The island of Spinalonga (Greek: Σπιναλόγκα), officially known as Kalydon (Καλυδών), is located in the Gulf of Elounda in north-eastern Crete, in Lasithi, next to the town of Plaka. The island is further assigned to the area of Kalydon. It is near the Spinalonga peninsula ("large Spinalonga") – which often causes confusion as the same name is used for both. The official Greek name of the island today is Kalydon.
Originally, Spinalonga was not an island, but rather a peninsula of Crete. During Venetian occupation the island was carved out of the coast for defence purposes and a fort was built there. The Venetians harvested salt from salt pans around the island. Later in the mid-20th century, the island was used as a leper colony.
Spinalonga featured in the British television series "Who Pays the Ferryman?" and Werner Herzog's experimental short film "Last Words". It is the (unnamed) setting of Ali Smith's short story "The Touching of Wood" (in "Free Love and Other Stories", 1995). It is also the setting for the 2005 novel "The Island" by Victoria Hislop, the story of a family's ties to the leper colony; the book was adapted for television in the television series "To Nisi" by Mega Channel Greece. The short story "Spinalonga" by John Ware, about a tourist group that visits the island, was included in the 13th Pan Book of Horror.
This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.