Deserted villages of Crete


Achlada village
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Achlada is one of the nearest villages to Heraklion. Its name is taken after the wild pear tree called ahlada or agoutsakas that abounds in the area. Ahlada is built on top of a fortified hill above the bay of Agia Pelagia, in an area with a wonderful climate. After many years of continuous habitation Ahlada has almost transformed into a ghost village, despite its proximity to Heraklion. Almost the entire western part of the village and the core consists mainly of deserted houses. While walking through the very narrow streets of the village one can easily understand that the village was built like a fort so as to defend against attacks, especially by pirates.

Almost all the habited houses are situated on the east side of the village below the imposing two-aisled church of St. John and St. Tryphon with the carved iconostasis. The reason that the village was deserted was the rapid growth of the beaches of Agia Pelagia and Lygaria, that belong to the periphery of the village. The development of tourism motivated the villagers to migrate to the sea and become in a few years tourism businessmen. This, unfortunately, led to the deterioration and the destruction of the beachfront area. Just outside the village, there is the old village fountain, one of the most impressive of all Crete.

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