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Greek Island Holidays

Pebble clad Koumos on Crete

koumos kalives

Intricate mosaics of pebble and stone.

A must-see sight for anyone on holiday in the Crete north coast beach resort of Kalyves is the remarkable pebble clad buildings of Koumos.

An intricate mosaic of pebble and stone cover a complex of buildings, including a taverna and even a chapel, in a bizarre Gaudi-type architectural extravaganza that will take your breath away.

There is a sign to the Koumos Taverna just outside the Kalyves beach resort that leads up the hill to the remarkable place.

It is not easy to miss with walls, paths and roofs covered in coloured pebbles with images of snakes, fish and other creatures built into the mosaics.

It is free to enter and to walk around the buildings and gardens where intricate sculptures of all shapes and sizes have been built beneath the shady trees.

Rough tables of stone are set about for visitors to rest and there is not only a taverna but even a tiny pebble covered chapel to visit.

The Koumos is the life's work of local man Khavaledakis Giorgos and it all began when his wife asked him to build a stone table in the garden in 1990.

Other projects followed until today when there is nothing that has not been covered with pebbles and stones with even the chimneys encrusted with intricate patterns of stonework.

Many of the stones, pebbles and rocks used in construction were hauled down from the mountains of Lefkas Ori which tower in the background behind the beach resort of Kalyves.

Buildings covered in mosaic patterns include a shepherd's roundhouse, a small museum of old household artefacts, a tiny one-person chapel, a mock cave and even toilets.

Also on display in the extensive grounds are an olive oil press, a treadmill and a flour mill. An upturned tree is even suspended in mid-air to create a pagoda-type entrance.

In the garden are many sculptures, including a rock shaped like a soldier, complete with tin hat, gun and bullet cases. It is just one of scores of stone sculptures that even include someone peeing into a pond.

There is a large car park and entrance is free but visitors are expected to spend some time in the taverna where food and drink are on offer.

A day trip to the Koumos or Stone House is certainly an interesting excursion for anyone on holiday in Kalyves or indeed in west Crete.

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