Mochos is one of the four main settlements of the Malia municipality (now incorporated into the larger Hersonissos Dimos) and is 40 Km from the capital Heraklion (Iraklio). The village is mountainous and has its roots back in the second Byzantine period. Stalida (Stalis) is its harbour town and had 987 inhabitants in the 2001 survey. Together, from 1940, they became Mochos community. Today, they are part of the Malia municipality along with Krasi. The views from the road from Stalida to Mochos (9 Km) are magnificent with alternating sea and mountain views. The first sight of the village nestling in a hollow with the imposing mountains as a backdrop is breathtakingly beautiful. The road continues through the village square, where you can stop for traditional refreshments and watch the world go by for a short (or long) time. It then continues on to the church of "Panagia Kera" and the plateau of Lassithi.
In the village of Mochos itself, you can find houses and traditional alleys which date back to the 16th century. Famous churches with old bysantine icons such as Archangel Michael, Virgin Mary (the old central church of the village, where the iconostasis dates to 1820), Saint George, Saint Panteleimon and "Evangelismos of Theotokos" (dedicated to the Mother of Jesus) which is todays' central church in the square. Here you can find three Byzantine icons from the mid 15th century and a small copper icon.
A major celebration honouring Mary, mother of Jesus is held in the central square of the village and the church each year on 14th/15th August. Everyone is welcome and there is traditional Cretan music, dancing, good local wine and delicious traditional food. The celebrations continue long into the early hours (usually around 5 or 6am).
During the summer months of June, July, August and in September (dependant on the weather) the village also hosts a traditional Cretan night, every Wednesday, between 8.00 and 11 pm. Traditional food, wine, music and dancing are available at the local tavernas. This is an effort by the Mochos community to give the foreign visitors the opportunity to live an unforgetable experience of Cretan traditions and hospitality, to have a good time and join in the dancing with the locals. They also have the opportunity to admire the professional dancers with the traditional costumes of Crete. There are bus transfers from all the local bus stops, and if preferred accommodation is available locally at the hotel or in a studio.
Village weddings, which usually take place on a Saturday night, are very large, very noisy and go on very late (usually 5 or 6am). They have to be experienced to be believed. Take a look at the photo albums to get a little insight into being in this wonderful traditional village, although you really need to come and experience it first hand to really understand how wonderful it is.
Mochos also holds one of the few remaining traditional carnivals which is always held one week before actual carnival day. This is because the main carnival on the island is held in Rethymnon and we don't want to clash dates! The carnival date is taken from the Greek Orthodox calendar and is the day before Lent commences and everyone gives up eating meat. The whole village square is filled with people drinking and dancing, the drinks are free and traditional carnival soup is made in massive couldrons. As is usual for the village the festivities continue until around 5 or 6 am.
Parking is available in the village free of charge, on the right hand side just before you enter the village from Stalida (Stalis) and on the side of the road before the village if entering from the other side.
Please do be sensitive when visiting the churches, these are active places of worship in a traditional village, make sure you are not dressed inappropriately as you may inadvertantly offend local residents.
Please also be aware that if you hear a series of three bells from one church and then another, in a round, this is the traditional notification of a death in the village. If you hear this round of bells, followed by lots of bells and chanting from the church this is the traditional funeral, which will be taking place in the Central church. Please do not visit the church whilst a funeral is taking place, as it is considered highly offensive to do so (and yes, I have seen people do this - including taking photographs!).