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A kalderimi is a cobblestone-paved road built for hoofed traffic. It is a significant cultural heritage of the Ottoman (Turkish) ages and still a great opportunity for hiking. A kalderimi may cross the mountains or connect villages with pastures. Some villages in South Crete were accessible only by kalderimi until 1960 (or even 1980). Wikipedia de, Wikipedia en

A kalderimi is a bridle path, but not suited for horses. It is paved, but not suited for vehicles. It is mainly used by hikers, but still also by mules and donkeys. OSM might become a great ressource to collect data on the remains of the kalderimi netowrk ... if we had a dedicated tag to mark it somehow different from a common footpath. Not at least this would reflect the significance of the cultural heritage.

asked 16 Jan '14, 15:26

GerdHH's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 16 Jan '14, 15:30


Crossposted to the Greek community

(22 Jan '14, 10:57) GerdHH

could this be one of these kalderimi?:

found here:

I found it in the middle of nowhere, not wide enough for cars and in a region where horse carts and such wouldn't go far.

(01 Feb '14, 17:03) malenki

IMHO it looks more like a modern paved track, i.e. "too perfect". Typical for a kalderimi is that it climbs steep ascents in "stairs" or "zigzags". It is made of rather big stones, larger that you woukd think a man could lift (typcally one step is made of three stones). In plain section they often did not bother about pavement.

Thanks for you questions; they give me some ideas to add more details to the Wikipedia article.

(03 Feb '14, 10:31) GerdHH

Maybe you like this way better as kalderimi?:

Found at

Though it is also possible it is just an ancient steep paved footway

(04 Feb '14, 16:52) malenki

Mule paths have always been an interesting but minor issue in tagging. In the English Pennines there are many pack horse trails, often with distinctive bridges. There is a mule trail, the Bright Angel Trail down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, which is very narrow. There are many in Alpine areas too. I can also think of old mule paths in Glarus, and up the hillside from Belgirate. I've never been able to map these because they are totally shaded by trees.

I think there are three basic/fundamental types of highways, that have existed in one form or another since mankind domesticated the horse: for 4-wheeled vehicles (roads/tracks), people on horseback (bridleways) and people on foot. (Obviously there are more recent special cases such as motorways and cycleways; I might be wrong but I don't believe wheelbarrows ever received dedicated highways).

Mule paths must belong to one or other of the latter categories. If they are not passable by a person on horseback I would suggest that they must be footway/path (according to choice). Obviously many old mule paths are wide enough now for 4-wheel vehicles and may be graded as tracks.

Therefore in your case I would

  • tag this as a footway/path. If it's not suitable for horses it's not a bridleway. (Bridleways not signposted as such can be recognised by higher clearance of any foliage, wider curves etc.)
  • add a historic tag something like historic=mule_path, with possibly an adjectival tag to show that it belongs to the kalderimi (not sure if this is good greek) class of these things.

Lastly the class of pack animal trails is of particular significance in the context of Historical mapping, and specifically in the pre-Columbus Americas where there were no wheeled vehicles.

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answered 17 Jan '14, 12:43

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦
accept rate: 22%

edited 02 Feb '14, 23:31


Thanks a lot for your suggestions.

First of all I've learned that Wikipedia incorrectly identifies the German Saumpfad (a path for pack animals) with the English bridle path (a path for people riding on a horse). There are truly pack animal trails in every mountains, but I guess the Greek (or Ottoman) kalderimia are something special, as they are carefully paved and crossing even the steepest cliffs. For more details and photos see the Wikipedia links (which also prove that kalderimi is a Greek word and well established terminus technicus).

Thus highway=bridleway would truly be misleading, while some "historic" attribute would fit best. Of course I had checked the paths in SW Crete, but they just use highway=footpath. Personally I would prefer "historic=kalderimi", because it is something really special, not just a "mule path".

(22 Jan '14, 10:24) GerdHH

"Historic Place" is now rendering "historic=mule_path" with a cute mule. See: Aradena gorge

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answered 13 Apr '16, 10:53

GerdHH's gravatar image

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edited 13 Apr '16, 11:00

I have the same issue when mapping alpine areas in North West Italy. We've got plenty of old mule paths here, with the same features of Greek "kalderimi"--cobblestone paved, with steps and switchbacks, crib walls.

At first I also thought a dedicated tag would be needed for mule paths. After all, we do have a specific tag for bridleways, so why not for paths for pack animals? But after reading SK53's answer, I think mule paths may well be tagged as paths. Nowadays they are mainly used by hikers--not pack animals. So, mule paths are different from common paths more from a historical perspective than for any current functional characteristics. Therefore, I believe that adding historic=mule_path would be enough to map them properly.

True, they are physically different from normal paths, because, as we said, they're paved with stones, and have steps and switchbacks, which are features less commonly found in other paths. These physical differences would be of interest for people who, like me, ride down mule paths on their bikes. But we have other tags for the physical features of paths, mainly surface=cobblestone. Furthermore, that historic tag might be used to render mule paths differently in maps for mountain biking.

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answered 22 Apr '14, 15:58

solitone's gravatar image

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Some printed maps have a special (usually green) color along paths of every kind (footpaths or roads) that show it's a route "worth seeing". (usually because of its view, but not necessarily just for that)

To be honest I do not know if a tag exists to express the same thing in osm.

maybe in conjunction with the previous suggestions, a tag of this kind could also help to further distinguish a kalderimi from a simple footpath?

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answered 01 Feb '14, 11:41

Chris_gr's gravatar image

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edited 01 Feb '14, 11:42

OSM has route relations to express such things. Unfortunately they are a litte bit more complicated to understand at first.

(01 Feb '14, 16:52) scai ♦

Old German maps (including the modern Harms) used to show these paths as "paved roads" (white line with double contour ===== ). This gave them an unintended career as "main road" on the micro maps you get from car rental ... giving us a lot of fun spotting tourists searching for "roads", where only steep (but paved!) mountain paths exist. ;-)

(03 Feb '14, 10:42) GerdHH

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question asked: 16 Jan '14, 15:26

question was seen: 15,940 times

last updated: 13 Apr '16, 11:00

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum