Best time to visit Crete

Drosoulites of Frangokastello Castle in Crete

Have you ever seen a mirage? This one is so real that it has confused people for hundreds of years

Best time: late May–early June

Drosoulites of Frangokastello Castle
Drosoulites of Frangokastello Castle
Drosoulites of Frangokastello Castle

Frangokastello is one of the most visited places of the Crete island. It is popular for its unique architecture, the Venetian castle and fascinating legends. The castle of Frangokastello was built in 1371 right on the beach to protect the settlement from the pirates. It is mainly known for the battle with Turks in 1828. During this battle, 600 Greeks fought against an army of Turks, which counted over 8000 soldiers. The battle lasted for a week. In the end, Turks lost 800 soldiers, and 335 Greek warriors lay dead along with their leader. Their bodies stayed unburied until the high wind from the neighbouring beach of Orthi Ammos brought sand and covered them.

Since that horrible event every year around the anniversary of the battle a strange phenomenon appears near the castle. At the damp, in the morning mist, a mirage of walking human figures can be seen on the beach. The procession of men in black armour is walking, marching and riding from the ruined Church of Agios Charalambos to the castle. These are believed to be the spirits of the Greek soldiers. When they reach the sea, the vision disappears. It usually lasts for ten minutes or so and disappears with the first rays of the sun. Lots of locals have seen this vision and call it Drosoulites. This mirage is so real that in 1890 a Turkish army opened fire on the vision.

During the World War II, there was a similar situation when a German patrol shot at the Mirage procession. This phenomenon usually appears from the end of May till the beginning of June. It's not that easy to capture the mirage, so if you are lucky to witness it personally, let us know!

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Frangokastello Castle in Crete?

Frangokastello Castle, Crete's renowned attraction, mesmerizes visitors with the Drosoulites mirage, which appears beautifully in late May-early June. The mirage is formed due to specific weather conditions which may last for only ten minutes. Explore the castle, appreciate its architectural design and history while enjoying the serene view of Libya sea. Frangokastello Castle is best-known for Turkish-Greek war in 1828, a significant event in the Greek War of Independence. Show more

Where is Frangokastello Castle located on the island of Crete?

Frangokastello Castle, a magnificent fortress mimicking Klontzas' architectural style, stands tall in Sfakia municipal, southern coast of Crete, overlooking the mesmerizing Libyan Sea, making it an unparalleled tourist destination. It's only reachable by car and is located miles away from Chania city. The castle is a historical monument reminding visitors of Greek's independence war, adding to its alluring simplicity. Show more

What is the significance of the battle between Greeks and Turks at Frangokastello Castle?

The notorious struggle between Greek and Turkish armies in 1828 at Frangokastello Castle, known as the Battle of Frangokastello, became a historical milestone in the Greek War of Independence. Both sides fiercely fought for a week, with the Turkish army outnumbering the Greek army. The battle ended when the Turkish forces took over the castle. The spirits of Greek soldiers who lost their lives in this battle reappear annually, leading to the mirage folklore Drosoulites. Today, the legendary event and the spirits of the fallen Greek souls are forever memorialized and revered. Show more

How long does the Drosoulites mirage usually last?

The Drosoulites mirage is a rare phenomenon and can only be observed early in the morning for about ten minutes, right before the sunrise. The mirage is a product of the specific weather condition combined with the morning mist, making the vision incredibly enchanting for visitors. Capturing this vision with a camera has been a herculean task, significantly contributing to the perception of the mirrored images' otherworldliness. Show more

Have any armies mistaken the Drosoulites mirage for real soldiers and opened fire on them?

During World War II, German troops, unaware of the Drosoulites mirage, spotted the vision and thought it was a Greek army. They opened fire at them, not knowing that it was a natural phenomenon. They swiftly realized their mistake after firing rounds of bullets at unreal targets. A Turkish army made a similar mistake in the 1890s, and since then, the mirage has become part of the islanders' popular folklore, giving it a unique element that draws tourists annually. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin