Archaeological Sites . Museums . Cultural Monuments Chania area

Venizelos Graves Chania – the lost Eleftheria statue

Venzilos Graves Chania - the lost Eleftheria statue
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Venizelos graves Chania, about 5 klm to the airport.

The remains lie sadly  in a corner of the garden of the graves of father Eleftherios Venizelos (1864-1936) and his son Sophocles Venizelos (1994-1964), both Prime Minister of Greece  in the 20th Century.

The Eleftheria Statue

In honor of Eleftherios Venizelos   and in memory of all the freedom struggles of the Cretans,  the Freedom Monument was erected next to the graves on the hill near Chania in 1937. It had a height of 20m carved out of marble resembling Athena,  and was called the Eleftheria (Greek for freedom) statue. It was the guardian angel over the city of Chania.

She stood there until 1970, when  the Greek Tourism Bureau decided to redesign  the entire hill. Originally, the monument should have been moved to another setting by means of a crane. But his probably all went wrong …. and the remaining parts of the Eleftheria  statue are nicely collected in a corner of the garden looking lonely and sadly up to the sky.

Spyros Kayales Statue on the grounds of the Venizelos GravesVenizelos Graves - Spyros Kayales Statue

Spyros Kayales – The rebel who turned his body into a flag staff. Dawn 1897; Crete is “simmering” by the atrocities of the Turks. The Cretans have decided to declare Union with mother Greece. The rebels barricade themselves in Prophet Elias, at Akrotiri of Chania, Crete and raise the Greek flag, which had been delivered to them by Konstantinos Kanaris, the first mate of the battleship “Hydra”, grandson of admiral Kanaris. Further to the Turks, they also have to face the reactions of the Great Powers (Italy, France, Austria, Germany, England and Russia), who start a fierce bombardment on February 1897.

One of the cannonballs hits and throws down the staff of the Greek flag. A third cannonball now shatters the staff and throws down the flag. Then, something incredible and unique happens: Spyros Kayales Kayaledakis grabs the flag and raises it by turning his body into a staff. As soon as the admirals of the united fleet saw through their binoculars that the Greek flag was once again flapping having a… rebel as staff they ordered cease fire in perplexity.
(source: www.kayales.gr)

 

The Venizelos graves are always worth a visit. The views of Chania and a clear view all the way to Kolymbari is wonderful;  on Sundays, there is service in the adjoining church “Profitis Ilias”,  and baptisms and weddings take place here often.

Useful information

Entrance free: none, best visit during daylight

 

Our tip:

Before the entrance to the tomb, 30m further towards Chania, there is the cafeteria “Ostria” with fabulous views. If one drives around behind the graves, one can enjoy a much larger café called  “Koukouvagia” (owl)  which boasts of unrestricted views over Chania. It is always worth a visit for lovers of sweets and pastries …. the millefeuille (and  other delights) are known throughout the city!  There is outdoor seating in both cafes. See Google map.

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