Leprosy might sound like a biblical affliction that just doesn”t happen in the modern age, along with the seas turning to blood and people being swallowed by whales, but it”s actually a real disease people have, even today.
Luckily, leper colonies are a thing of the past, especially since leprosy is now completely treatable. Yet Greece”s long-abandoned Lovokomeio leper colony, built in 1378, still stands today, albeit in a decrepit state. It”s frightening to think that even though it was built 637 years ago, the facility didn”t close until 1957.
The Lovokomeio colony, like other leper colonies, was built on an island, as it was thought this would protect the rest of humanity from the spread of the disease.
The colony sits on the Greek island of Chios, which was abandoned in the 19th century when the Ottomans slaughtered its inhabitants.
Medical equipment and personal belongings were left behind.
The colony was restored in the 20th century, with plumbing and the works.
However, it closed again in 1957 when treatment of leprosy became more available.
The Lovokomeio colony was the first leper colony in Greece.
Some who were sent to the colony did not have leprosy at all. Other skin diseases were often mistaken for leprosy, but doctors back then did not want to take the chance.
The stigma of leprosy has pretty much dissipated, as treatment is now readily available. Over 15 million people have been cured of the disease in the last 20 years alone. However, there are still hundreds of leprosy colonies, with most located in India.