Stone mining quarries on the peninsula of Spinalonga. © Stelios Mich. Manolioudis

Venetian engineers and local craftsmen

The fortifications of Spinalonga are brilliant examples of the genius of the Venetian engineers but also the remarkable skill of the local craftsmen. Despite its financial problems, the Venetian state shows significant interest and spends an exceptionally high amount for their construction. But what contributed to their preservation until today is their excellent construction quality.

The design and construction of the fortress is assigned to the engineer Genese Bressani. The initial works are personally supervised by the Governor General of Crete, Luca Michiel. At the same time, the supervision is then taken over by important Venetian officials, who already have a lot of experience constructing fortresses in other parts of Crete and even give their names to sections and fortifications of the fort of Spinalonga.

The hard limestone of the islet and the soft sandstone (ammouda) extracted from the eastern side of Spinalonga and the adjacent peninsula are used as reconstruction materials.

About a hundred people of different specialties, a local workforce consisting of quarrymen for the extraction of stone, master craftsmen, artisans, masons and carpenters, work daily to build the fort, being paid according to their position in the production process. Residents of the Sitia and Ierapetra regions are also working, performing their mandatory work (corvée) according to the current regulations of the time. For the quarrying of the stone, they bring experts, even from the area of Chania, who have worked on the construction of the fortress of Souda. Stones are hewn, lime kilns are built, and soil suitable for infills is transported. Today's red soil on the islet was brought for this purpose. The Venetian naval force helps with the transport.

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