Lassithi Plateau, Greece

Crete Lassithi
Crete Lassithi (Photo credit: Mhinner~commonswiki)

Lassithi Plateau also known as Oropedio Lasithiou is a large plain in Eastern Crete, Greece. It has an altitude of about 2755 feet. It covers approximately 15,500 square feet. It is inhabited all year round despite the large amount of snow it receives. This snow tends to stay until well into spring. The run off from the snow creates ideal soil, which is what originally drew people to the area.

This plateau has been inhabited since 6000 BC. For two centuries after 1293, it was abandoned due to rebellions that made it unsafe to live there. After this threat passed, the plateau was a safe haven to refugees from the mainland. Because crops were a major source of vitality for them, they created ditches for irrigation that are still used today. The Lassithi Plateau is famous for its white windmills that would irrigate the crops. There are many photo opportunities with the windmills in front of the mountains. There were 10,000 in use at one time but most go unused currently. This is a large attraction for tourist and there is a desire to restore the windmills.

Tzermiado01 (Photo credit: Nikater)

Currently there is a town located on the plateau called Tzermiado. In 2001, this town had a population of 3,152. There are also many other small villages spread over the plateau. There are caves on the plateau and it is said in Greek mythology that Zeus was born in one of them. The caves hold archaeological interest. There have been many artifacts found including fragments of stone vases and altars, knives, swords and daggers among many other historically relevant items. You are able to drive to the plateau as well as to and from most places on it. To get to some of the caves you will need to walk or ride a donkey. It is important to have appropriate rubber soled shoes on to avoid slipping on the rocks.

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