This great writer was born in 1883 in Herakleion, and grew up there.
At the age of 6 he witnessed the 1889 revolution, and at 17 saw his country freed from the Turkish yoke. These heroic events in Cretan history influenced him greatly it seems: he makes many a reference to them in his writings. In 1908, at 25 years old, he had completed his legal studies and was poised to embark upon his career as a writer in the modern Greek idiom.
From his very first works, there are clear indications of his future substantial literary career. Influenced by Nietzsche, he translated his ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’. In 1912-13, he was to be found fighting in the Balkan Wars. Then, in the Interwar period, he travelled continuously, producing his important travel books, and also his translation of the Odyssey. After the Second World War, he wrote his major titles: Christ Recrucified, Captain Michalis, The Last Temptation, Zorba – and finished his work on the Odyssey.
In almost all his works, his love and admiration for the island of Crete and its people shines forth. He speaks of the ‘Cretan Eye’: their viewpoint, the way Cretans experience life, expressed in their daily deeds and spiritual questing.
The last years of his life Kazantzakis passed in Nice (France): on 26 October 1957 he died at Freiburg.
He was buried in his beloved Cretan soil. From his tomb on the Martinengo Bastion, high up on the Venetian walls of Herakleion, he surveys eternity.
More on the life and works of this great Cretan author can be learnt by a visit to the remarkable Nikos Kazantzakis Museum at Myrtia.
Furthermore a room in the historical Museum of Crete is dedicated to him: there are displayed some manuscripts and a few personal belongings.