Gramvousa tour: The pirate kingdomGramvousa, Greece
An adventurous self-guided audio tour in Gramvousa island with credible & original stories written by top local professionals. Take your tour now & enjoy it instantly on your smartphone device.
During the time of King Minos, the fleet of Crete secured peace on the high seas. Three millennia later, an inconspicuous corner of Imeri Gramvousa became a nest of bloodthirsty pirates, a kingdom of lawlessness where booze flowed freely, every house was full of plunder, and Virgin Mary was bribed to look the other way.
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In the 1820s an inconspicuous corner of Imeri Gramvousa became a nest of bloodthirsty pirates, a kingdom of lawlessness where booze flowed freely, every house was full of plunder, and Virgin Mary was bribed to look the other way.
1. The grand entranceA successful enterprise requires luck, money, organization, and lots of nerve. The destitute vagabonds on the rocks of Gramvousa combined all these elements and unleashed their fury on the high seas.
2. Wealth, blood and prayersPerched on the highest point on the island, Virgin Mary was called upon to handle the disparate desires of the pirates. Should she forgive them, punish them or join them?
3. The world ends with a fizzleNovember is not the only month available to those who envision a grand fiery spectacle with conspiracies and gunpowder. March is also ideal. But in any case, don’t go for the 5th.
Blood and gall
The grand entranceThe pirates adopted two methods of attack; either the vessel was plundered at sea or it was brought back to Gramvousa where the cargo, the rigging, the bedding, and the clothes of the crew were removed before the merchantman was turned out, with bread and water for three days. The pirates were also expert manipulators of public opinion in Greece and abroad. They would send small detachments to attack defenceless Turks on the mainland and then published their patriotic deed on foreign and Greek newspapers, along with urgent calls for victuals, gunpowder, and money to help them in their struggle against the Ottomans. Many a Philhellene was duped into sending them assistance.
The Virgin Mary of Thieves
Wealth, blood and prayersThe small church of the Virgin Mary was probably built in the 16th century. The pirates worshipped her with a devotion that combined the dishonesty of their profession with the superstition expected from those who face danger on a daily basis. They worshipped her under the appellation of Panagia Kleftrina (Virgin Mary of Thieves) and decorated her chapel with silver shrines and crystal chandeliers. They offered her one-tenth of their profits and called upon her to intervene with God to forgive their sins. Some of the priests were actively involved in piracy and the whole community seemed intent to enlist the Mother of God as an accomplish to their evil deeds.
The Cretan Guy Fawkes
The world ends with a fizzleThe British occupation led to a mass exodus of pirates. The guards were ordered to allow egress but no Greek was admitted, with the exception of Antoniades who was still viewed as an intermediate agent. The twelve prominent pirates tried to escape in small barks but were prevented by the vigilance of the Allied fleet. Unable to leave, they started spreading rumours that the British planned to hang every man on the island. Antoniades even hatched a plan to sink a mine under a building where the soldiers were quartered and blow it up. A small army of 700 to 800 pirates would then attack the rest of the guard while more men would prevent the landing of reinforcements and assist in the massacre.
The team behind the stories at Clio Muse consists of a dedicated long-haired art conservator, an inquisitive bespectacled historian, a passionate feminist curator, and a gifted graphic designer with a permanent tan.
|Address||Imeri Gramvousa, Kissamos, Chania prefecture, Crete|
|Starting point||Imeri Gramvousa|
|Opening hours||The castle is located on the island of Imeri Gramvousa and is open to the public only during the summer months.|
|Additional admission||The tour does not include the price of admission to the castle or the cost of the boat ticket that ferries passengers to the island of Imeri Gramvousa from the mainland.|
Why take a self-guided tour?
This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.
You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.
After downloading Clio Muse app, you can access this tour and activate it any moment you wish and also repeat it any time. To best enjoy our multimedia self-guided tour (comprising maps, video, audio and text) we recommend the use of headphones.