Wednesday, 27 August 2008

ABC Wednesday: F for Fournes

It's ABC Wednesday again, and F is for Fournes, a village in north western Crete.

P8070019

Fournes is the second-to-last village that you will meet on your way to the famous Samaria Gorge, the longest ravine in Europe (the last village is Lakki). It sits below the Lefka Ori mountain range. Its location, on a flat fertile plain just before the long and winding road leading to the mountains, was its greatest asset. The message one receives on passing it on their way to the Omalos valley where the gorge is located is that it has seen better days. The neo-classical designs in the old houses on the main road attest to a certain grandeur that has now become all but lost. The fields of Fournes are covered in olive and orange trees, but they often have a neglected look to them. They hint at a sign of modern times: the demise of agriculture.

barn in amongst olive and orange groves fournes hania chania

The village was once considered very wealthy because its location was easily accessible, and agricultural produce was an important source of wealth. Back in the days of wealth and prosperity, people showed off their money by decorating their homes ornately, indulging in the latest fashion and dining out on a regular basis in the town. It is said that a man would get a new suit sewn every month, even if he didn't get a chance to wear the suit he had bought in the previous month. Those days are over. Olives are strewn uncollected under the trees, oranges remain on the tree even when it is producing new crops, wild thorny blackberry vines strangle olive and orange trees. The decay is obvious: rural decline in favour of urban progress.

orange fournes

Despite its drawbacks, Fournes still manages to lure locals and foreigners alike. The number of residents has grown slightly over the years since foreigners and wealthier citizens started building new houses in the area. This is all due to its proximity to the main town, and the plentiful agricultural occupations it offers. In the appropriate season, there is olive picking and orange packing, and if one is not averse to the sweaty toil of fieldwork, there are plenty of seasonal jobs available in the way of cleaning up fields by getting rid of thorny bushes and weeds under the trees, and generally maintaining the land, enticing in this way economic migrants. It is not a big deal to commute by car between town and village if your work is located in the urban centre (only the cost of petrol is a nuisance).

(Tomorrow I will present more photos from Fournes)

19 comments:

  1. I had hoped to try for that gorge the last year - maybe next time?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rural decay happens here too. But most of the farmers are now renting more land to farm. So those who no longer feel a need to farm are setting back and letting someone else farm and then either get a rent check or a share of the crop when it is sold, or both.

    I enjoyed reading your post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a contrast to our farming community, yet the farmers are toiling the same earth.

    ReplyDelete
  4. thank you for the lovely tour of Fournes..

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a shame to see the Fruit decaying on the ground.

    Bear((( )))

    ReplyDelete
  6. Learned some more today - the gorge is particularly interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  7. How sad that it is neglected. It seems a criminal waste. Lovely photos.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The demise of agriculture is apalling - so sad to see such a beautiful and fertile spot neglected in this way.

    Very informative post.

    Gary
    Bodge's Bulletin

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for the interesting information. It's sad to see land neglected and fruit to be wasted.
    This is where we learn about so many things - the citydailyphotogroup, we dont learn all this in world geography in high school.
    I'm looking forward to see more from Fournes.
    Check out my 'F' for FLYOVER here

    ReplyDelete
  10. The oranges photo is so poignant and says a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This as been a great post foe ABC Wednesday and I enjoyed reading all the info... thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I like villages and their natural beauty!

    ReplyDelete
  13. That is a shame, but I imagine that farming that land is awfully hard work.

    ReplyDelete
  14. great F post. the place looks lovely and you captured thier spots beautifully. great job.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wonderful information thanks - I fear you might be right about Tesco invading the demolished part of Hattersley - hope not.

    ReplyDelete
  16. cool. :) i love how the lettering of the signage feels so exotic to me.

    ReplyDelete
  17. 1 have been working as a orange picker in this lovely village 24 years ago, it is unforgettable, beautiful people, beautiful surroundings, spring 2009 i will go back to see what time did to the village...

    ReplyDelete