Abandoned for over 50 years, a tiny Cretan village nestled in the hills and olive groves of this lush island is once again teeming with life.
The settlement was founded with the building of a church in 1600 by the monks at the nearby historic Monastery of Arkadi, the village didn’t start taking shape as a full settlement until the 1760s when an olive oil mill was constructed to cultivate the fertile land surrounding it.
For centuries following the placement of the olive mill, women from the surrounding villages would gather at Kapsialana during the olive harvest. Eventually homes were built and at its peak, 13 families had settled— total population of 50 people year round, tending to the monastery’s farming activities.
The mill eventually closed in 1955 and the settlement was abandoned, reducing the village to a lifeless mass of crumbling stone buildings— until one proud Cretan got involved.
Architect Myron Toupogiannis took over the property and made it a life-long mission to restore the entire village, transforming it to day into the Kapsialana Village Hotel— complete with a bustling town square filled with flowers and greenery, public spaces that all connect to the local 16th century church (still in use today) and every old home restored into hotel suites in the traditional Cretan architectural styles of the period of the village’s founding.
It took Toupogiannis 30 years to restore the village, the original olive oil mill and all of the public spaces into a living village again— this time welcome travelers from throughout the world to experience the simplicity of life in a Greek island village.
Villagers back then lived a simple life— respecting nature and living off the fruits of the earth.
Not much has changed today for hotel visitors who come from all over the world. Guests can enjoy the same “gifts” bestowed by nature, taking in the colors and aromas of the surrounding countryside and gazing at the star-filled night— the same way locals in the 1600s did.
See photos of the property– including old photos from the 1950s and the architect’s commitment to preserving every detail from the past during his reconstruction.