Medieval Tower of


Lithines Tower
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Lithines is a large village located 26km southwest of Sitia, which is considered to have taken its name after the Byzantine feudal noble Loukas Litinos. In the middle of the village there was a three-storey Venetian tower, built by the Venetians to secure their dominance over the wider region. It is considered that the tower belonged to the feudal family of Francesco Vlachos, as the crest of the Vlachos family is still surviving on a tomb in Agios Athanasios church. When the Turks conquered the region of Sitia, they found the tower in excellent condition and used it immediately so as to oversee the area.

In 1828, rebels from Gramvousa fortress, led by G. Tsouderos, managed to liberate the province and force the Ottomans to find shelter in the local towers and forts. The Turks coming from Lithines and Roukaka (current Chrysopigi village), 140 armed men and 250 women, found shelter in the tower of Lithines. The rebels besieged the tower for two days, but the Turks resisted bravely. In contrast, they managed to kill 14 Greek by shooting at them.

Eventually, Tsouderos and a Sfakian soldier, called Platsis, managed to approach the tower, open a hole in the wall and put in a jug filled with gunpowder. They, put the wick on fire and the dynamite exploded. After the explosion, the tower caught fire and the Turks tried to extinguish it. However, the panicked Turks threw a barrel with raki (Cretan spirit - alcohol) on the fire and the tower lit up like a firework. Thus, all of them were burned alive except from a woman who jumped onto a mattress placed under the tower by the rebels. There were some gruesome testimonies, saying that while burning sounds were heard coming from the eyes popping out…

The tower was never restored and, thus, there is nothing today left of this monument. However, a reference to it was necessary, due to the story it hides.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture

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