Stacks Image 3179
.

.
KALAMI, A VILLAGE BUILT AND ABANDONED
.

Stacks Image 75066

Satelite image from Google Maps,
.

Stacks Image 63819

.

Stacks Image 74723

First house in Kalami, below is the village.
.

In southeast Crete, up in the mountain’s, is a small village who’s only living creatures appear to be some semi wild dogs, at least regarding to the sounds of barking. The houses in the village are new, no antique Greek touristy buildings. Small cubic boxes. Window frames are made of aluminium and there are tv-
.

antennas on the roofs. Inside you will find radio cassette players. Some kitchens are equipped with dishwasher’s and laundry machines, here it was an ordinary Greek life. What’s surprising is that the village seems to be hurriedly abandoned.

.

-
Stacks Image 3188

All houses seemed to have a staircase to the roof
.

A VILLAGE ARISES
In Crete, in the old, not very good times, hundreds of years ago the Greeks built their coast cities as labyrinths to make it harder for intruders and pirates to invade. Then as well as now, it is the Turks that are the evil part. The mismatch between Turks and Greeks has been rooted since biblical
times. When labyrinths weren’t

.
times. When labyrinths weren’t enough as protection, Villages up in the mountains were erected, where the Turks couldn’t reach them. The ordinary daily works, fishing and trading still took place at the coast but could be abandoned if life and health was at stake.
.

Stacks Image 74839
Stacks Image 74841

.
.

Stacks Image 74843

Stairs up, to admire the view.
.

Stacks Image 3194

In the approximate middle of the picture you find solar panels and some textiles drying in the sun. There is life in Kalami.

.
The coastal guards act, ring the warning bells and shout out that pirates are on their way. It is time to escape up to the mountains. To secure a safe escapeway from attackers and to be one step ahead, if the attackers follow you, the road is prepared.

The enemies will meet falling stones and logs and if you were well prepared you have built some devilry along the road, if some intruder intend to follow you. When the pirates robbed
what they wanted in the lower village you could go back
.

.
what they wanted in the lower village you could go back and continue your trading and fishing.
Myrtos is the name of a minor village on south coast of Crete and from there is a small road up to the mountains where someone once built a small village, the name of the village is Kalami. If it was built by inhabitants from Myrtos, I don’t know, might be another village, but at least the road connections make it probable. Let’s assume it is the historical village that built Kalami.
.

Stacks Image 1555

.

Stacks Image 74861
Stacks Image 74866

.

Stacks Image 2978

The streets, or rather the alleys, are often covered like tunnels. It protects against the sun in some places. The roof terraces between the houses are combined and one gets the impression that the neighbors were close together when the roofs lacked the fence between the terraces.
.

On a troublesome road 400 meters up in the mountains, more than ten kilometres to go, the people from Myrtos, with a lot of effort created the new village safe from pirates, no matter where they were coming from. The daily business was still on the coast, when the intruders did leave, and you were able to go back after the occupation.

But when a whole coast village does have an extra village to flee to, the communications are hard and troublesome, new business will undoubtedly appear on the new place up in the mountains. Bakery, trading, shoemakers, priest, farmers and further on, public administration. Almost everything else needed for a working village was soon doubled. Nobody needed to safely commute regularly, so soon there was two societies consisting of siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles.

Stacks Image 74868

.

Stacks Image 74870

The village workshop. Cars did not fit on the alleys, but scooters, mopeds and bicycles for sure needed maintenance, even in Kalami. Where you also could get oil filling.
.

.
The old, not very good times later became better times. Pirates were gone and the coastal plundering ceased. Both villages lived on, developed and modernized. The next generation need in their adult ages somewhere to live. Old houses were demolished, new were built. Most of the time, life at the coast is to prefer and is particularly less isolated, especially if you live on an island.

.

Stacks Image 74766


.

Stacks Image 74772

Regard to the population in the village, church visits must be high. The church is the village's only renovated house. It looks pretty poppy.
.

Stacks Image 74901
Stacks Image 74903

The village is located on a hillside which was used. The alleys use the stairs of the houses to move on to the next floor and continue, often in a different direction than the floor level above or below.
.

Stacks Image 74905

No problem jumping from one roof terrace to another
.

Stacks Image 74926

Cassette tape recorder if anyone remembers these? They were used almost to the end of the 1980s before the CD disc killed the analogue, if someone remembers the CD?
.

Stacks Image 74932

In the kitchen were pills, with contents left in the jars. What medicine was good for, or good against? Do not know. What was on the label was pure Greek to me
.

