakia first mentioned during the Arab raids on Crete. After the conquest of Crete by the Saracens Arabs in 824 AD, Sfakians refused to declare allegiance and organized in their own autonomous community with their own power that they called senate. During the campaign of Nikiforos Fokas for the recapture of Crete Sfakians offered him important services and reinforced the siege of Candia (Heraklion), who fell on March 7, 961 AD After the victory of the Byzantines, Emperor Nikiforos Fokas Sfakiots allowed to keep their local governance and granted them privileges.

During the second period of Byzantine rule in Crete (961-1204 AD), the island went through a peaceful period. Sfakia commander was the nephew of Emperor Scordilis Marino, who came to Crete together with nine of his brothers. and their families. The territory of family Skordyli posits Askyfou, until the area Fragokastelo. The largest city of the territory of the family Skordyli was Anopoli.

In 1204 after the first of the Byzantine Empire, Crete became a Venetian control where he remained until 1669. During this time there were at least 27 revolutions in Crete. Most of these sprang from the area of the White Mountains, the area where acting Sfakians. In recorded over 13 uprisings between 1207 and 1365. In the period 1669-1898, Crete passed into Ottoman control. At that time began to be potentiated the Orthodox realm of Russia and the Greeks began to turn their hopes to the Russians. The pursuit of the Russians to get out to the Black Sea led them quickly into conflict with the Ottoman Empire. Before the Russo-Turkish war 1768-1774 Russia sent agents to the Peloponnese and the islands in order to stir up the local population against the Turks.

One of these agents met with Cretan chieftain John Vlahos, commonly known as Daskalogianni and motivated him to start revolution. Although the Cretans were not ready for such a venture hoping for help from the Russians started the revolution in 1770, when he appeared in the Aegean fleet Alexius Orlov. The Cretans finally left helpless by the Russians to deal with the Turkish army, who quickly managed to quell the revolution. Daskaloyannis delivered and executed in Heraklion under torture and after being flayed alive before his brother because he refused to betray his people. Sfakians although suffered extensive damage from the failed revolution of 1770 managed to regroup and reappear strong at the outbreak of the revolution of 1821. In the revolution of 1821 involved almost since its inception and thanks mainly to their own forces, they managed to keep the revolution in Crete until 1830.

Half the almost military strength of the Cretan revolutionaries came from Sfakia. In 1828 arrived in Crete General Chatzimichalis Ntalianis in order to rekindle the revolution on the island. In March 1828 arrived in Sfakia where he was greeted with prices. Soon moved against the Turkish army corps from Heraklion. The Ntalianis preferred to face in Fragokastello, ignoring the advice of Sfakian urged him to fight in the hills. In the battle that took place at Fragokastello on 17 May 1828 the Greek rebels were defeated and most were killed. Then the Turks turned against Sfakian was entrenched in the highlands.

The main battle took place in the valley of Koraka where Turkish body had huge losses and fled. Sfakians participated in the revolutions of 1841, 1858 and 1866-1867. After the liberation of Crete and its integration into the Greek state in 1912, the area of Sfakia was county, then province, and from 1998 an expanded township.

Map of Sfakia

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