In 1917, a little-known writer called Nikos Kazantzakis arrived in Stoupa from CreteIn 1917, a little-known writer called Nikos Kazantzakis arrived in Stoupa from Crete and established a small lignite mining business in the cliffs behind Stoupa. He recruited an engineer from northern Greece to help him and so Giorgos Zorbas came to Stoupa - and a legend was born.
Zorbas was an almost "larger than life" character. At work he was inventive and imaginative and at leisure he was irrepressible, spontaneous and fond of a drink! There were no roads, so the lignite had to be taken from Stoupa by boat but it was also difficult to get it from the mine to the coast using pack-mules and donkeys, so Zorbas devised a fantastic cable and rail system to do the work.
In 1946, Kazantzakis, by now an established and respected author, published his best-known novel "Zorba the Greek" and the film was released in 1964.
All over the world, people were enthralled with the man who epitomized the quintessential Greek character and more than anything else, they were fascinated by his exuberance -- especially in the scene where he is compelled by his nature to dance on the beach. This scene, together with the music of Mikis Theodorakis, became the icon of what it means to be "Greek".
Although the book and film were both set in Crete, the inspiration and real-life Zorba experience took place in Stoupa.