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Mike Maunder &
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17 October 2019


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Lambou Mili panorama 4red w caption 2

Molivos Today

Panorama 1
Molyvos then

Then......                                                                and Now

Present day Molivos is partly the result of
a social experiment started in the late 1950s,
when the town was apparently in terminal decline.

It.. "did not have electricity, there was a water shortage, there were no telephones; the town was virtually abandoned..."
(from the former Municipality of Mithimna associated web site

Molivos now

             It was then that the sociologist Michalis Goutos recognised its unique beauty and historical interest,
and encouraged its protection and development as a centre of 'cultural tourism'.
Since 1965 the town has been protected as a 'traditional settlement'; any development within its boundaries
has to conform with the characteristic style of the existing buildings.
(though under the masonry skin will be earthquake-resistant reinforced concrete
like everywhere else in modern Greece),

The carefully preserved cobbled lanes and staircases, together with the precipitous site
(don't come here if you don't like walking up hills),
keep vehicles out of all but a few of the main streets.
Over the years the town has attracted more and more visitors;
inevitably this has had its effect - shop rents in the main streets have been pushed up
and jewellers and craft shops, gift shops, and the inevitable souvenir stalls
full of imported tat have taken over from the traditional traders.

All is not yet lost however; there is still a baker, a butcher,
(though when this page was first written there were two of each),
at least seven general mini-markets, a shoe shop, a bookshop, and a traditional tailor serving a town with a permanent population of barely a thousand,and the tat does not dominate
in the way it does in say the Plaka in Athens -
it is still outnumbered by the products of local artists and craft workers.

The restrictions on building - almost all the accommodation booked by the main holiday companies
is now in purpose-built hotels or apartment complexes outside the town -
and the lack of a good, easily accessible beach, also tend to keep numbers manageable.
Molivos has, so far, managed to keep its balance
on the tightrope between 'authenticity' and over-popularity.

The evidence is there in the number of visitors who return every year just because they love the place,
and who who end up buying property and living there permanently.

"I like Molyvos - it disturbs me - because it's 'handmade'.
It doesn't have to do with machines. Thousands of craftsmen
have worked on it, for hundreds of years - with the taste,
sagacity, and aptitude which swallows show when they
build their nests.
Everything is in its place: the streets, the churches,
the houses, the trees, the overarching branches,
the boats, the fountains, the people: good people,
householders, carpenters, fishermen, builders,
stockbreeders, farmers, who walk slowly, but think
very quickly.
I am very much afraid for Molyvos. Tourism, which has
brought plenty of bread to the place, has its drawbacks.
It brings with it greed, in many instances. And greed is a
bad counsellor.
Molyvos was different when I made its acquaintance.
It's  different today, when all kinds of vested interests
have become involved. However, all things are possible.
It's possible for business to be done, and the village's image
constantly to get better. Never worse.
The truth is that people go to Molyvos for its - intact - beauty...'

Lefteris Papadopoulos, Molyvos, Topio Publications for the Municipality of Mithimna

And if you really want a beach:-
apart from the  'town beach', a small strip of sand next to the Olive Press Hotel,
the best option is the long strip of sand and shingle behind the Delphinia Hotel,
on the edge of Molivos towards Petra.
From its beginning near the hotel swimming-pool, both the beach and the swimming get better (and nuder)
as you go south towards the cliffs at the end of the bay.
 Otherwise take the bus to Eftalou for the long sandy beach beyond the hot springs,
which leads on into a succession of secluded bays,
or go the other way for the organised sand and sunbeds of Petra and Anaxos.

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ISBN 9780953921454
ISBN 9780953921461