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Spinalonga is a small Island next to the Town of Elounda, at the northern Entrance of the gulf of Elounda. The maximum length in north- south direction is about 440m, 250m width in the southern part of the island. The highest elevation reached about 50m.
The venetians built a fortress on Spinalonga in the 15th century, respectively a hugh fort. In 1715 the turks conquered the fortification. About 600 christian inhabitans were deported by the turks and muslims began to settle.
Spinalonga was used as a leper colony from 1903 to 1957. With the foundation of the leper colony, the muslim inhabitans had to leave the island.
Leprosy was in that time a dangerous and incurable disease, also highly contagious. At peak times there were more than 1000 lepers on the island. 8 years after the first effective leper drugs were found, in 1953, the leper colony was unnecessary and dissolved.
Today Spinalonga can be visited by tourists on a day trip. The Island can be reached by boat from Agios Nikolaos and Elounda, also from the small village of Plaka.