Information about the place OROPEDIO LASSITHIOU (Municipality) LASSITHI - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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Lassithi Plateau

  The plateau is 850 metres above sea level. It is 12km from east to west and 6km north to south and surrounded by high peaks, the highest is Spathi at 2,418 metres above sea level. These peaks protected the inhabitants of the plateau from attack. There are two entrances to the plateau: one is from the side of Agios Nikolaos and the other is a pass into the plateau coming from the Iraklion side through Kera. The Seli Ambelos Pass, at 900 metres, is dotted with abandoned windmills on either side. There is an impressive view of the plateau from here.
The fertile soil of the Lassithi Plateau is due to alluvial run-off from the mountains when the snow melts in the spring. The ditches on the plateau were installed by the Venetians in 1631 when they wanted to insure a good harvest. The irrigation was handled by the many visible windmills seen in the plateau. Most of these have been abandoned for the more efficient electrical pumps.
The main crops of the plateau are potatoes and apples. There are also many almond trees which blossom in late January (the Brides of Winter) giving the plateau a wonderful appearance.
People have inhabited Lassithi since Neolithic times (6000 B.C.) except for a period of 200 years during Venetian rule. The Venetians could not control the inhabitants of Lassithi because of its position in the mountains, so, once the people were relocated, they forbade the plateau to be inhabited under penalty of death. You may circle the plateau, visiting its villages along a paved road.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

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