Settlements of the Dark Era


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High above the village of Mirthios at Province Agios Vasilies rises the peak Kyrimianos at an altitude of 805 meters. It is an extremely rough and steep place, without trees except for some ancient cypress trees that have been left there to remind us that the mountain range that covers the valley of Agios Vasilios (Kouroupa) is the geological continuity of the White Mountains (that are covered with cypress trees). The closest way to approach the peek is from the north side, i.e. the settlement Kanevos. From there starts a rough dirt road which reaches the highlands of Lakkoudia that water the gorge of Boutsinas. The road stops at a spring of Anatolika from where the residents of Kyrimiano found water. Above the spring is the main body of Kyrimianos, i.e. a steep cliff forming an impassable natural stone wall. With a first look it is very hard to believe that someone can climb on the peak. Yet at the base of north side a slice of rock for 200 meters forms a natural path that can lead us (very carefully) on top.

On the east side there is a vertical cliff, while the western side is protected by a 300m high cliff (that is the east slope of the canyon Kotsifos). In this incredibly wild peak at an altitude of 805 meters, ancient Cretans built another village in the famous Dark Era (between the 12th and 8th century BC) in order to protect themselves from enemies. This place, above the clouds many times, served this need. The paradox is that this steep summit hosts three small plateaus that were used for the construction of buildings. In these small plateaus even today one can see scattered stones, little ceramic sherds and bases of walls and rooms and some carved stones (implying that some houses were carved in the rocks). In the largest of the plateaus, which was probably the main part of the settlement, on the south side, there is a crack closer that was built with staircases to connect with the south side. The most impressive feature is that the smallest plateau is encircled with large rocks, so the settlement was hidden even by someone on the highest opposite peaks.

On top of Kyrimianos we have spectacular views of the canyon Kotsifos and the White Mountains, the south coast, the villages Mirthios and Selia, and the center of Rethymnon prefecture. Below the steep peak we still meet the abandoned artificial terraces for cultivating.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Rethymnon Prefecture
  • Type: Ancient Settlement
  • Peak Period: Dark Age (1200 BC - 800 BC)
  • Accessibility: Walking

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