Thursday, 8 January 2009


On a recent trip up to the Omalos plateau in Hania, near the Lefka Ori mountain range, we passed by a small neighbourhood with a few houses clustered around it. In more recent years, these roughshod dwellings became larger to accommodate more people like tourists and hunters (hare, partridges, turtledoves, and other small birds can be found here).

omalos hania chania
The small housing settlement on the Omalos plateau.

As you pass by the houses, you come across one that looks as though it did not survive an earthquake well. The first floor looks buckled like the motorways after a sever case of seismic activity in Japan and California, while the rooms hang lopsided over the shelled-out cavity below. The neighbours' houses, however, haven't suffered any damage whatsoever.

omalos hania chania

omalos hania chania omalos hania chania
The Crooked House on the Omalos Plateau

Here's the story I've heard about how this house got to this state. About 45-50 years ago, Mr A (the owner of the house, which was also a kind of bed and breakfast with a cafe operating on the ground floor) and Mr B were involved in shady dealings (they were growing other kinds of 'horta'), whose profits were shared among them. One of these deals didn't go as planned. Mr A questioned Mr B about his share of the profits. Mr B admitted that he had made a mistake in his calculations, and that he'd go to his car and get more money to give to Mr A. Mr A was watching Mr B as he went to his car. As Mr B walked back to Mr A, Mr A noticed that he was carrying a gun. At that moment, Mr A took out his gun (he was also carrying one), shot Mr B dead, took his wife and kids and left Crete forever, fearing revenge attacks, which is clearly how this matter developed, since his house, cafe and guest rooms were blown up. Rumour has it that he went to the USA...



  1. oh what an interesting story!

  2. Δεν υπάρχει κανείς να ρίξει κάτω αυτά τα επικίνδυνα, ετοιμόρροπα κτίσματα;

  3. I wasn't far off, then :-) ! I didn't know that it was so dangerous on Crete...

    PS Thank you for the nice comment on my new blog!

  4. Amazing what can go on in your own backyard.
    We knew someone very well when we were on and off the island long story short - he was attacked and murdered in his cottage not far from here, by at least three men. Bad blood, bad dealing etc. They have never been caught.

  5. There seems to be a whole set of unwritten rules governing the relationships of those engaged in a vendetta. Spirits do not settle down even after 10-20 years. Mr A (long relative of Mr T? :-D ) is theoretically unsafe anywhere on the planet.

    There is a very good old Greek comedy film that depicts the affairs of two peaceful living persons that get sucked in to the vendetta whirlwind and are supposed to take over the situation and kill each other.
    (Is the difference between Kill (Fear) and Kiss (Love) minor or is it just me?).

    A short sample of the movie is available on ΕσύΣωλήνα!!!

    It is fascinating to observe the behaviour that emerges in relationships that are governed by Fear. It's like a fuse waiting to be lit.

    Coincidentally, here is another recent story full of induced (and unfortunately justified) fear.

  6. Interesting story. Keep off the horta!

  7. You're such a great story teller! I noticed you kept the names anonymous to protect the innocent (that would be you?). So, who owns the land now?

  8. actually, i don't know the names, but the story is old enough for the person involved to be dead, or at least a great-grandfather!

  9. Hi Maria! New Year, Old Troubles... No, I’m not talking about the frosty weather, just the office... Another hectic week! ;)
    I knew that crete was also famous for these kind of «vendette», but this is an excellent example!!
    Thanks for your comments at Blogtrotter, now with new posts on Delhi! Enjoy and have a great weekend!

  10. Interesting! And the USA would be a logical place to go!

  11. That's an interesting story. I really hope he didn't come here. :-)