Travel not to escape life but for life not to escape you
Leros (Λέρος) is a wonderful and usually overlooked island in the Dodecanese (Δωδεκάνησα) in Greece. It has a long history that starts in prehistoric times and played an important role during World War II. The Dodecanese islands, except Kastellorizo, were occupied by Italy during the Italo-Turkish War of 1912. Italian interest in the islands was rooted in strategic purposes and the intention to expand Italy’s long-range policy. The islands of Leros and Patmos were used as bases for the Royal Italian Navy. Especially during the 31 years that the Italians remained in Leros, they set up a great plan to transform the island into a fortified military and naval base because of its strategic position and its large natural harbours – the largest of which, Lakki (Λακκί), is one of the largest deepwater harbours in the Mediterranean Sea. The creation of a major base in Leros ensured that the Italians had control over an area of vital interest to the Allies that included the Aegean, the Dardanelles, and the Near East. Mussolini called Leros the “Corregidor of the Mediterranean” and considered the island a crucial aspect of the Italian domination.