Friday, January 28, 2011

Leper Colony Turned Tourist Attraction: Spinalonga

The infamous Spinalonga, the Greek islet used as leper colony until 1962, will reopen as a tourist attraction on weekends, following an initiative by the local municipality of Agios Nikolaos on the island of Crete.

Spinalonga (officially called Kalydon) was suddenly risen to prominence after the highly successful dramatization of The Island, Victoria Hislop's best selling novel.

Hislop decided to turn down very lucrative offers by Hollywood producers to turn The Island into a film because she feared that a non-Greek adaptation would be untrue to the book.

The story unravels when a young archaeologist from London decides to unearth her mother’s well-hidden secret in her native Crete. When she arrives in the little village of Plaka opposite Spinalonga, she learns that her family was torn apart by the struggles of war and the stigma of leprosy.

Local authorities stressed that the unexpected popularity of the televised series (which recorded unprecedented viewing figures) also increased the interest of visitors. Opening the island to the public on weekends is expected to boost the local economy.

For more information on the fascinating history of the island, visit:

Source: Greek News Agenda

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