In the heart of the Samaria gorge we meet the deserted village of Samaria which is divided into two neighborhoods. The Upper and the Lower Village. This village, completely isolated for centuries, was one of the most bizarre places that man tried to dwell. The even more surprising is that in this microcosm people from the one neighborhood did not speak to the other as there was an eternal hatred. The village declined and its few inhabitants abandoned it after the declaration of the area as National Park in 1962. In fact the village in 1961 was already almost deserted after a tragic event.
A young man from the family Kalogerakis was killed in the gorge while hunting. Samaria had already counted several victims in accidents because of the extremely wild environment and harsh conditions. After the death of Kalogerakis the village deserted, as people had already started migrating to other places. The family Kalogerakis owned the only olive oil mill where the inhabitants of Samaria grinded their olives. It is weird that the cliffs around the settlement housed around 2000 olive trees and we still see many of them (most of them have been "drowned" by the forest as the lack of human intervention completely changed the environment of the gorge. Over the years most of the old houses of Samaria changed their use; they turned to guesthouses, warehouses or first aid center. The mill of the village was converted into a museum.
The majority of the visitors by the thousands that every year cross the canyon are not aware of its existence. It's a shame but the building that hosts it remains locked for many people. The building of the mill has two floors and communicates with external and internal staircase. On the ground floor the visitor will see many of the parts of the mill for the production of oil which are mostly handmade and are among the few surviving samples of their kind remaining. Along with these tools we will see the tools of the daily life of people. Tools for beekeeping, agriculture, livestock or woodworking and more. There is also a special case with parts of antiquities that have been found in various excavations in the gorge. Upstairs host an old loom and the walls are full of old photographs depicting people of the area. The floor and the roof of the building is made of wood from local cypress and the same and a balcony.
Text - Photos Christopher Chiladakis