Ottoman Era


In the 17th century, after the Ottomans stabilized the possession of Constantinople, they targeted new conquests. Crete soon came to the center of their expansionist policies, because of its strategic position in the Mediterranean.

After fierce battles, the Ottomans managed to occupy the cities of Chania in 1645 and Rethymnon in 1646. However, the last stronghold, the Grand Castle of Candia, remained under the Venetian rule until 1669, when it fell after 21 years of siege. The Fall of Candia was the beginning of a sorrowful period for the Christians of Crete.

The occupation of Crete by the Ottomans soon led locals to numerous revolutions. Especially, the liberation of "Mother Greece" in 1821 rekindles the hopes of Cretans for freedom. After the Great Cretan Revolution of 1866-69, in which the holocausts of Arkadi monastery and Lassithi Plateau took place, liberation seemed closer than ever. However, it took another few hard years before the autonomy of Crete and the Union with Greece came true in 1898 and in 1913 respectively.

The 21-year long siege of Candia by the Ottomans (1648-1669) is the longest siege in the world history.

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