The capital of the Apokoronos district stands inland on high ground 190m above sea level.
The Greek Ministry for the Environment classified it as a traditional village a few years ago and Investments were made into develop-ment and upkeep with tourist strategies put into place, which have become a model for other areas. An important part is played by the Vamos S.A. society which works closely with the political bodies, both led by the the delightful aim that all visitors should be treated as friends.
When pirates settled in Vamos
The long history of the village goes back to the 9th century when pirates settled here and the name Vamos was first used. During the Turkish occupation, 1669-1898, Vamos was the administrative centre and late in the 17th century the town started to assume its present layout under the guidance of an astute Turkish administrator called Sawas Pasha. He not only constructed a girls school and a mosque but had streets laid out in a quadratic pattern with each road connected to the next, unlike the usual Greek village with its numerous, small blind alleys.
Venetian style architecture
Up to the middle of the 19th century Venetian style architecture characterised the buildings with poor people living in the traditional Kamaro-spiti houses. Between 1863 and 1913 Vamos was also the capital of the district of Sfakia when it grew in importance and style seeing the construction of many neo-classical villas for the rich tradesman, the so-called Konakia.
The village was badly damaged in a battle in 1876 when the mosque was totally destroyed and the girls school left in ruins. Recently however, with money from the EU, the school has been restored and is now used as a guest house. The revolution in 1896 attracted foreign interest to Crete and a meeting, with Roussos Koundouros presiding took place in Vamos with the aim of creating Cretian independence (see the memorial at the street corner to Kaina).
Agios Nikolaos and Agios Georgios churches in Vamos
Today, Vamos, with a population of 600 is a quieter but still busy place.
Around the central platea are many small shops, kafenia, grill-bars and tavernas also an English speaking dentist, a post-office and O.T.E. Office. Behind the platea the old town remains much as it was with small alleys, beautiful old houses and two interesting churches, Agios Nikolaos and Agios Georgios. Up the hill on the road to Vryses is a branch of the Agrotoki Bank and a small park with a taverna inside a restored villa. The Vamos Health-Centre is a short way out of town, another English speaking doctor is next door. Further down to road to Georgioupolis on the left is an ostrich farm.
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