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Our Area (Spili-Crete) PDF Print E-mail

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Spili, capital of the municipality of Lampis, is situated in the centre of the county of Rethymno, at the central road axis going from north to south, 27 km from Rethymno city, 25 km from the southern beaches of the county (Ag. Galini, Plakias) and at an altitude of 450m. It is built at the foot of Vorizis mountain (930m height) that took its name from its geographic place, that is to say rooted north.

There are a lot of versions for the origin of the name Spili, but most likely comes from the many caves (Spilies in Greek) that are found in the region around the village and mainly from the cave that is found in the north-western quarter of the village, in the region Peristeres. It is said that in the cave was a miraculous picture of Virgin Mary painted on a rock, which is sadly lost today.

The population of the village with the adjacent settlement of Dariviana, which in olden times was once part of the same community, is about 900 permanent residents which increases considerably during the summer months.

Spili is an ideal place for summer-time holidays. It belongs in the privileged villages that have many spring waters. In the centre of the village, in the square with the two age-long plane trees, is found the kefalovrysi as the villagers call it. It is a row of 25 fountains formed like lion's heads, from the mouths of which flows the water. There are many ideas about the origin of the 330 m3 of water that flows each hour from the kefalovrysi. It is believed that they emanate from sources above in the Psiloriti mountain, while other versions show that it is likely they come from somewhere far away and underground. A characteristic trait of this iron-rich water is its constant temperature the whole year, which is 13 Co.

The rich vegetation of the village is also helped by the trout-filled river that is found to the south, approached via a path of high natural beauty. One of the sights of the village are also the traditional watermills, one of which is still operating. The European Union footpath E4 20 Spili – Gerakari (relatively difficult ascent 18Km) passes from the country church of the Holy Spirit through the verdant olive groves to the north.

The residents of the village are mainly farmers, stock-breeders and tradesmen, but the last years many, mainly young villagers, deal with tourism. Because of its role as the capital of the Lampis municipality, Spili has many services. They include a bank, post office, telephone office, National Electrical Company, police station, county court, health centre and a conference centre in the seat of the bishop. Visitors are served by hotels, tavernas well known for their quality, a lot of quiet cafes , and many shops selling gifts and local craft work.

The village has been known by the same name since the period of Venetian domination, when it was comprised two separate settlements (Panohori and Perahori) but it certainly existed a long time before that. This is testified by churches with Byzantine murals of the 14th century that are found in the region of the millage (Saint Theodoros, Saint Georgios, Metamorphosis of the Savior, Virgin Mary). The Christian devoutness of the villagers is demonstrated by the many churches in the village, 21 of them, including the beautiful modern church of Saints Peter and Paul that it was built in 1962 and it is the cathedral of the village. Exepptional is also the temple of Ag. Rafael, its congress centre and the adjacent buildings, which constitute the residence of the Metropolitan Bishop of Lampis - Sivritou and Sfakion.

The proud spirit of the people of Spili and the love of freedom that posses them, has appeared many times in the history of village. On a hill to the south of the village, in 1790, Giakoymis Tsouderos decapitated two Turkish janissaries who had arrived uninvited to destroy a wedding ceremony. In June 1821, with the start of revolution, there was a battle at the place called Kapsales with the Ampadiotes Turkish, which were killed by the Spilian rebels. The villagers also played an important part in the revolution of 1866. Moreover many villagers have given their life in all the struggles of the greek nation (Balkan Wars – Near East - Albanian Lines). During World War II, the attendance of the villagers in guerrilla war was big. Despite this, the village was not destroyed by the occupying forces, older villagers say that this was because a senior German officer protected the village, he had fallen with his plane and the villagers provided him with medical treatment without knowing who he was.

There are many important artistic personalities originating from Spili, among the most important are the teacher of Cretan music Th. Skordalos, the lyra player Kalogridis and the great dancer Stamatis Papadakis.

 
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