The city of Malia is situated in the county of Heraklion Crete. It is characterized as a city full of hotels and there are many tourist shops. But there are mostly clubs and bars. The city developed during the decade of ΄70s because of the mass tourism with the peak in the decade of΄80s. The decade of ΄90s show the beginning of decline and the city turned to the grouptourism of the European youth to maintain the old levels of tourism.
The traditional architecture collapsed and instead new three-storey buildings arose. The ground floor usually hosts a shop and on the other floors the residence of the owner can be found and also rooms to let. All these buildings are gathered along one street, Dimokratias Avenue.
Malia’s behaviour is related to each season. In summer it is one big party, in winter the city is deserted and in the spring the preparation for the new big party starts.
The city copies pictures and landscapes of other popular places of the world to welcome the visitors. Happenings and situations are reconstructed in Dimokratias street. Bright colours are used as well as intense lighting and settings are put up based on popular foreign models and ultimate freedom is offered. The city is as an outdoor scene which hosts different streettheatre every year.
The local residents call Malia Las Vegas of Crete. This is because of the things the two cities have in common. Las Vegas is also organized along a road, the well-known Las Vegas Strip, while the “monumental” buildings copy the existing monuments of the world. Malia is the imitation of LasVegas because it uses the same rules to attract visitors with a different product to promote.
Malia loses its traditional identity and embraces data from other civilizations which results in a new definition of its identity and a creation of a new one.
The local residents are not very satisfied with the development of their city but they maintain it so that they will not lose the economic prosperity. But if the necessity of the residents had not come up to turn to the young tourists, would the development of the city have been different? Would the traditional characteristics have been maintained or would other clues have been copied? The city of Malia might have imitated another model which could have defined a new identity.