Vamos

About the Village of Vamos

Throughout the centuries Vamos has been home to many artists and musicians and this is still true today.  During the 80’s, significant cultural events happened in Vamos, when the most distinguished Greek singers and composers gave concerts.

In recent years creative people from around the world have chosen to make Vamos their home, and many more have chosen to take their holidays here – somewhere a little different from the usual Greek holiday resorts.

Stroll past the kafenions in the village square or peer into any one of the ruins that line the narrow back streets today and you experience the atmosphere of a bygone era. You will see the locals going about their daily tasks as they have for centuries and you are likely to see a flock of goats or sheep being herded along the lane past your gate by one of the shepherds who live in the village. However, there are modern amenities to make your stay comfortable and these include cafes and a local grocery shop.  Each week our guests discover something new – for example, apart from the excellent village taverna I Sterna Tou Bloumosifi (recommended in many guidebooks) there are a couple of little places in the village square that just serve grilled food and simple salads but with lashings of local hospitality – and it is worth mentioning that the village has probably the best bakery in the region.

Vamos is the provincial capital of the Apokorona, thought to date from the 12th century and was the seat of the Turkish commander during the Ottoman occupation. Previously it was also the capital of the Sfakia prefecture. It is an exceptionally interesting village that the Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works has classed as traditional. It is more like a small town, very well preserved, with folk and neoclassical architectural elements.

Vamos is a semi- mountain village, 200 meters high above sea level, surrounded by cultivated and wild countryside, with 800 inhabitants. There is a supermarket, bakery, grocery shops, internet cafe, county court, post-office, bank, telephone company, police station, health centre and two petrol stations.

Cultural Development

In the mid 1990’s a new agro-tourism activity began, the first on the Island. The initiative, of a group of inhabitants to create an association for the preservation of the village, as well as alternative tourism strategies promoting ethical sustainable ecotourism  and agro-tourism, is already paying off. While constituting a model for further local progress, their organisation successfully manages to make all visitors friends of Vamos. They enchant visitors with the beauty of their green and peaceful village lying at the foot of Madares; with their warm hospitality, traditional cafes – beautiful old buildings behind each of which lies a story, and their wonderful cobbled streets.

The famous art and cultural festivals are good opportunities for everyone to experience the hospitality and entertainment Vamos can offer.

It is worthwhile visiting Vamos and enjoying the benefits that responsible low-impact tourism can bring to the area and becoming one of the “intiated” friends of Vamos.


History of Vamos

The history of Vamos goes back many centuries. According to historical sources its first inhabitants were Arab Sarassin pirates around the 8th century. In the general census organized by the Venetians in 1571, Vamos is mentioned as “Vamu” with 273 permanent inhabitants (a large population for that era). It was already the military and administrative centre for the whole of the Apokoronas region.

During the time Greece was under Turkish domination, Vamos was the headquarters of the Turkish army and in 1863 a Pasha named Savas chose Vamos as the Capital of the prefecture of Sfakia. People of Vamos proved to be very patriotic fighting to free themselves from the Turkish domination. The winning battles of 1896 set Vamos free from the Turks.

At the time that Vamos was the capital of Sfakia, it met a great development as a region. This development is characterized by the luxurious houses and public buildings with neo-classic elements. From this time and on, there was a distinction between luxurious and non luxurious houses, a fact that highlights the economical levels of the society, depicting the contrast between the rich that lived in the so called “conakia” and the poor that lived in the “kamarospita” (one room house). Built with local materials such as stone, wood and soil, these houses still impress with their authentically and traditional colour. It is important to mention that until the 19th century architecture was greatly influenced by the Venetian domination.

Vamos was the site of many battles in 1866 and 1896. The 1896 events attracted foreign interest and were the cause of the General Cretan Revolutionary Meeting (with Roussos Koundouros presiding) in Vamos with the aim of the independence of Crete.

1913 brought about the unification of Crete with the rest of Greece.

The architectural heritage is well-preserved and Vamos is one of the most attractive traditional destinations in the area: a preserved traditional stone road , the old neighbourhood, well painted Chapels of Virgin Mary (monument of 13th century), and Karidi Monastery 13th-19th, with its spectacular old olive press with 12 arches.

Interesting buildings in the village are the Agios Nikolaos and Agios Georgios churches, the restored old school (built in 1863) with the old girl’s school in its yard, which is now used as a guesthouse.

Crete Weather

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