Spinalonga is an arid and barren rocky islet with an area of 8.5 hectares lying at the mouth of the natural port of Elounda in the Lasithi prefecture of Crete. Due to its strategic location, it was fortified and served a variety of roles and purposes over the centuries.
In 1903, a leper colony was established on Spinalonga, to isolate people suffering from Hansen’s Disease from the healthy population. The Leper Hospital remained operational until 1957, when the last 20 patients were moved to a leper hospital in Athens. Many others had recovered and gone home in the meantime.