Resilient mountain communities flourish in Crete, Greece


The following is a note received from the University of the Mountains in Crete, Greece. The Mountain Partnership member is a nonprofit initiative of the University of Crete, formed to bring academia closer to the society of Crete’s mountains.

This year, Greece celebrates the 199th anniversary of the Greek revolution. In all the crises that Greece and its people have overcome in the last two centuries, self-sufficiency has played the most critical role for them to stand strong and survive. 

The main tools of survival of the country’s mountain village inhabitants, especially in Crete, include their self-sufficiency and resilience. These people eat clean, organic food that they cultivate themselves in a pure Mediterranean habitat, and wear handwoven clothes, which they produce from natural threads like linen, silk and wool.

These acts play a major role for mountain communities to maintain good physical and psychological health. Mental discipline, seen in fasting for religious purposes (e.g. for Orthodox Easter), and strong faith in divine love, serenity and truth protect these populations from danger and nurture a bright and colorful future.

These means of survival are especially important in times such as today, as the world battles the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite more than two weeks of being restricted to homes, the people of Crete’s mountains - even small children - are still vigorous and joyful, painting with vivid colors the better days that are coming. 

During this worldwide pandemic, the University of the Mountains continues its 15 years of excellent work for the sustainability and expansion of the Cretan civilization. The organization is working constantly from home with its volunteers assisting the community and the country in any way possible to overcome this crisis with high hopes.

Through the Penelope Gandhi Mission, a pioneering project of the University of the Mountains, local women continue their weaving projects, teaching the young girls how to live with pride and bravery, dressed with our history and our civilization that still survives after 5 000 years.  

As always, the mountain peaks are the pillars for holding this world in its place.

Message and photo from the University of the Mountains

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