The small island that stands like a guard at the entrance of Souda Bay. In the northwestern side, at a distance of seven VENETSANOU steps, another small island almost round, refers to Venetian maps Island of rabbits. In ancient times these islands called Leykai because Sirens "dysforousai (for the victory of the Muses) paddles shoulder miscarried, and Leykai genomenai into the sea enevalon se, hence c ... Islands Leykai" (Steph. Byzantium).
Before you take refuge in the island was a monastery of Ag. Nicholas and therefore called Fraronisi. Following fortification, named Souda Bay from the name. On the largest island, which has a height from the sea 14 feet Venetian, the Venetians built one of the most important fortresses of Crete to protect the bay from enemy and pirate ships. In this the latest fortification art had been applied to not the Turks were able to understand and remained under the rule of the Venetians half a century after the conquest of Crete, so had become the refuge of the persecuted patriots of Crete until surrendered to the Turks Treaty 1715 (crete. Chron. I ', 26). But they were unable to protect the bay from enemy ships that come and go unhindered from the southern mouth of the bay.
It began to be built by the Venetians in 1573 in an effort to enhance the defense of the port. The project itself does not solve the security problem. The military experts were asked to perform other complementary defense works in strategic positions.
The island is connected with the Cretan history and the Cretan struggles for liberation, because throughout the duration of the Turkish occupation the island was under Venetian administration was a refuge for persecuted revolutionaries. On this first raised the Greek flag on February 1, 1913 (before the formal union of Crete with Greece). After the Second World War under the control of the Greek navy as part of the wider port defense planning. Planting trees on the island which lacked devoid of vegetation was in 1966 by the Navy.
After several years of persistent and methodical efforts, realized a long-standing demand of the local community and the islet of Souda released from military custody. In late spring 2007 allowed the activation of the traffic in cooperation with the Naval Base of Crete, the 28th of Byzantine Antiquities and the Municipality of Souda, twice a week. The transfer is from the pier of Souda and return to it.