Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou attended on Sunday the commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the naval battle of Lepanto at Nafpaktos, western Greece.
Lepanto was the Venetian name for Nafpaktos. The Venetians held the city throughout the 15th century, until it was conquered by the Turks in 1499. Except a brief Venetian rule from 1687-1699, the town was part of the Ottoman Empire until Greece’s independence in 1830.
The Battle of Lepanto, on October 7, 1571, pitted the Holy League (the Spanish Empire, the Republc of Venice and other Italian states) against the Ottoman Empire. It resulted in a resounding victory for the Holy Alliance, and is considered the end of the Ottoman Empire as a dominant naval force in the Mediterranean.
“The naval battle of Nafpaktos is one of the great moments of world history,” said Ms. Sakellaropoulou after the eulogy and the laying of a wreath at the Venetian Port of Nafpaktos.
“The defeat of the hitherto invincible Turkish armada by the allied fleet of the Christian states of Europe, 450 years ago, stopped the Ottoman penetration in the Ionian and the western Mediterranean, a decisive event for the West and of great symbolic significance for the subjugated people,” Sakellaropoulou said.
“It also highlighted Greek naval prowess, since many crews included Greek sailors, and was the starting point of the great development of Greek shipping. We honor the self-sacrifice of the Christian troops and the heroism of the Greeks, who with their participation in the naval battle proved their firm commitment to the idea of freedom,” she added.
Sakellaropoulou then visited the town’s Fethiye Mosque and saw the photography exhibition “Miguel de Cervantes or the longing for life” by photographer José Manuel Navia.