Culture of Wind and Water

Mills

In western Crete, where rainfalls are quite frequent, water mills were used for grinding grain. However, in drier Eastern Crete residents used the wind for their needs. Indeed, many clusters of windmills, called milotopi, are met in most places, especially at northern Mirabelo. The windmills of Ambelos at Lassithi Plateau form the largest milotopi in Greece. Apart from grinding grain, the need for pumping water to irrigate crops at the plateaus of Lassithi and Ziros inspired the construction of lightweight metal windmills that pumped water from wells.

About 12.000 metal windmills operated in the middle of the previous century at Lassithi Plateau, forming the first wind farm in the world with estimated installed power of 5MW.

Ambelos Windmills

At position Seli Ambelou, at the northern entrance to the Lasithi Plateau, we are welcomed by the most important old windmill park of Crete. Here you still see 24 of the 27 initial windmills, which all belonged to the type Axetrocharis.

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Galaropetra windmills at Fourni

North of Fourni village, Merambelo district, we still meet one of the most impressive windmill park of Crete. There are still standing 13 windmills in a row at location Galaropetra. Others survive in good condition and others have collapsed.

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Paterikos Watermill

Only a few meters south of the stone bridge of Astraki we find the stunning watermill of Paterikos, preserved in very good condition and it is of the very few mills that existed in Crete and were double, meaning that the carried through the stone channels was divided into two different fall-towers and so. correspondingly, there were two different rotors for moving the millstones.

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Mesa Vrissi at Koxari

At the village Koxari near Heraklion we meet a very nice and short trail, ideal for a short walk in nature and a little getaway not far from the city. This trail starts through the narrow streets of the village and moves to the south till the spring of Mesa Vrissi which gives life to the small valley of Koxari. The entire route is in the shade of the plane trees and the oak trees alternating throughout the route with orange, walnut and other fruit trees.

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Plati watermill

One of the mills in Lassithi plateau preserved in quite good condition is the watermill of Plati, located on a slope slightly higher than the village in a wooded location with old oaks, platans and other trees. The watermill in Plati hosts a large stone cistern where water was collected and used later for grinding the grain.

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Katakalou Windmills

Within walking distance from the ruined village Argiro Nero, between the villages Zenia and Exo Potami we meet the small cluster of windmills of Katakalou. The mills are located in the same residential complex of Katakalou among vineyards and orchards. The mills operated after the destruction of the larger mill park of Zaroma, west of Mesa Potami.

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Zaroma windmills

At this point there is a rough unknown windmill group that consisted of 10 mills and operated until May 1867. In these mills, local chieftains had gathered their wounded men during the titanic ten-day battle of Lassithi.

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Lassithi Plateau Windmills

Lassithi plateau hosted, after the 1950s, the first, largest and most beautiful wind farm in the world with approximately 13000 windmills with a total installed power of above 5MW. The windmills operated as pumping engines above the wells of the plain to water the crops in summer.

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