It was at the beginning of the 80’s that an intelligent, creative, diligent dreamer decided to launch a work of a lifetime. His intention was to offer something to Crete, his motherland.
Although he had nothing to do with hoteliers or entrepreneurs, he decided to establish a place where all memories of his childhood could revive and continue to stay alive.
With that concern in mind, he came to contact with his business partner and two famous architects, Mr. Sotiris Sotirakos and Mr.Elias Patronikolas.
The latter were to implement the idea of establishing a Traditional Village that would reflect many aspects of Cretan tradition, conveying it on their architectural drawings. Such aspects included arts and crafts, cuisine, and local customs.
In the region Servili Tilissou, it was Mr. Saloustros’ father-in-law, the famous Michalis Kallergis alias Makromichalos, that owned the estate and the area necessary for implementing the said project.
The area was initially a pasture for Mr. Kallergis’ sheep. Specifically, in the area where the big square village currently lies, (Faso Charaki) he sowed tare and other grain for the sheep. Those furrows continue to exist to date at the big square of Arolithos.
It was in the spring of 1985 that the foundations of the building complex were set.
Two years before that, Mr. Saloustros had avidly strived to collect the items that would decorate the house interiors and the stones and wood for the edifice exteriors from various villages of Crete.
That endeavor took such long hours and so much personal work, that it is difficult to evaluate.
Like an itinerant junkman, Mr. Saloustros went from house to house and from village to village to gather items that were dumped, or just “unwanted”.
Those included stones from demolished houses, mountain rocks etc. and were handpicked to ornate the buildings of the complex.
Gradually, Arolithos was taking its form. In 1988, Arolithos was inaugurated. Since then, it operates while adhering to the tradition of Crete. Nevertheless, it is always ready to adapt to current developments and exigencies.
It constitutes a unique complex model of building that inspired many other businesses to follow its example. To date, many businesses are established based on tradition while maintaining their Cretan character.
At times when nobody in Greece had even heard of agricultural tourism, Arolithos already existed, resulting from an individual initiative by someone who loved his country passionately.
Nowadays Arolithos is exclusively owned by the family of Georgis and Marika Saloustros. Together with their four children, Giannis, Eleni, Michalis and Vagelis, they work with zeal and passion to maintain that year-long vision.
AROLITHOS GENERAL DESCRIPTION
AROLITHOS is the unique traditional private Cretan village. It lies just 11 kilometers away from Heraklion, along the old national road connecting Heraklion with Rethymnon.
Built on the slope of a mountain, in the wild Cretan landscape, the village is a feast for the eyes, evoking memories from the past of older generations as for their way of living while revealing the simplicity and beauty of old times to younger generations.
AROLITHOS is a family - run business. It was implemented with great passion and love for Cretan tradition. Its goal is to bring Cretan tradition, the customs and habits of the region, the architecture and the values of Cretan people into relief, through a project that will stay alive for a long time to come.
AROLITHOS complex could be characterized as a reconstruction of a typical Cretan village including various departments such as:
Hotel, Restaurant, Traditional tavern with Cretan recipes "DELFIS", Swimming pool and pool bar, Traditional Café, Modern Cafe
Museum of Rural History and Popular Art
Traditional houses, Ceramics, Painting, Woven Textile, Old blacksmith's - As an exhibition place to visit
Shops with Cretan products
AROLITHOS is a Cretan word, which means “a rock’s hole gathering rainwater”. The village AROLITHOS has taken that symbolic name because it encompasses the tradition and beauty of Crete, just like the hole in the rock gathers water.
Here, visitors escape from the tiring everyday routine for a while and is taken back to the past, where everything used to be pure and genuine.
The goals of Arolithos
- The collection, maintenance and exhibition of local folkloric items.
- The support and preservation of local arts and crafts, as well as of artistic activities from different domains, i.e. painting, music and dance.
- The preservation of customs and their propagation to the next generations i.e. wedding customs, Easter celebration etc.
- The accommodation of native and foreign tourists, who take interest in learning about arts and the traditional way of living on Crete.
- The preservation of Cretan cuisine along with the promotion of local dishes and food.
- The organization of events for the promotion of local artworks: art exhibitions including paintings and sculptures, traditional music nights.
- The organization of social events, such as wedding ceremonies and receptions, christenings etc.