Settlements at Range Asterousia

Amygdalos

Amygdalos at Asterousia Range
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At the range Asterousia to the south of Heraklion prefecture and just before reaching the village Paranymfi and the waterfall of Ambas we meet Amigdalos. The name of the village (almonds in Greek) is taken after the wild almond trees around. Amygdalos was a separate village to Paranymfi but due to the very short distance they seem like two neighborhoods of the same village. Today it has a few elderly residents and remains almost deserted.

During the Turkish occupation it was famous due to the very good climate and its important water spring, therefore it was one of the favorite dependencies of the Turks and its inhabitants were Turkish-Cretans. The Turkish aga of the region built a tower dominating the whole village where 14 large stone steps lead to the main gate. The tower with stairs is still a memory for the older villagers. Until a few years ago much of the tower was preserved but lately the owner of the tower demolished it and turned it to a house. Today we see the base of the masonry protruding due to the large width of revealing the impressive original building. At the entrance of the village there is the old fountain that runs the well-known water of the area that is extremely digestive and rich in minerals. According to tradition, this fountain was there since 1310. Next to the fountain we meet a large cistern collecting water. Adjacent there is a plateau that serves as a parking area from where we can enter the narrow alleys. At this point there was for centuries a series of consecutive carved troughs where women washed their clothes. These throughs were of exceptional beauty and were the attraction of the village. Some decades ago the bulldozers arrived here and formed the parking area, burying the troughs below the surface.

Right next to the water spring there is the church of Saint Charalambos who is considered miraculous by the residents of the village. It probably dates back from the Venetian rule, however no frescoes are preserved today. During the Ottoman occupation it was turned into a mosque. Opposite Agios Charalambos we meet the modern church of St. Peter, a Cretan saint who was Archbishop of Crete.

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