The Cretan villa 2

December 4 2014

On the 18th March 1912 I was walking through an out-of-the-way district in the east of Krete. The landscape was the bare limestone mountain-side characteristic of the Aegean. Villages were rare, and some of them had been sacked during the civil war of 1897 and not reoccupied. Suddenly, as the path turned the corner round a hillside in the limestone wilderness, a Western country-house came into view. It was built in the Jacobean style; the curves and flourishes of its façade were in excellent preservation; one’s own friends, or their great-grandparents, might have walked out of the front door. But, after a few steps towards it, the illusion of life faded. The door was half walled-up with loose stones to convert the ground-floor into a sheepfold, the windows stared blindly, the cornice had no roof above it. It was the villa of some Venetian landowner or official, and must have been deserted since the great War of Candia, two and a half centuries ago.

In that war Crete passed from Venetian to Ottoman rule. Before Venice, it had been under Constantinople, with an Arab interlude.

The Cretan villa.

The Western Question in Greece and Turkey, A Study in the Contact of Civilizations, Constable, 1922

3 Responses to “The Cretan villa 2”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    In the other account he has the date as March 19.

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