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Crete's Lasithi Prefecture Overview continued Page Three

The Lasithi Plain

the lasithi plainthe circular bowl of the plain mapReally a round plateau, like a bowl, ringed by mountains. The soil that has created the brilliant green patchwork of crops in the bowl has come down from those mountains, and potatoes, pears, figs, apples, olives, cereals, are all grown there. The villages sit higher up along the rim of the bowl, hence avoiding the spring floods (from melted snow) and in summer the windmills pump water back up to the drier land. Though there are still some of the old cloth-sailed , stone wind-mills still working (also for grinding wheat), most have been replaced with gas-run pumps since the 1970s. The Venetians built 10,000 of them for irrigation of orchards during the fifteenth century after a century-long ban on cultivation and pasture following rebellions by the Cretans, during which the Venetians banished all of them, destroyed their villages and guarded the passes to keep them out.

There is a ring of eighteen villages around and above the plateau, the largest of which is Tzermiado with a population of about 1500. Trapeza was a sacred cave dating from 5000 BC where votive offerings were left, which was used as a burial ground during Minoan times.

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