Crete is not just a tourist destination.
Check out her alternative side!


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  • Live perfomances by local bands in 'Palio Lido'Live perfomances by local bands in 'Palio Lido'© Cretazine
  • Lyra and violin, side by side!Lyra and violin, side by side!© Cretazine
  • © Cretazine
  • © Cretazine
  • "The kangoors" a popular local band"The kangoors" a popular local band© Cretazine
  • © Cretazine
  • Neske from Amsterdam playing the violin!Neske from Amsterdam playing the violin!© Cretazine
  • © Cretazine
Crete as we Live it

From the coast of Asterousia to the center of Heraklion: An ode to Cretan summer magic

Who said multiculturalism and variety is a ‘privilege’ of large urban centers? The whole island Crete in the summer becomes the ultimate culture hub for every taste, especially in August when most events take place. Follow us in a two-to-one summer experience, from the coast of the southern wild to the center of the city.

Ai Giannis, Asterousia, Saturday August 24, 2014…

It is one of the hottest days of the summer. The valley of Messara looks like a spaghetti western film setting, with tumbleweed passing by indolently. The Sahara temperature perfectly fits the desert-like rocky landscape of Asterousia. And down there, at an isolated coast of the Libyan Sea, something strange is happening… 

The night sky of Ai Giannis is covered by a blanket of stars. There is no moon; and the southern winds tingle waves of despair. A few summer nomads find refuge in the tavern-canteen of Zervos, drinking cold beers to wash the heat away. Suddenly, the melody of an oud interrupts the human chattering. Soon, the sound of bouzouki, lyra and a lute enter its rhythm. Cretan rhythms, rebetiko from Asia Minor and musical routes of the southern-east. The musical journey meets a guitar and the songs of Fairuz – songs that sound as if they were written exclusively for this little corner of the Cretan south.

And then… three wizards arrive from three corners of the Earth. A Dutch girl with her violin. The American Mr Fish (that’s how he introduced himself) with his accordion. And the Syrian-Algerian man who came from France to Greece with his archaic percussion to learn how to play the lyra. Summer night magic: nobody knew each other beforehand. They all met right there by coincidence (?). Cretan, rebetiko, eastern sounds mix with gypsy music, and the musicians find a common language to speak through notes, openness and improvisation. And they play as if they had rehearsed for months. We dance barefoot, ecstatic, and the tavern feels like the best music hall of the whole world. The ‘foreigners’ get excited… “it’s a beautiful party!” Neske says. A feast, a la Grec. Spontaneous and authentic.

That night, the dark waters of the Libyan Sea glowed like the stars above us. Some say it was plankton, we say it was magic glitter…

Lido, Heraklion, Thursday August 28, 2014…

The capital of Crete moves in its typical fast rhythms. The highways are full of cars, the pedestrian streets full of loud people, and the tables outside full of freddo espresso and fancy cocktails. August reaches its end but the city don’t care! And down there, by the sandy coast at the city outskirts, something strange is happening...

We take the narrow lane that leads to the beach of Ammoudara. We pass by small house gardens and empty construction sites, sheep (yes, sheep) grazing city weeds, and we wonder: are we really just a few meters away from the coastline highway with the exotic palm trees? There are other strangers with us, also looking for the “party”. Our feet sink into the sand as we slowly walk towards the tavern ‘Palio Lido’. It is perhaps the most surrealistic corner of the city. From the one side you see the modern cement beast of the Pancretan stadium and from the other a nostalgic tavern and its longtime friend in loneliness, a huge salt cedar. A bit further down you see shacks still inhabited by people, hidden from the city gaze.

Striking contradictions, almost cinematic. And there, in the middle of nowhere, a crowd of people gathers, colorful and vibrant. They watch the video of Michaela Schweighofer, an artist hosted by ResidenceSea, projecting bizarre, beautiful images that mix ancient Greek marble fetish (statues of ancient gods, Ionic order pillars) with trivial, “useless” objects. The curiously beautiful images are soon tangled with music notes. The live performances have started. And this empty space of 80s aesthetics, once filled with the scents of fried calamari and ouzo, becomes even more surrealistic. Heat and electric guitars inside, sea breeze and more people gathering outside. A small parallel universe, contrasting the rest of the city, as well as the sheep and shacks next to the highway…

That night, the dark waters of Ammoudara mirrored the city lights, and they looked more impressive than ever…


*Dedicated to those who love contradictions, spontaneity, the unexpected and surrealism...and to this side of Crete, that incorporates all that. Dedicated to those who 'offered' nights like this to us – and so many more, we never recorded, but equally loved.