Kalispera Greece Crete.

Ano Viannos and Amiras in Crete

Ano Viannos is located in southern Crete about 55 kilometres south of Heraklion, and about 24 kilometres west of Mirtos. It is a worn village built amphitheatrically with a very beautiful location. Ano Viannos is one of many villages in Crete that seems to have come to a standstill. Please make a break and go for a stroll in the village, some of the side alleys looks like backlots from the 1950s. There are several cafes and tavernas.


Ano Viannos in Crete.

Ano Viannos.



The village has a tragic recent history, and as often it is about World War II. Greek partisans had killed a large number of German soldiers in an ambush on September 12, 1943. Two days later, the Nazis returned, this time with a much larger force. About 500 people were massacred in Ano Viannos and in the surrounding villages as a reprisal for the killed German soldiers. Around twenty villages were destroyed, and in addition to all those murdered, many were injured, raped or taken hostage.


Amiras in Crete.

Amiras. The picture is taken from the memorial below.

The incident is called The Holocaust of Viannos and it went on for three days. Unfortunately, this horrible massacre is not particularly known in the surrounding world. In Amiras, about five kilometres east of Ano Viannos, stands a memorial dedicated to all who died during the massacre.

It is the most beautiful war memorial that I have ever seen, and the saddest. You really get something to think about when you look at these strange statues full with names of all who were murdered.


The Holocaust of Viannos in Crete.

The memorial of "The Holocaust of Viannos" in Amiras.


When I see memorials like this, I usually think of a quotation that can be read at the German war cemetery at Maleme west of Chania.

It runs as follows: Do not believe you have millions of enemies. Your only enemy is called - War!

More pictures from The Holocaust of Viannos are available here »


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