A Land Alive with Culture

“I expect nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.” - Nikos Kazantzakis

Grace, pride and freedom are but a few of the high qualities which abundantly radiate from deep within the soul of a Cretan. Although the way of life in Crete has become modern and cosmopolitan over the years, its people have held on firmly to their rich folk traditions with great vitality and passion.

In every celebration the voice of Crete resounds. The Cretan lyra (lyre) and laouto (lute) accompany songs called Mandinades which contain improvised lyrics expressing deep rooted human emotions. Brisk dynamic dances such as the Pentozali and the Pidihto spring from the sound of the lyra clearly demonstrating strength and vigour.

Crete holds a special position in art and literature. Influential artists such as El Greco were born in Crete. Some highly renowned literary works have been written, including Zorba the Greek by the notorious Nikos Kazantzakis.

The innumerable variations of colour and patterns are skillfully interwoven in tapestry, embroidery and lace-making, showing the wealth of creative expertise. Artistic production in pottery and jewellery continues, portraying distinct designs from the past.

Authority and independence are powerfully demonstrated by black attire and a hand-engraved knife passed through a belt, especially in the villages. This, goes hand in hand with an exaggerated form of “Philoxenia” or hospitality which is warmly and sincerely expressed.