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Last updated 05/11/09 ©2009 Ralfaweb Brighton England

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A Short History of Koutouloufari.....

Ancient maps and records indicate that there has been a settlement in the area of
Koutouloufari for hundred of years, however local history says that the beginnings of  Koutouloufari began in the Byzantine period following a severe earthquake which destroyed the settlement where the Port now stands. The local residents moved to the East and formed a new settlement close to where Hotel ‘Nora’ now stands, this settlement was called Zambaniana. During this period piracy was common in the Mediterranean, and one band of pirates, hearing that this settlement was particularly rich and had many  treasures, befriended the villagers, and after a night of entertainment and feasting made off with the young women and the treasure from the village.

The villagers realising the dangers of living close to the sea moved inland, up the hill towards Mt. Harakas, and on reaching the church of St Basil explained to the priest what had happened. The priest, whose name was Koutifari, gave the villagers land around the church to build a new village which was named Koutouloufari, after the priest.

The village prospered and became wealthy and many large buildings were constructed and by the Turkish period the village was renowned for it’s oil, wine, and almonds which were shipped as far away as Vai.

The village is a fine example of a Cretan hill village with narrow roads following the contour of the hill, and there are some fine examples of anonymous (built for purpose) architecture with multi-arched buildings used as both housing, and for the production of oil and wine, and for sheltering farm animals on the ground floor, while the family slept on a raised loft, or upper floor if one existed. Most are constructed from stone with the minimum of‘dressing’.

Today, many such buildings have been turned into houses, while some remain as ruins,while others have been turned into commercial premises!

During the winter months the village has a resident population of about
350, and tourist development has been kept to the outskirts of the village
so the middle of the village remains relatively unspoilt, and many visitors
to Port Hersonissos are unaware of its existence! Many arrive in the village
by chance after the walk up the hill, and are delighted to find such a quiet
and charming  village so close to the brash, noisy, commercialism of the Port,
resolving on future visits to find lodgings near the village!