Stacks Image 75101

On a chair lay a new or freshly stretched shirt and waited for the Sundays visit to the church
.

Stacks Image 75110

and in the closet hung the jacket, waiting for the party. Above, the photo on the kids.
.

Stacks Image 74944

.
TWO VILLAGES LIVES ON, BUT
Now move forward in time a bit. The post war generation got another view on the world, even on Crete. If you don’t have a TV at your home, there are enough TVs in the village to make an impact on the new generation of young TV viewer’s, and their perspective on most of the things. In modern times with the start of WW2, the population in the higher village begins to move back down to the coast, building new houses and getting jobs at the coast village. In this specific case, one new
.

.
.

attractive business area is strongly growing, the tourism.
First the Greeks from the mainland and the larger cities come, later on airports are built and the charter package tourists makes the Greek archipelago to live it up during the summer season. The coast villages and coast cities became more and more attractive for the younger generation, here, there is money to earn.

.

Stacks Image 74956

Hard to know what is basement or what is floor.
.

Stacks Image 74958

This slightly older castle-like building style has been modernized, when more floors were needed.
.

Stacks Image 74725

.
THE STOP OF THE RETURNEE
The year is 1967, the month is April and the Greek military makes a takeover from the democratic government in Greece. For seven years Greece will be a military dictatorship. Greece will be boycott as a tourist destination and it is less attractive being a tourist on a place where you find uniformed soldiers in every street corner. In such situation a distant mountain village is more attractive for the inhabitants than a brisk city at the coast with a lot of uniformed soldier’s, who in a typical dictatorship way are paranoid and frequently asks for
passports

.
.

passports and “your papers”. The control of citizens was more intense at the coast where people can move or are able to take ferries to abroad. The freedom or at least the experienced freedom was for sure greater up in the mountain’s compared to the coast. The returnee downwards was stopped, the self-supply increased, and if you in any case were in trouble with the military it was better to be 400 meters up in the mountains than down at the coast.
.

Stacks Image 74973

You can jump between the houses, or climb, if you trust that it is strong enough.

Stacks Image 74975

.
THE FINAL EXODUS
1974, after seven years of dictatorship, Greece became a chaotic but working democracy again. The tourism sped up, the northern European charter airlines fill up the hotels and beaches. Now there are a lot of Nordic Crowns, German Marks, French Frank and British Pounds pouring in. Many more companies come to grow grapes and olives up in the mountains. In the same way as the northern European urbanization took shape, inhabitants were attracted to move to the cities for a better life on the coast. People were not only attracted by foreign investors and banks that invested in new hotels, another very important power in this process was the Greek membership in to the European Community EC
1981, fourteen years before Sweden.

.
.

1981, fourteen years before Sweden. Now the gate is wide open for tourist income, -on the coast.
The younger people moved the older stayed, the public services decrease and when the priest left his life on earth and the village. The only ones left, are the ones who are not able to move away.

Sources from Internet, which means not totally reliable, says that two families have moved back to Kalami and with them some loudly barking dogs. The priest in the village, from what I can tell, is the itinerant type who is pastor for more than one church.
.

Stacks Image 74991

.

Stacks Image 74989

here I got a scolding by a village resident
.

Stacks Image 74993

RETSINA ARMANTI the label tells, the bottle was unopened. And an exercise book in English
.

Stacks Image 75001

This is the village center for the house further to the left with blue gate must be the…
.

Stacks Image 75008
Stacks Image 75006

.
SEPTEMBER 2018
My visit in Kalami starts with an escape from the beach in Myrtos. The Korean rented car struggled up the winding roads 400 meters above sea level.

To escape here in the old days with donkeys and on foot must have been a daylong trip. Donkeys do not have a button with the letters AC and they give maximum two horsepower, an ordinary horse gives
approximately 4,5 horsepower and a lot of these 4,5 hp are consumed moving the horse itself.

.
.

of these 4,5 hp are consumed moving the horse itself. Horses do not have an AC button either.
The first thing I saw after parking outside of Kalami is a priest or what a Greek orthodox god’s deputy is called. He greeted and then went on to his car and disappeared. The only sign of life I saw, a God’s deputy driving away from the village, similar to the introduction to a scary horror movie or a Monty Python film.
.

Stacks Image 75010

Town Hall! or the administration, here are both election booths, a gavel, various stamps (Greek) and binders with incomprehensible papers. The village's public administration.
.

