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Crete's Lasithi Prefecture Overview continued Page Four

The Lasithi Plain

Karphi Minoan settlement

much like the Incas were forced to seek higher ground by the conquistadorsThe highest Minoan peak sanctuaries were found on Mt. Karphi ('karphi' being a nail) an hour's hard hike up the mountain, at 1160 meters/3,800 feet. The southeast slope of this spire-like mountain had been a refuge in 1100 BC for 3000 Minoan's during the Dorian invasions of the time and the village built there one of the last stands of Minoan civilization. Excavated during the late 1930s, 150 single-story stone houses were found, along with a chieftain's house, a temple, a tower, and a shrine with some of the last goddess figurines, the latter dating to around 1050 BC, and housed in the Heraklion archaeological museum.

terracota figurineThese terra cotta figurines were strange idols, a full meter tall with long necks and removable feet, though with the familiar upraised arms. There were paved alleys in this village and a hand-grindstone found there. The site was peacefully evacuated in 1000 BC after perhaps an entire century of occupancy. Up on these high mountain peaks you may get to see some fantastic birds of prey such as the griffon vulture or even the lammergeier (bearded vulture, which has been close to extinction).

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