Written by: Mr. Routaki
November ’08

Building houses – a family tradition.

Maybe you have already noticed the traditional style of houses on Crete. Because Crete is an area with a higher risk for earthquakes, it is ordered by law that steel reinforcement and concrete is used for the construction of houses.

The steel reinforcement can be seen in many buildings, sticking out the top. The reason behind this is that one could enjoy a tax benefit if you made sure the house was not finished.
One made sure the first floor of the house was finished, but not the top floor.
Since this law is no longer valid, you will start to see more houses and buildings that have been completed.

Another reason for the unfinished houses is the fact that they are used as a dowry. In Crete it is still tradition and custom to give the daughter a house when she gets married. This house will usually be situated above the parental residence. The house will be completed when there is more money available, which will be the case by the time the daughter gets married.

Of course this arrangement benefits both sides. The grandparents can babysit possible grandchildren, but also the other way around; the daughter can look after her parents when they start to come of age and need extra care. The healthcare system is based on this.

In case of a possible divorce the house remains in possession of the daughter at all times. The divorcing husband can never claim the house or a share of it.