I felt a bit intrusive when I went into what was meant to be the main street through the village. This was Kostas and Aristoteles block. The doors to the house were open, the vegetation had taken over. Some houses were more freshly painted, other houses not at all. The most decayed houses lacked windows, and some had rooves collapsed. The silence was apparent, every step felt like I was intruding to those who no longer lived there. One more step and the silence is broken, I don’t see them but two dogs barking,

broken, I don’t see them but two dogs barking, sounds like big ones, nothing I want to meet here alone. I sincerely hope it wasn’t wild dogs, such dogs may be uncomfortable to get acquainted with, they would like to taste everything that moves. Some steps ahead and I saw the beasts, not that large, not so scary, actually pretty small, but in the total silence these midsize pets sounded like beasts.
.

Stacks Image 75017
Stacks Image 75020

.

Stacks Image 1591

The climate allows you to clean and shave outdoors most time of the year
.

Stacks Image 75024
Stacks Image 75034

.

Stacks Image 75027

2002 21st Februari?

I kept walking, and after 25 meters the dogs stopped barking. Now I have seen three living creatures, one priest and two dogs un-sympathetic towards me. A hundred meters later the street ends and so does the village. On my way back, I turn left on the next little street. All houses are of the same kind, small boxes, external stairs to the rooves and overgrown gardens. The views from here are magnificent, to the north are high mountains and to the south the mountains are falling away and even further away is the Mediterranean Sea. Everywhere, vines grow at the cracked facades,

Everywhere, vines grow at the cracked facades, too late for me, most grapes have been transformed into raisins. At one rooftop the previous owner of the house has built a stage totally covered by fresh grapes, red and green. These grapes were in better shape and they tasted lovely, on the other hand my fingers became uncomfortably sticky. But I was prepared, on my EU expeditions I always carry with me one or more bottles of water.
.

Stacks Image 2887

Alone in the silence
.

Stacks Image 75049

The vegetation takes over. The green on the right is a vine, can promise that the grapes tasted wonderful
.

Stacks Image 75051

Trees and roots destroy and act as masonry. But it certainly works in its places as extra reinforcement. The tree in the middle grows through the roof, or maybe the roof is built around the tree?
.

Stacks Image 75053

A little tricky to move on in places, but the whole environment is tempting curiosity.
.

Stacks Image 74801

Hard to imagine the need for heating when I was here, but it will be winter and cold, even in Crete.


Further down on the next path crossover, someone had tried to build a ridiculous contraption to prevent trespassing, using a rusty bed base naively fixed on the side with some steel wire. On the other side of the bed base I have to admit there was a reason for the naive try. The house on this path was in an obvious very bad state. Most rooves were gone, the staircase was no longer safe to step on. Between some houses the vegetation has expanded over the rooves in such a dense way that streets below became tunnels. Perhaps it was meant to be like this, beneath it was comfortable and shady.
-

Stacks Image 74799

The end of an alley looks like this, the stairs going up to a private roof terrace and the next alley continues.
-

Stacks Image 74733

.

The village Kalami consists of a hundred and fifty houses, most of them unlocked. Entering the unlocked empty houses felt a bit like I was intruding into someone else’s private sphere. In the kitchen the plates have been set to dry, the open wardrobe exposed stretched shirts and jackets. On a chair, a never used shirt waiting for the owner and a visit to church on Sunday. In another house,

church on Sunday. In another house, in another kitchen the medicine jars and pills still waiting on a shelf for the user to take their daily doses. But for some reason it seems as they were abandoned in an urgent hurry. What kind of pills? Clearly marked labels on the side, but it was pure Greek to me.
.

Stacks Image 2891

A barrier of symbolic variety, a bed base.
.

The scenery repeats, for each house, the experience of repetition becomes increasingly evident. Half furnished houses, beds, sofas, kitchen tables, pots and everything else that makes for an ordinary life. I could spend many more hours here, but time goes by. As it has done for a very long time in Kalami. Even though it has stood still here for the past twenty years. The phone clock tells me I will be late for my lunch appointment.

lunch appointment. It is impossible to call from here, phone signals are weak, I doubt that even emergency calls are possible, but what can you expect that high up in the mountains in an abandoned village. It is time to return to the holiday and the other reality, which is in Crete on Tuesday the 11th of September 2018.
.

Stacks Image 74811

View towards south west, the church roof is the only roof in a god shape
.
Link
Mysterious Greece, Kalami
Angelfire: Kalami

.