Lassithi Plateau, a different world 45 minutes south of Hersonissos
Lassithi Plateau, located just 45 minutes away from Hersonissos, is a place blessed by nature and gods. It is one of the few locations in the world featuring permanent residents at a height over 800m. The plateau opens up to the western feet of Mount Dikti at the Eastern Part of Crete. It is an area of 25 sq kilometers and mild climate.
Lassithi Plateau is known for its thousands of white sailed windmills; it is estimated that there were 10,000 windmills, as they were used to irrigate the plain. This was a scenic way of supplying water to the area and it was designed by the Venetians in 1464. Just a few of these windmills are in use today and many of them have been seriously damaged, however the sight when approaching the Plateau is still stunning, as the white sails create a superb sight against the mountains.
The most worth seeing group of windmills lies at the northern part of the Lassithi Plateau, at the area called Seli Ampelou; there are 24 windmills remaining and they are well preserved and standing. These windmills were moved there during the 19th century, and they are considered part of the rich cultural heritage of Crete, as the specifically designed and located windmills for irrigation and other agricultural tasks are found only in Crete and Karpathos, a remote Greek Island of the Aegean Sea.
The area was one of the most important areas of the Minoan civilization, as the numerous remains found in the area prove. The main settlement in Lassithi was built in the 15th century and has linked its history and development has always been linked to the plateau.
Lassithi Plateau features a mild climate for the biggest part of the year, although winters could be really cold, with snow both in the plain and the mountains.
Diktaion Andron Cave in Lassithi Plateau
Lassithi Plateau is surrounded by villages and places of tourist and archaeological interest; the most known and important one is the Diktaion Andron, the birthplace of Zeus according to the Myth. The cave where Zeus was born is located close to the village of Psychro, it was discovered in 1880 and contains a vast array of relics that date back to the archaic and Minoan Era.
The Diktaion Andron cave is much more than an archaeological site though; it is a place of unique beauty, standing out from the 3,000 caves in Crete. The visitors who enter the cave can see a long and steep passage that takes them almost 60m under the ground, where an impressive pool, stalagmites and stalactites can be found. Not all chambers of the cave are accessible, but the visitors can see the ones where an altar to God Zeus and his mother Rea used to be.
Several excavations have taken place in this cave, as it used to be a cult place of significant importance. These excavations were carried out throughout many years, by many different archaeologists, both Greek and foreigners.
Lassithi Plateau is a place you cannot afford to miss; you can easily reach the area with a car from Hersonissos Car hire and admire the amazing frescoes at Kera Monastery, or taste some of the known local flavours in the village of Kera.