Culture of Wind and Water


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 plateau of Lassithi 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.

Gasi Windmill

On top of a hill just above the village of Gasi, by Arkalochori, in the area called Mili (mills) we meet an impressive windmill. The location is the highest of the whole area and offers unique views to the villages of the plain of Arkalochori. The windmill of Gasi is the only one that has survived. The windmill is of the type of xetrocharis which is circular and is able to rotate according to the wind direction. This type of windmill was quite common in Heraklion, white at Lassithi we meet the oblong type of Xetroharis (stable mill).


Harasso Windmills

South of Harasso, we still meet one small windmill park of Crete. There are still standing three windmills in a row. These mills are of the rarer type of mills in Crete: the completely circular, turning to all winds, called Xetrocharis. They were used for grinding grain.


Limnes windmills

East of Limnes village, near Agios Ioannis church, we still meet two of the several windmill parks of Crete. Each park still hosts six windmills in a row (twelve overall), with the roofs being collapsed. These mills are of the more usual mill type, that turns only in a certain wind called Axetrocharis (this has a rectangular shape).


Nikithianos windmills

North of Nikithianos village, Merambelo district, we still meet one of the most impressive windmill parks of Crete. There are still standing several windmills in a row. Others survive in good condition and others have collapsed.


Mohos windmills

North of Mohos, by Stalis, we still meet one interesting windmill park of Crete. There are still standing 5 windmills in a row. Mohos mills are of two types: the completely circular, turning to all winds, called Xetrocharis and the more usual that turns only in a certain wind called Axetrocharis (this has rectangular shape).


Pines Windmills

The villages Ano Pines and Kato Pines hosted two separate sites with windmills. The first site is located at the area called 'Paliomili' high above the villages. The second is located at position Vorina near the village Kato Pines, with incredible views of the lagoon of Elounda.


Chochlakies watermill

Sitia province, because it hosts many springs, hosted several places with watermills. Almost every village hosted one or more mills, unlike most places of Eastern Crete where windmills were used, because of the lack of water. One of the best preserved watermills that is still preserved in a very good condition is the watermill of Chochlakies. Chochlakies is a very small village with a very few residents today at the eastern end of Crete. The watermill of Chochlakies is built on the east end of the village, right on the path that leads to the gorge of Chochlakies and the beach of Karoumes.


Gonies Windmill

Above the village Gonies we meet the beautiful windmill of Manousakis, built in 1904 for grinding grain. The restored mill, fully functional today, ceased its commercial operation in 1988, and it was impossible to overcome the technological development of the time.


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