The ghosts of Cretan countryside


Crete is dispersed with settlements that were once abandoned because of urbanization or for some other reason, such vendettas, natural disasters, etc. Even today the walls of houses testify that life once existed there. It is interesting to refer to some of them.

Achlada village

Achlada is one of the nearest villages to Heraklion. Its name is taken after the wild pear tree called ahlada or agoutsakas that abounds here. 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 to a ghost village, despite its proximity to Heraklion.



During the Venetian era, according to oral tradition, left three rich nobles from Sitia and moved to the west end of Lasithi, in the province of Mirabello. Three they founded three small villages, one for each of them. Noble named Fiorentzis built the current settlement of Fioretzides by Lakonia. Demetzos (De Metzo) founded the village Agia Pelagia. Katrinis built Lousestro.


Nissi Settlement near Moundros

On the European hiking trail E4 connecting Alones to Agios Konstantinos, atop a hill near Moundros village, we meet the deserted settlement of Nissi. Its remaining collapsed houses depict that this place has an important past. Among the dilapidated houses, there survives the church of Saint George, while a few meters away there is the church of Panagia Nissiani.



Kolokasia is a deserted village of Sfakia province, near the exit of the gorge Asfendou and near the village of Agios Nektarios. Its inhabitants mainly abandoned it because of its isolated position and moved to Agios Nektarios. Today most of the houses are dilapidated and some have been restored by some Germans who bought the ruined houses and restored them. The houses are a live sample of the simple traditional architecture of Sfakia.



Near the villages of Episkopi and Mourtzana, in a lush green valley, we still see the ruins of the houses and the watermills of the village Mousses or Moussi. In this village we meet the five watermills that took advantage of the abundant water of the area for grinding grain of the surrounding villages. The mills operated till the 1950s, when the modern technology surpassed the traditional way of grinding. Thus, the millers who saw their job diminishing, had to leave this wonderful place and seek their future elsewhere.


Amygdalos at Asterousia Range

At the range Asterousia to the south of Heraklion prefecture and just before reaching the village Paranymfi and the waterfall of Ambas we meet Amigdalos. The name of the village (almonds in Greek) is taken after the wild almond trees around. Amygdalos was a separate village to Paranymfi but due to the very short distance they seem like two neighborhoods of the same village. Today it has a few elderly residents and remains almost deserted.


Saridakis settle at Rotasi

Throughout the island of Crete we meet several deserted villages and settlements. One of them is the deserted Metohi of Saridakides just above the village Rotasi in prefecture Heraklion, on the road that ascends to Ethia. The settlement of Saridakides is one of mong the most picturesque of Crete with small stone houses where the residents lived during the season of agricultural works in the area.


Amigdali near Kalo Horio

It is located on the hillside that stretches above Kalo at province Merambelo, to the north of the Monastery Faneromeni. Because of fear experienced by locals during the German occupation, they were forced to leave the fertile plain of Kalo Chorio and to climb up the barren mountain where they felt safer.


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