Naval Battle of Spetses

Spectacular Spetses Armata Festival: Spetses is on FIRE!

    The island of Spetses lights up the sky every September in a dramatic reenactment of an important sea battle! Boats are burned and fireworks explode into the night sky as the islanders remember the courage and bravery of local heroes.

    This is one of the most significant events in the island’s timeline and takes place every year in the second week of September. The celebrations honor the Panaghia Armata (‘Virgin Mary of the ‘Armata’) and the epic Naval Battle of Spetses, which took place on September 8, 1822. On that day, the naval forces of Spetses, led by Captain Kosmas Barbatsis, set fire to and destroyed the Turkish flagship in the strait between Spetses and Kosta.

    The Armata Festival is a weekend dedicated to celebrating that momentous battle although the preparations begin well before that. Weeks prior to the festival, local boat builders start making a mock-up of a wooden boat in the Old Harbor. This is used as an effigy of a Turkish boat from 1821 and plays an important part in the Armata festivities, which begin on Monday.

    A week of music, theatrical performances, and shows can be enjoyed by adults and children alike before the grand finalé on a Saturday night. Around 9 pm, with the dancing and music in full swing, local boats illuminated by candlelight gradually make their way to the middle of the strait. Traveling from both sides, they meet in the middle, where the ‘Turkish’ boat sits waiting.

    Once all the boats are in position, the story of the epic battle is retold in Greek over a loudspeaker and the excitement builds when the story reaches its climax. As the music plays, a small fishing boat approaches the mock-up ‘Turkish’ boat and it suddenly bursts into flames. Fireworks are set off in a brilliant display, much to the delight of the cheering onlookers.

    As the sky lights up in an array of colors, the blazing boat illuminates the sea, creating a truly dramatic scene to behold.

    After the spectacle, the crowds make their way back to town or along to the Old Harbor, where the bars and clubs begin to fill with joyous revelers. The Armata also symbolizes the ending of summer, but there is always a promise to return next year to live the experience all over again!

    When is the Spetses Armata in 2023?

    When is the Spetses Armata Festival 2023?

    The Spetses Armata in 2023 is taking place between 8 September – 10 September.

    Have a look at what Spetses Armata Festival looked like in 2013:

    Photo above from visitgreece,gr

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