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Culture plan for holiday resort

- by Archimedes

Culture plan for holiday resort.

Visitors to the Crete island holiday resort of Stavros on the Akrotiri peninsula soon learn of its strong links with the hit Greek movie of 'Zorba the Greek'.

Much of the movie was filmed on Akrotiri, Crete, both on the holiday beaches and in the village of Stavros – now a noted Crete island holiday resort.

The house in Stavros, Crete, that featured so strongly the award-winning 1964 film, is to be turned into a cultural centre.

The move was backed at a recent meeting in Chania city hall after a meeting with the city mayor and various interested parties, including an international society devoted to Crete-born Nikos Kazantzakis, the author of the book that inspired the film.

To mark the opening of the new cultural centre there are plans to hold a special event in Chania next year called 'Kazantzakis and Zorba'.

The Greek film director, Michael Cacoyannis, shot many scenes from 'Zorba the Greek' on Akrotiri peninsula of northern Crete, near Chania city in 1964.

Antony Quinn played the part of Zorba and was nominated in the Academy Awards for Best Leading Actor, while Michael Cacoyannis got three nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.

The movie went on the win three Academy Awards. Lila Kedrova won Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, Vassilis Fotopoulos lifted an Oscar for Best Art Direction and Walter Lassally got an Oscar for Best Cinematography in black-and-white.

The famous 'Zorba dance' in which Anthony Quinn's character dances the 'sirtaki', was filmed on the splendid beach at the Crete holiday resort of Stavros.

Decades later, local Stavros hotels and Stavros tavernas continue to trade of the 'Zorba the Greek' connection.

In the film, Stavros village is projected as an impoverished peasant community where an old, French war widow, played by Lila Kedrova, offers Stavros holiday accommodation in her self-styled 'Hotel Ritz'.

The Akrotiri Peninsula forms one side of Souda Bay, one of the deepest natural harbours in the world. Chania Airport is located in the centre of the peninsula but much of the area is wild and desolate.

There are some very fine walks on the Akrotiri peninsula, both along the coast and inland, where there are olive groves and citrus orchards a well as fields of wild flowers – a notable attraction for amateur botanists.

The dramatic coastline at Akrotiri has several good sandy beaches, notably at Stavros where there are two sand beaches, spectacular snorkeling and some good tavernas.

The whole Akrotiri area has an unhurried air, which makes it a favourite for visitors on a Crete island holiday, especially those who prefer to be away from crowds and large, noisy holiday hotels, with Stavros found on the very northern tip of Akrotiri.