Frangokastello (also written as Fraggokastello) is an old Venetian castle on the south coast of Crete. The small seaside settlement around the castle bears the same name, as well as the wide sandy beach. No matter it is in Chania municipality, the closest large town is Rethymno, at about 55 km. Chora Sfakion is 15 km away.

The castle is on the beach and its outer walls and towers are well preserved. It was originally built in 1371 by the Venetians for protection from pirates. On 17 May 1828 a bloody battle took place, in which a local revolutionary leader, Hatzhimichalis Dalianis and his army of 600 warriors, were slaughtered by the Turks after one-week besiege. During this besiege the castle was almost completely destroyed but later reconstructed by the Turkish leader who took part in the action. This battle is the base of a legend for phenomenon which has been observed by many people since then, taking place only around this date. The phenomenon is called "drosoulites", literally meaning "dew men" or "dew shadows" because it is can be seen only for about 10 minutes at dawn and only when the weather is extremely moist. The drosoulites are black human shadows, either riding or walking in a line from the nearby monastery and going to the castle, after that disappearing into the sea. According to the legend, these are the ghosts of the fallen warriors of Dalianis. There are speculations that the phenomenon is some kind of a mirage but it has never been proven, neither documented.

The village itself is very small, it is a still developing holiday resort with a couple of hotels, houses and restaurants. The beach provides sunbeds and umbrellas but it never gets crowded as it is far from mass tourism. It slopes gently and the sea is very shallow many meters away from the shore. In the area there are other long and wide beaches, mostly sandy and shallow. The nearby Orthi Ammos beach is very unusual, with huge sand dunes which from a distance look like rocks.

highlights: old Venetian castle and beach on the south coast, village in Chania Region, Crete, Greece

Photos from Frangokastello
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Frangokastello photo gallery