Last modified: 2019-10-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: oropedio lasithiou |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors
Flag of Oropedio Lasithiou - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 4 July 2019
The municipality of Oropedio Lasithiou (2,387 inhabitants in 2011, 13,000 ha) is located in central eastern Crete. Its capital is the village of Tzermiado (637 inh.). The municipality was not changed with the 2011 local government reform.
Ivan Sache, 4 July 2019
The flag of Oropedio Lasithiou (photo) is white with the municipal emblem in the center and name.
The emblem recalls the local, iconic windmills.
The plateau has been inhabited since around 600 BC, drawing settlers with willing soil and an only occasionally harsh climate. However, the high water table that makes the soil so fertile also makes tending to the land a bit tricky due to the water saturation. During the winters, rain run off would flood the fields, and destroy the harvest. To combat this, drainage ditches were dug that solved part of the problem.
Then in the 20th century, the signature white windmills started to pop up all over the plateau to help with proper irrigation. Most of the windmills had stone bodies, and white cloth sails. Eventually, around 10,000 of the iconic windmills appeared across the area, using wind power to pump water to the various fields. In conjunction with the previously dug ditches, the system was able to make crop production viable. It also had the added benefit of giving the area a lovely symbol.
Today, only around 5,000 of the windmills are still standing. Many of them have been abandoned, as people living on the plateau have taken to more modern means of irrigation. However the remaining windmills still remember a simpler time, and give the area a look like no where else in the world.
[ Atlas Obscura]
In the last decades of the previous century, inhabitants of the area found ancient items inside the cave; this fact led in 1886, the archaeologists Joseph Chatzidakis and F. Halbherr to the site, where they conducted an excavation, but not on a large scale. The cave was also investigated by A. Evans in 1897, by J. Demargne, and by G. Hogarth in 1899, but systematic excavation has not taken place yet. The finds uncovered during legal and illegal excavations were almost all published in 1961 by J. Boardman. The numerous offerings to the cave are now exhibited in the Herakleion Museum and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
At 1,025 m a.s.l., a steep path leads up to a plateau in front of the
narrow entrance to the cave. On the right side is an antechamber (42 x
19 m) with a rectangular altar, 1m. high, built of field stones; this
area yielded Neolithic potsherds, Early Minoan burials (2800-2200 BC),
and offerings of the Middle Minoan period (2200-1550 BC). In the
northern part of the antechamber, at a lower level, a chamber is formed,
which included an irregular enclosure with patches of roughly paved
floor, forming a sort of a temenos.
The large hall (84 x 38 m) has an inclined floor and a small chamber opening to the left end; one of its niches is called the liknon of Zeus. A larger chamber (25 x 12 m) formed on the right side is divided into two parts: one has a small pool, and the other a very impressive stalactite, known as "the mantle of Zeus". Inside the main chamber had been deposited many offerings, mostly bronze figurines and sheets, daggers, arrowheads, and double axes.
[Ministry of Culture and Sports]
Tomislav Šipek & Ivan Sache, 4 July 2019