The Turkish tower of

Vamvakades

Vamvakades Koules
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At the wider area of Kandanos, the Ottomans built four towers with loopholes to protect themselves from the rebels. Traces of one tower are still preserved above the village of Vamvakades, while the towers at Anisaraki, Nychteriano and Koufalotos have not survived at all. The tower of Vamvakades was built at an altitude of about 1040 m., being the tower with the highest altitude in Crete.

Due to the excellent fortification of Selino province by the Ottomans, Selino and Sitia were the latest strongholds of the Turks on Crete. Thus, in order the Greeks of the province to start resisting to the Turks, when the Commissioner Tombazis arrived in Crete in early 1823, he gathered a whole battalion of Cretans against Kandanos.

The Ottomans then found shelter in these towers. Apart from the locals, there were also about 1000 soldiers (250 in each tower) and the rebels started besieging them closely under the commands of Tombazis. The Ottomans fought bravely and successfully defended the successive attacks. Ultimately, however, under the strong pressure they started preparing for secretly leaving the towers at night. They abandoned their towers and started hiking to Chania. Tombazis ordered the Greeks not to harm them, but the rebels surrounded and massacred them at Sembronas position. Still, more than 2000 Turks managed to escape and survive.

Furthermore, Kandanos was a theater of a strong conflict during the Revolution of 1866. Mustafa Naili with 12000 soldiers arrived at Kandanos so as to help the local Ottomans, who were besieged by 5000 Greeks. Under their protection, the Ottomans fled towards Chania via the passages of Kakodiki. However, on the way they were beaten by the rebels and suffered major casualties. This is actually when Kandanos first emptied by the Ottoman population.

A similar event took place in 1897. The Ottomans had fled back to the towers of Kandanos and the rebels besieged them closely. This time the Great Powers helped the besieged Ottomans and moved them to Paleochora and then by boat to Chania.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Fortress / Tower
  • Peak Period: Ottoman Era (1669 - 1898)
  • Accessibility: Walking
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