WWII German Observatory

Krithina mountain, Laconia, Greece, 2016

Altitude  approx. 480m

Photography: Panagiotis Vletsas

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This observatory (locally named “Το Έργο”) had been constructed during WWII under German commands, on the top of mountain Krithina, SE of village Velanidia, Laconia, Greece, mainly by the villagers of Monemvasia and Velanidia.

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It provided unobstructed view of the Myrtoan and Kytherian seas.

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Germans set up facilities for the communication/signaling to their battleships and aircrafts [1,2]. The observatory is considered to have been played crucial role to the Battle of Crete and Libya.

Slideshow of the ruined buildings.

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Slideshow of the surrounding area.

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A short interview in form of memoirs of a fourteen (14) years old boy at that time can be reviewed in Greek language here [3]. Main points are summarized as follows:

The commander, probably Austrian, was named Silis. The military force of fifty (50) men consisted of all branches, airforce, navy and army.  The observatory guard force exchanged regularly via seaplanes which ditched in Panagia, while the officers and the technicians where permanently established therein and/or at Velanidia village.

In the time of Germans withdrawal, their ship attacked by insurgents. As a result the German Command established in Monemvasia ordered the execution of seven (7) villagers from Kastania and another seven (7) villagers from Velanidia. Finally, due to the valuable attestation of a wounded rescued German soldier to his superior officers, the execution canceled.

Slideshow of the interior of the main building.

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Name acronyms and dates are engraved on the entrance walls of the main building.

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In order to visit the ruins of the observatory, marked hiking trails can be followed. Any effort will be rewarded by a breathtaking panorama view including the Myrtoan Sea, islands of Cyclades such as Milos, Falconera, up to Idra etc and even mountains of Crete in optimal ambient conditions.

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The WWII German Observatory has been declared as a Historic-Cultural Monument by the council of Monemvasia municipality [4].

Sources/links:

[1] Knickebein, German Radar System
[2] Luftwaffe radio equipment
[3] http://velanidia-baladis.blogspot.gr
[4] http://www.capemalea.eu

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