Lassithi Plateau

Location: Tzermiado   

The Plateau of Lassithi Crete: Located within the prefecture of Lassithi in Crete and spread over an area of 25 square kilometers, the Lassithi Plateau is one of the most fascinating elements of the topography of Crete and has a rich history dating back to the Neolithic period. The highly fertile plateau, endowed with an abundance of greenery, is watered by the melting snowcaps of the Dikti Mountain that form a natural fortification around the plateau.

Although tourism has become an integral part of the local economy, vegetables and fruit trees are widely grown on the plateau. In fact, the plateau of Lassithi is one of the most fertile regions of Greece and gives high-quality products, such as apples, pears, walnuts, cherries and almonds.

Often described as the plateau of windmills, the plateau of Lassithi numbers nearly ten thousand windmills. The old windmills, with their torn white-cloth sails, make a spectacular sight set against the backdrop of Dikti Mountain. Most of these have, however, fallen to disuse and have turned into signposts for local taverns. However, others have been restored or new, modern windmills were constructed to get a better use of the wind that blows often over the plateau.

The plateau of Lassithi is dotted with about twenty Greek villages, each more picturesque than the other. One of the high points of the plateau is the Dikteon Andron, a cave explored by the British archaeologist David Hogarth. Standing at an elevated point on the plateau, the cave, according to Homer, was the place where Rhea hid baby Zeus, the supreme deity of the Greek pantheon, from his father Cronos to get raised there by a nymph. The cave has some interesting stalactites and stalagmites and remains of early cults.

There is also a number of churches and monasteries in the area that are worth visiting. They include the church of the Holy Cross at Tzermiado and the famous Monastery of Panagia Kroustallenia in the village of Agios Konstantinos. There is also a Folk Museum and a museum dedicated to Eleftherios Venizelos at the village of Agios Georgios.

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