The hosts of KTIRAKIA studios: Babis und Ursula

The  hosts:

Ursula und Babis Papajoannou

We were born in 1954/1955 and are a Greek-German couple for over four decades. After eight years together in Heidelberg, We settled after eight years together in Germany in 1989 here in Greece.

After some searching we found our dream land: an 8,000 square meter hilltop property with beautiful old olive trees and enchanting views.

Here we personally created our small holiday resort with four studios.

For four years, the two of us built the two houses largely alone: in a post and beam construction, with cross boarding made of Greek pine and cypress wood on the outside walls and plasterboard inside. We even managed the excavation including the concreting of the strip foundations and the entire foundation slab - with spades and shovels, cement mixers and wheelbarrows - on our own.

In the early stages of construction, our property was not yet supplied with electricity. That came much later. So all the beams had to be cut to the right length with a hand saw. Sometimes the motor chainsaw did the trick. We didn't have any screws either. When we started out in Greece, you couldn't buy them anywhere. So we used giant nails to build up the basic framework of the houses up to and including the roofs. That was literally awesome!

During the four years of construction, we rented an old building in the nearby town of Gythio, commuting back and forth – every morning to our country site to the construction site and late afternoon back to the city. We had already built a small, optimally equipped garden house on our property in advance - of course also made of wood - which was our practice piece in wooden house construction and which served us as comfortable construction site accommodation. But it was decidedly too small for proper living. And as I said, there was no electricity at first. Gas was used for cooking. Both the refrigerator and the light were powered by a 12 V battery from our VW bus installed next door.

Apart from just building the houses, we also managed a lot of additional work and installations. How many meters of ditches for water and power lines, for sewage pipes and irrigation hoses, dig countless planting holes for additional trees and shrubs - and all this with a clay soil that is unrivaled in terms of density.
In between, the olives had to be harvested, the spring wild growth scythed (!), bureaucracy to be dealt with and the authorities to run up against them, quite apart from obtaining credit on which the realization of the whole thing depended.
And what an effort it was to sand down all the many thick visible roof beams high up in their place, since we were forced to assemble them in their roughly planed state due to a lack of electricity. I'll never forget that! Because I, Ursula, was the orbital sander on duty in our work duo and stood day after day for weeks at 38 degrees or more summer heat in a bikini with sneakers dripping with sweat on the ladder, swallowed and breathed in what felt like kilos of fine dust through my skin and lungs and today I can't believe how I got through and endured it. The open-air grinding, on the other hand, was child's play, as you can see here.

It all cost us a lot of strength and nerves...! But we had to go through with it and built and built and built – even some of the furniture ourselves, i.e. tables and beds. Thank goodness a German carpenter emigrated to here at the same time as us and we commissioned him to produce at least the four fitted kitchens and also the stairs that lead to the respective sleeping gallery of the holiday studios. And to be honest, the floor tiles were not laid by us, but by a German specialist.
In June 1993 the first of the four holiday studios was ready for rent. The interior of the other three was only gradually completed. This brought us to the question of naming. Babis prevailed in his belief that “KTIRAKIA” was appropriate. That was the Byzantine toponym for the settlement area around our property and Babis thought it was good to bring that back to life. Because it means something like “small buildings”. We didn't consider how difficult the word would be for non-Greeks to pronounce at the time and only found out as things went on. But by then it was too late to change the name.

The next challenge was that of “sourcing” guests. Where did you get it from in the age without the internet? An advertising sign on the main road brought initial success, as did an advertisement in a Greek accommodation catalogue. The primary guests were anyway friends or relatives. We felt strange taking money from them, but we hadn't set it up for fun, we had built it to have a income.

We have no staff to represent us, apart from the occasional cleaning lady. We are the only direct contact and not only that. We are also happy to advise and give advices for excursions or other activities. 

Easter party at KTIRAKIA studios

During the 30 years we have met wonderful people, many of whom have become real friends and we made parties with them. Overall, we were able to experience that the personal level on which we maintain our resort and the relaxed contact between us and the guests is a gain for everyone and leaves enriching memories.

So much for our history as hosts.
We are pleased that you have discovered our resort and look forward to welcoming you.


Mavrovouni Ktirakia
23200 Gythio 
Laconia of Greece   

Contact data:

Landline: +30 27330 24585 
Mobile: +30 6978 062353


Gythio town
Real estate service

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