The southwest transverse wall of the settlement and the Carbonana Gate ©Ephorate of Antiquities of Lasithi

The Carbonana Gate

The Gate owes its name to Spinalonga’s garrison chief, Rafaele Carbonana, while it is also referred to as the Gate of the Plain (Portello del Piano). It was built at the beginning of 1586 and is the main entrance to the second fortification zone. The main path of the fortress passes through it.

Its form is simple but particularly imposing, with a large arched opening on its inner north side. The Gate has preserved old plasters with decorative motifs with a trowel, while Venetian coats of arms are engraved on its arch, a non-so-common pattern. On the arched door frame, part of an emblem in the centre and part of an inscription of the Ottoman period on the left can be seen in red, which were whitewashed during the Leper colony era to write the inscription: Kaffeneion Romanzo [property] A. Lesiotis, which refers to one of the two cafes that operated on the islet and was located near the Gate.

Photo Gallery

Exterior aspect of the Carbonana Gate in a photograph by G. Gerola in 1901. ©Vikelaia Municipal Library of Heraklion, Archives Department, G. Gerola Collection

Northern aspect of the Carbonana Gate. ©Ephorate of Antiquities of Lasithi.

On the arched door frame of Carbonana Gate and under the layer of quicklime with the inscription that refers to the cafe of the Leper Colony era, part of an emblem in the center can be seen in red as well as part of an inscription on the left, possibly related to the local janissaries living on the islet. ©Ephorate of Antiquities of Lasithi