The famous European ghost town frozen in time after being abandoned almost overnight

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun29,2024

Before WW2, the village was home to 1,750 residents, but as their wells dried up, they all decided to relocate. By 1965 there was only one inhabitant left.

Today, the village persists as a ruined ghost town. 

Today, there are more goats than people. Until recently, the only signs that Mikro Chorio on Tilos Island, Greece, ever existed were the crumbling stone walls which cover the hillside. 

Almost all the houses have no roofs as when the villagers decided to relocate to the island’s port area, they took their roofs, doors and windows with them. Wood was in short supply even then. 

The church Timia Zoni, originally dating from 1787, has been renovated to its original state, and now stands distinctively on the hillside with its whitewashed walls and bright red-orange tiled roof. 

Outside sits the cemetery, with graves unlike many in Greece, with stone-covered tops and crosses. One particularly well-kept grave, just outside the entrance to the church, is thought to be that of a priest due to its  condition. 

The main attraction is the castle that was built on top of the village during the 14th-century by the Knights of Saint John. 

It is possible to hike to Mikro Chorio from Livadia, on a well-marked path, taking about 50 minutes, but it can also be accessed by car. Another popular hike takes you from Lethra beach, through which you can follow the stream gorge up to the village but this route is more difficult and takes about an hour and a half. 

Today, the oak and olive trees offer lodgings for the birds every spring. The village is a particularly exciting venture for bird watchers, with Bonelli’s Eagles, Long-legged Buzzards and Eleonora’s falcons having been spotted, according to Kalispera Tilos

Some other buildings have been renovated in recent years. Today, one ruined home has been revamped and turned into an atmospheric summer bar – Mikro Chorio Music Bar. From 11pm, a free shuttle bus runs here from nearby Livadia until the early morning — filling the village with chatter and footsteps after almost 60 years.

Visitors on Tripadvisor said the village was “well worth a wander, head up to the church at the top for the most amazing views! Lots of pretty houses full of character, gardens spilling over with colourful flowers and the most beautiful old church with painted icons, it was a delight.”

One who stayed well into the night said: “When you get out of the artificial light, the night sky is amazing with the Milky Way in full view.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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