Greece is honoring the sacrifice of nearly 1,000 Cretans who took their own lives at the Arkadi Monastery during the Cretan Revolt of 1866 on a 2016 circulating €2 coin.
Greece’s latest coin memorializes the 150th anniversary of the Arkadi Monastery destruction when locals blew themselves up rather than be taken as slaves of the Ottomans.
The monastery provided refuge to 943 Greeks, mostly women and children, during the uprising. After three days of battle and under orders from the abbot of the monastery, the Cretans blew up barrels of gunpowder, choosing to sacrifice themselves rather than surrender.
The front side of the coin shows the monastery with inscriptions bearing its name and the country name in Greek. The reverse carries the common European map design.
The 12 stars of the European flag appear on both sides of the €2 coin.
A total of 750,000 coins were issued and are slowly making their way into circulation in Greece.
Each nation is allowed to issue up to two different circulating commemorative designs annually, with designs of their choosing.
Previous Greek commemorative €2 coins have included one bearing the likeness of marathon winner Spyros Louis, Greece’s 150th anniversary of the Union of the Ionian Islands and the 400 Years since the Death of El Greco.