The village of Agios Ioannis, located on the southern side of the southernmost Greek island of Crete, dates back to the 15th century. It's current permanent population is 37 inhabitants, as most of the original residents of the mountain settlement moved to the coastline villages of Ferma and Koutsounari when irrigation systems brought fresh water from the mountains to the coast. The village became largely uninhabited and many of the stone and mud structures fell into ruin. In the last three decades international settlers have begun to purchase and restore the ruins, to their own particular tastes. This means, amongst the ruins, one now finds stately Italian villas and English gardens. The Mudhouse is one of the few renovated structures to utilize traditional Cretan construction methods, as it's walls are made of silt and stone.
The village is 9km from the sea, up a twisting mountain road, and at 500m above sea level boasts an impressive view of the Libyan sea. There is spectacular hiking to both the east and the West. The eastern road leads to the village of Schinokapsala and crosses Pshiro hamlet, with a natural spring that winds its way to the sea and the only pine tree forest on Crete. The western road passes through goat grazing lands and olive tree orchards, over the Thripti mountains where it is possible at the narrowest span of the island to see both the East and West coastlines of Crete, to the even smaller village of Monastiraki, and a fantastic taverna. Shepherds graze their animals in the land around the village and June is the month of the sheep shearing festival.
The Minoans, Greeks very first civilization dating back to 2500 BC, was on Crete. Artists-in-residence may attend sketching excursions along the mountain trails as well as to the coastline, and a guided tour of the active archaeology dig of the Mycenaean/ Minoan civilization on the small outlying island of Mochlos, as well as the Florentine influenced monastery at Toplou.
Guests are accommodated in the homes and guest homes of the village residents. Agios Ioannis has a large international community, with residents from Italy, England, and Australia in addition to Greece. Each residence was rebuilt from the ruins of the original stone village to the specific taste of the owner, and no two residences are alike. None of the residences or the studio spaces were designed to accommodate guests with disabilities, although some arrangements may be possible. Linen is provided and laundry facilities are available. Most accommodations include Wifi and there is Wifi available at the Mudhouse. Independent Residents' workspace needs will be taken into account when determining accommodations. Additional guests as well as additional nights outside of the session can be arranged for an additional cost. Pets are not allowed.
Meals are taken twice daily in the local taverna, at 2:30pm and at 9pm, and are served family style. The taverna offers an excellent sampling of Cretan cuisine; shared plates, salads and savory pastries, in addition to daily specials and entrees, locally produced red and white wine, and the local "moonshine" raki. Accommodations can be made for specific dietary restrictions if notified in advance. Coffee, tea and a light breakfast is served buffet style each morning at the Mudhouse. Most residences are equipped with a kitchen and grocery orders, arranged through a local delivery service, can be provided at cost to the resident.
Reasonable household rules minimizing the negative impact the guest has on their lodgings must be observed. A security deposit of $100 is collected prior to the session and returned upon its conclusion if the residence has not incurred any damage or theft. The Mudhouse residents are encouraged to remember that they are the house guests of proud homeowners who feel a loving pride and protectiveness for their property. Abusive behavior is not tolerated. Noise levels must be respected. Smoking is not permitted inside the residences or studio spaces. Illegal drugs are not permitted.