Leper Colony of Spinalonga (Kalydon)

leper-colonyFrom 1903, Spinalonga was used as a leper colony. At the beginning 251 lepers were transferred (from Crete). Previously, they were living in caves, away from the civilization.

The conditions on Spinalonga were tough if we consider that there was no proper medication and the virus of leprosy (Hansen’s disease) was contagious and not cured. After 1913 patients were coming from other places besides Crete, increasing the number of patients in 1000. Spinalonga became "International leper colony."

Initially, life was miserable. There was no organisation, no proper medication (although there was a doctor and small financial aid was given to the patients from the state), there was no hope. Despite all odds, the patients did not put it down and they developed a community with their own rules and values.

The situation begins to change from 1936, when a patient named Remoundakis Epaminondas arrived in Spinalonga, founded the "Fraternity of Spinalonga’s Patients" and struggled over the years that followed for better living conditions.

Patients were leaving Spinalonga from 1948, when the cure was found, until 1957. Those who were not cured were transferred in Hospital 'St. Barbara' Athens. Among them was Remoundakis.

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