History

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The Plateau of Lasithi was first populated in the Neolithic era. The cavern of Trapeza at the village Jermiado, was the home of Neolithic people. At the top of the mound Papoura, a city of the mid-Minoan period was discovered. In the village of today’s Plati and at the mound Karfi, two more settlementsof the Minoan and post-Minoan period were discovered.

From the Post-Minoan period till the 13th century, there is no evidence of life on the Plateau, since the Venetian invaders destroyed everything. The morphology of the ground promoted the use of guerrilla tactics. Revolutions against the Venetians started here, in 1212, 1273, 1341 and 1363. In 1293, Lasithi was declared a barren place, so that the revolutionaries could find no respite there. The Cretans however, disobeyed and so in 1343, Venice decided the devastation of the village and ordered all houses and crops to be destroyed. Whoever was arrested inside the village of the Plateau, had his leg cut off or was killed. This prohibition lasted for 200 years. In 1514, the prohibition was raised, in order to cultivate the prosperous ground of the Plateau and to cover the food  needs of the Venetians and Cretans. That’s when the Linies was carved, channels for draining the valley, that exist even now. The farmers who used to cultivate the ground, lived in rough houses in small settlements, Metochia, from which today’s villages evolved.

During the Turkish occupation, the Lasithi Plateau experienced once again massive disaster. In 1823, the Egyptian Pasha, Hassan, slaughtered hundreds of women and children, with whose heads he built a pyramid. In May 1867, in the Plateau took place the Gigantomachy of Lasithi, as the 10-days long battle between the Cretan revolutionaries and the Turkish invaders has become known. After the holocaust of the Monastery of Arkadi in Heraklion, the revolutionaries gathered at the Lasithi Plateau. Omer Pasha, wanting to exterminate them, led the Turkish-Egyptian army, which was 25.000 men strong, to the Plateau. Passing by Casteli, he was met with the heroic resistance of a few armed Cretans, who were unable to stop him. In the end, Omer Pasha entered the Platea from the position “Tsouli Mnima”. The revolutionaries found refuge in the surrounding mountains, but the Turkish-Egyptian army slaughtered the civilian population and destroyed the villages and churches, for 10 days. The few revolutionaries rallied at the small plateau Limnakaro to attack. The Pasha learned the location of the rallying Cretans and moved his army to Limnakaro. The Cretans, however, managed to elude him and climb down the Plateau. There, they waited for Omer Pasha and his army, that came down the mountain exhausted, on May the 19th and was completely destroyed by the Cretans in the village of Marmaketo. Following that event, Crete was declared an independent country and the then prefecture of Sitia was renamed to Lasithi.

During the time of the German-Italian occupation, the plateau once again paid by blood the price for dignity and Freedom. Since then and until now, it’s been flourishing and the quiet residents still breathe the clean air of history.

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