June 5, 2018
Anogia is a small town in Mylopotamos municipality, 52 km from Rethymno city at an elevation of 700-790 meters, on the chine of mound Armi.
Its name translates as “upper floors” and is due to the location on which it is situated. Thanks to the steepness of the land of Psiloritis and the rebellious spirit of its inhabitants, Anogia has always been on the forefront of liberation struggles of Cretans against various conquerors. It was conquered by the Turks in 1648 and constituted a monastery village, dedicated to the mosques of Valide Sultana, while it has also served as a revolutionary center. In May 1822, the Anogians defeated the Turks, under the leadership of Vassilis Sbokos. This triumph triggered the looting and burning down of the village by Serif Pasha on July 14, 1822, when its inhabitants had left it in order to fight at Messara. This was the first holocaust of Anogia, while two more holocausts ensued. A few months before the Cretan Revolution of 1866, a meeting was held in Anogia for the election of the chieftains of Eastern Crete. In the same year, three Anogians were included among the warriors killed during the holocaust of Arcadi, which deterred Seriz Pasha from occupying the region in a heroic way. In 1867, Omer Pasha occupied Anogia, and in November 1867, Resiz Pasha burnt down the village for a second time, only 45 years after the first holocaust. The inhabitants of Anogia also took part in the revolutions of 1878 and 1897, as well as the Macedonian and Epirot Struggles. During the World War II, the Anogians were among the first to participate in the resistance against the Nazi conquerors, creating armed groups in cooperation with the Allied Headquarters of Middle East, under the leadership of Ioannis Dramountanis (Stefanoyannis) who was executed by the Nazis on February 12, 1944. As a culmination of the resistance of the Anogians, the village was totally destroyed in August 1944. The third holocaust of Anogia began on August 13 and lasted until the end of the same month. At Armi, the central square of the village, there is an inscription bearing the order of the German commandant of Crete, which ordained the destruction of the village. German soldiers began mobbing Anogia on August 13, 1944 and initiated the gruesome task of executions, looting and destruction. Men and boys had fled to the hide-outs of the rebels and the inaccessible gorges and caves of Psiloritis. A great part of the non-combatant population found shelter in neighboring villages and survived thanks to the solidarity of their inhabitants who hosted whole families for years, in harsh conditions. Nowadays, Anogia is part of the Network of Martyred Towns and Villages, “Greek Holocausts”.