Prostitutes, rebetes and mages were the residents of the Lakkos neighbourhood. In Lakos, there were weird feasts, hashish making and other illegal acts that could take place in such a run-down neighborhood. It is in the south-western side of the Heraclion city, near the Vithleem Gate and the Martinego fortress.
The story of Lakos begins in 1900 when the Cretan State orders the gathering of all the brothels in certain isolated areas. Firstly, the Christian ones gathered in the area where Agios Dimitrios is today and the Muslim ones were in the today’s area of Agia Triada. The houses of distinguished citizens of Heraclion were near the Christian brothels (in the 25thAugust Street) and they could not stand being so close to prostitutes. So the brothels were moved to the area of Lakkos that was ideal as the English military camp was next to it and because of its isolated position.
Rebetes and mages were also in the same area, opened many taverns, created a local dialect, used nicknames and had their hierarchy and the passions of their way of life.
The Minor Asian destruction and the population exchange played an important role for the development of the neighborhood. Minor Asian refugees found shelter in Lakkos so the area became an important place of cultural creation. The people of Lakkos adopted the traditions of Minor Asia and had feasts with typical Minor Asian musical instruments such as the santouri, violin, outi and toumprleki and playing their melodies such as karsilamas, zeimpekiko and amanes.
Lakkos flourished till some years before the Second World War. During the Second World War, the area was bombed by the Germans and the women of the brothels went to a central hotel in order to please the needs of German soldiers. After the German Occupation, the area tried to recover but it couldn’t till 1960 when the brothels were moved from the area.
Today’s Lakos is changed. It is full of colours and liveliness after the work of the volunteer residents and businessmen of the area in cooperation with the Heraclion municipality. The Australian artist Mathew Halpin, a resident of the area, is the main reason of that work.
“The Lakkos project” is the name of the group of the local artists, businessmen and residents of Heraclion that work to make that neighbourhood of Heraclion more beautiful and creative.