armata_ship armata_boats armata_spetsiot
armata_explosion ship_fire armata_firework
ship_explodes armata_celebration spetses_festival
spetses_fireship spectacular armata_september

The 'Armata' festival takes place on Spetses in early September each year. This commemorates a sea battle which took place on September the 8th 1822 when the combined navies of the islands of Spetses and Hydra fought off an attack by the navy of the occupying Turkish forces. There are various historical interpretations of what actually happened on the day; the victory by the Greeks though was undoubtedly important in maintaining the momentum of the Greek revolution which had started a year earlier.

All the pictures are in sequence here and as usual, clicking on any image will bring up an enlargement

A week of events climaxes in a 're-enactment' of the sea battle. A replica galleon representing the Turkish flagship is moored offshore and the local boatmen act out the roles of the opposing forces in a sort of marine ballet with lots of fire and noise.

Eventually, a small group of local boatmen in traditional dress representing a Spetsiot Fireship row out to the flagship and throw a flaming torch on board. This part is shown in the third picture... the rest is pretty much self explanatory. The rowers needless to say try to make sure they have enough energy left to get away in time!....

And as the boat finishes exploding, the finale is a spectacular firework display around the harbour.