The historic caves of Matala where the hippies lived in the 60's

in GEMS2 months ago (edited)

Hello, my friends. Today I will write about one of my favorite beaches located in the south of Crete which is the island I was born and raised. I am referring to Matala beach which is in a small seaside village with a very special history due to the hippies who settled in the village in the '60s and stayed there till the end of the '70s.

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Every time I visit this beach I feel tremendous positive energy, penetrating my body and clearing my mind of the problems and tensions of everyday life. I really do not know how this happens but I noticed it from the first time I went there and that's why I visit it at least twice every summer.

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On this beach, there is a huge rock that contains dozens of artificial caves that were carved thousands of years ago and no one is sure what their use was. The prevailing view is that there were Roman or Christian tombs in the early Christian period. However, some archaeologists believe that they were used as dwellings because in some caves there were carved beds, windows and arches.
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The caves remained uninhabited until the 1970s where hippies discovered the area and settled there as they found a place where they could express themselves freely, create and fall in love. The feeling of freedom, the beautiful beach, the hospitable bay and the clear blue waters created the ideal scenery for them. They lived there in small groups (couples, even families) as primitive, without comforts. Although most of them had a great education and enviable knowledge, they did not want to have any contact with the miserable, boring, consuming lifestyle. They stayed, in the winter in pied, leggings or freak clothes, some in sheepskin, and in the summer half-naked (some in the caves and naked), seeking to become Protoplasts, "Children of God" to unite with Mother Nature.
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Matala was a small fishing village inhabited by God-fearing conservative people who were annoyed by the presence of the hippies and slowly started a war against them as they claimed that with their half-naked appearances they were scandalizing the children of the village. The first to fight the hippies was an educator named I. Vamvoukas where he sent a letter to a local newspaper saying that the hippies were scandalizing young children and they should leave the area. However, this letter had the opposite effect because the subject took great dimensions and the existence of hippies in Matala became known worldwide and more of them came to Matala and the infamous fishing village, becomes the capital of the world hippie movement.
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in 1969 the Christian Despot of the area started a war against the hippies claiming that they wanted to create the third sex. The prosecutor ordered a search in the area of Matala and the local police carried out searches inside the caves. They wanted to find out if orgies were taking place in the famous caves and if the "destruction of Crete", that is, the threatened "third sex", was being prepared there. Finally, they did not find "third sex construction workshops" but they found some who had weed in their backpacks who arrested and went on trial. There were a total of seventeen convictions.
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In 1970 a fake unsigned article was published stating that there would be a global conference of hippies in Matala. the Christian church of Crete became enraged and urged the people to expel the hippies from its caves. Some left buta lot of them remained in Crete and found refuge in remote places.
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in 1977 the caves have been fenced and protected by the Archaeological Service, while accommodation and overnight stay in them is prohibited. Now visitors pay 2 euros entrance to enter the caves and admire them up close.

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Apart from the caves, the village in Matala now contains rooms for rent, restaurants, bars and everything else the visitor needs for his vacation. Inside the narrow alleys of the village, there are graffiti and slogans on the walls reminiscent of the hippie era. Also once a year in June there is a three-day festival with music and art that gathers thousands of people from around the world. If you ever find yourself in Crete, do not forget to visit the Matala village. The good energy, the beautiful village and the sea view will enchant you and you will not want to leave. The villafe is very beatiful and you will the chance to admire the jewel of the area which is a carved tree depicting 4 ancient Greek gods.

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So that was for today.. See you at my upcoming posts. :)

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Oye amigo son impresionantes esas cuevas. Espero algún día conocer Grecia porque el movimiento gastronómico allá es super interesante. Saludos. Te felicito, un post excelente.

Gracias por el comentario. Deseo que algún día visites Grecia algún día y pruebes la cocina mediterránea.

Awesome place and very interesting story! Crete is definitely on my travel bucket list ✔️✈️

Crete is a beautiful place. It combines culture and nature . It has countless beaches with crystal clean waters, mountains, gorges and a lot of archaeological places. I wish you to come one day and do not forget to visit matala to feel this fantastic energy.

Muy buenas fotografías, Dan ganas de pasar por allá. 😍

Gracias querida, Deseo que algún día viajes allí y a muchos otros lugares.

Nice. I would love to sail there one day. Keep it up.

Ha! Ha! That's an interesting story about your island. I bet the locals are now very pleased that hippies are helped to make the beach very popular

Of course they are pleased. I still see hippies there everytime I visit this village and I think that they are not real because they do not exist anymore. They are paid by the locals to get dressed and act like hippies. They are their touristic attraction.

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I've been to Crete and didn't know about this place. Great Island amazing history and beautiful. Best tomato I ever ate was at the Lasithi Pateau. mmmm

Crete is a big island and you need a lot of days to explore it. I agree about the tomatoes, I am also a huge fan of them in the august.

funny how I remember that tomato haha

I don΄t think its funny. I also remember their taste and I can΄t wait every summer to eat them :)

:) good that means I was right back then. They are amazing

Great post! I was in Crete a few years ago for 10 days, but I didn't find out that this place existed, very interesting :)

Hello @sofathana thanks for the comment. Crete is the largest island in Greece. You need more than 10 days to explore it all. If you ever decide to visit us again you should definitely visit Matala.
Where did you stay in Crete?

Totally agree! 10 days is a very short time... I stayed in Chania

Really enjoyed reading this wonderful post. Have followed you.

Thanks for your kind words :)