Our Heritage


The music and dance tradition of Crete reflects its history, its culture, as well as the experiences of its inhabitants. As a result, Cretan dances have both religious, warlike and erotic elements. Religious elements are evident in the slow troll dances, such as the Chania troll with its appearances and the slow one. The elements of war-fire are intense in jumping dances.

It is possible that all the jumping dances (with the exception of the pentozali) come from the same dance (ancient war dance of the pyrrhic), which is why they have the word jumping as the second component of their name. The erotic element dominates the show of Rethymno, which in ancient times belonged to the dances of the pyrrhic and during the Venetian rule it evolved into its current form. In other words, we would say that traditional Cretan dance is an art; an art that requires a modest dance ethos, respect for the ancestral dance heritage, and observance of the dance etiquette. The dancer speaks to his body as his soul engages in dialogue with God. His steps and his breath become one with the land that gave birth to him.

The traditional musical instrument balance for performing the dances is the violin (formerly also the viololyra) or the lyre (with or without hawks), which is accompanied by the lute. In addition to lute, traditional guitar instruments can be: the guitar, the mandolin, the daoulaki (only in the area of Sitia), the ascomandura, the hambioli, the mantoura and the bulgari. Today, bass and drums have been added, which are not traditional instruments.

The combination of instruments in traditional music scales varies by region. Thus, in Kissamos the violin with the lute dominates with or without the guitar accompaniment, in Apokoronas the lyre with the lute, in the prefecture of Rethymno and in Messara the lyre with the lute, in the province of Pediada and Vianno the violin with the lute and in prefecture of Lassithi the violin with the guitar and / or the lute. In some areas, both basic scales may traditionally coexist, such as e.g. in Ziros Sitia or in Chondros Viannou, where the lyre with the lute dominates instead of the violin with the lute.