Plateaus in Crete



Limnakaro Plateau
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The Limnakaro Plateau lies on the northern slopes of Mount Dikti, near the Lassithi Plateau, at an altitude of 1120 metres above sea level. It is enclosed by the peaks Spathi (2148 m) to the east-southeast, Strovili (1533 m) to the west and Megali Korfi (1309 m) to the north. The plateau covers an area of approximately 75 hectares and is inclined. Most of its part is covered with gravel; only the northern part of the plateau, measuring about 30 hectares, is composed of cultivatable soil.

Fruit trees flourish on Limnakaro, especially apples and pears (particularly the delicious winter pears). The walnuts of Limnakaro are also famous for not being hollow; at position Skafidia there are walnut trees which are hundreds of years old, forming a small walnut grove. Limnakaro was once farmed intensively, but nowadays it is used mainly as a pasture by several shepherds. In recent years there have been attempts to grow more trees there, especially walnuts. 

There are three roads accessing the place of medium to poor quality. The first is about 6 km long and runs from Agios Georgios via Vassilikos, Poros and Pouliou To Nero, reaching Limnakaro at Skafidia. The second road runs from Avrakondes via Katsoura, Adilo and Fasoselo, past the cave of Peristera and ends in the middle of the west side of the plateau. The third road is a small bypass of road Katofygi- Kaminaki: on the third kilometer to Katofigi take the track on the left; this will take you via Sklavomytis to Agio Pnevma position (3.4 km).

Limnakaro is crossed by the European E4 hiking footpath that goes up from the Lasithi Plateau to the spring of Avarsami (1885m) and from there it descends to Selakano. On the way, one can bypass and reach the peaks of Spathi (2148m) and Afendis Christos (2141m). To serve the hikers that trek in the wildest part of Dikti there is the mountaineering shelter in Strovili, which is also accessed via dirt track from Limnakaro.

These roads have led to the slight development of the area, with several country houses being built in recent years. The church of Agio Pnevma at Limnakaro (the Holy Spirit) is a two-aisled basilica in the northwest corner of the plateau. With the addition of the second aisle, it now looks like a three-aisled church facing north, with the middle aisle higher than the others. The oldest aisle is dedicated to the Transfiguration and dates from the Venetian period. It contains fragments of frescoes, meaning that it was built before the middle of the 15th century. On the feast of the Holy Spirit there is a great festival here attended by crowds of people. During the service, the shepherds head their sheep in the church, where they are blessed by the priest.

The service of the Great Hours is also held here on the morning of Good Friday. The Epitaph (Christ's bier, containing an icon of Christ after the Descent from the Cross) is decorated with flowers from the plateau, and then carried in procession through the idyllic landscape. The litany of the epitaph is an experience not to be missed.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Accessibility: Dirt track
  • Altitude (m): 1120
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