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.

Marnellides Windmills

Near the settlement of Marnellides, Merambelo district, we still meet one of the many windmill parks of Crete. There are still standing 8 windmills in a row, while a little further up the mountain there is a ninth secluded windmill. . Others survive in good condition and others have collapsed. Marnellides mills are of the more usual windmill type of Crete that turns only in a certain wind and is called Axetrocharis (this has rectangular shape). These mills were used for grinding grain.

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Potamida Watermill

In the village Potamida, province Kissamos, lies the Kalogridis family watermill. The watermill was restored in 2013 by the locals and became operational again. The locals in the past used to bring their cereals to the watermill. Then, with the help of water, the millstones turned the mill, producing the precious flour.

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Moussi

Near the villages of Episkopi and Mourtzana, in a lush green valley, we still see the ruins of the houses and the watermills of the village Mousses or Moussi. In this village we meet the five watermills that took advantage of the abundant water of the area for grinding grain of the surrounding villages. The mills operated till the 1950s, when the modern technology surpassed the traditional way of grinding. Thus, the millers who saw their job diminishing, had to leave this wonderful place and seek their future elsewhere.

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Museum of Water and Hydraulics in Zakros

Next to the lush green Springs of Ano Zakros one can visit the Museum of Water and Hydraulic housed in three restored watermills since 2007.

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Prinaris Mill

In the central square of the village Chromonastiri is the old oil mill of Prinaris family, fully renovated, with all its old equipment that can work till today.

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