Olympic Holidays

Koumos Stone House at Kalyves Crete

Koumos taverna and gardens are fashioned out of local pebbles

Walk west out of Kalives and take the first left thought the tunnel under the coastal highway. Left again up the hill takes the visitor to a bizarre collection of buildings that have been fashioned and faced with small stones and pebbles.

The Koumos or Stone House of Kalyves not only has walls, floors and roofs decorated in stone but is also full of remarkable sculptures. It is the lifetime's work of one man.

This has been the work of Khavaledakis Giorgos since 1990 when his wife Evaggelia suggested he build might like to build a stone table in the garden.

Stones and rocks were carried down from the nearby White Mountains to build all manner of mosaic-covered buildings and objects including a shepherd's roundhouse, a small museum, a chapel, throne, a mock cave and even toilets.

Everyday items have been cemented with pebbles and on show to visitors are a stone encrusted olive oil press, a treadmill and a flour mill.

An upturned tree is suspended in mid-air and a rock has been fashioned into the shape of a soldier, complete with tin hat, gun and shell cases. These are just a few of the weird offerings on view at the site.

Visitors can wander around the extensive gardens where sculptures compsed of stone and rock await them at almost every turn

There is a stone constructed taverna, a coffee room, several outdoor tables and benches all built by hand and crafted out of stone and pebble.

Dozens of small stone sculptures - which include a man generously peeing into a pond - can be discovered as visitors wander around the many winding shady paths.

Entrance is free but visitors are at least expected to buy something at the taverna while they are there and a small donation is always welcome. The taverna only serves up the basics but it attracts many locals. It is certainly an interesting excursion for anyone on holiday in West Crete.