Matala was the beacon for thousands of young people in the 1960s - and thousands more coming for just the memory of the legendary community. Now one Matala fan, Arn Strohmeyer, author of the book 'The Myth of Matala', is organizing a "reunion" - and inviting the world. If you've ever been to Matala, or just think you should have been there, now is your chance to meet like-minded people and make new memories of Matala in June, 2011.
The actual dates of the reunion are June 11th-13th, but my guess is that two days will not be enough for most of those who wander back to Matala.
As one who has spent a fair amount of time staring at the iconic cave-carved cliffs and musing over their curiously magnetic quality which keeps many coming back to the little beach town on the south coast of Crete over and over again, it sounds like an ideal excuse to visit. Who knows, maybe one of the many famous musicians - among them Joni Mitchell - who stayed in the caves during the late 60's and early 70's will make an appearance.
While Strohmeyer lit the match, it seems like the event is now taking on a life of its own and will include music, concerts, exhibitions, and a "Woodstock" feel.
The artificial caves in the cliff of the Matala bay were created in the Neolithic Age. Matala was the port of Phaistos during the Minoan period. In the year 220 BC. Matala was occupied by the Gortynians and during the Roman period Matala became the port of Gortys. In the 1st and 2nd centuries the caves were used as tombs. One of the caves is called "Brutospeliana" because according to the legend it was frequented by the Roman general Brutus.Matala was then a fishing village. In the 1960s the caves were occupied by hippies who were later driven out. Now Matala is a small village living mainly from tourism.
Canadian folk singer Joni Mitchell's experiences with the Matala hippies were immortalised in her 1971 song Carey.