The Cretan dagger

shop in Chania

wiki: inherent part of the Cretan costume, the knife was a favorite one, not only as a useful tool, but also as an honored weapon during the difficult times of Crete. Since the Minoan era, the knife was a symbol of bravery. Its use does not differ much from the subsequent and modern. Evidence for this is the findings during excavations around the island

Since the Ottoman era, after 1669, the art of making knives booms in Chania. The first artisans were Turks, but soon appeared Cretan artisans who specialized and created exceptional examples of their art. Chania knife artisans (Maherades) settled right next to the ancient ruins, in the small ditch that used to separate Kastelli from the rest of the city

The traditional Cretan knife, with the shape that resembles an arrow, was the first made at the end of the 18th century, and is still made today. The production of hand-made knives proliferated on the island during the whole of the 19th century, and the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, modern technology has replaced the traditional, creative method used by Cretan knife-makers

Apart from being a cultural symbol, the Cretan knife also gained sentimental, practical as well as combative value since it was both weapon and companion to Cretan warriors during the 20th century. During the Macedonian Struggle, the Balkan Wars, the Campaign in Asia Minor, and even in the Second World War, the Cretan freedom fighters wore the Cretan knife tucked into their waistbands, as a symbol of bravery and the spirit of Cretan resistance when faced with invaders


The knife also gained social signicance, because it became associated with various traditions and customs, and even metaphysical value, as a way of protecting man from demons since beliefs bestow magical and supernatural powers on it. Even today, Cretan knife is offered as a gift at weddings and baptisms. The knife is also part of the male traditional Cretan outfit , and is tucked into the waistband, attached to a silver chain. The chain is decorated with a series of smaller chains that have small coins hanging from them. The coins are usually Greek or Cretan and are called kremastaria or flourakia. Apart from its practical daily use around the home, the Cretan knife is also a weapon of honor, value, bravery, a keepsake of friendship and symbol of Cretan gallantry

The reputation of the Cretan knife crossed the borders of the island, and reached not only the rest of Greece but also distant foreign countries. Desirable is that there are still, even a few, younger craftsmen who kept in their heart the art and artistry of construction of the handmade traditional Cretan knife and work with the techniques and tools required by the tradition and authenticity of a symbol…

~ more about the Cretan Dagger:

4 comments on “The Cretan dagger”

  1. Ass i said before Pelly. I learn a lot on your blog πŸ˜€ Ralph xox πŸ˜€

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