Signs and wonders: the Minoan path of Lasithi tourLasithi, Greece
Lasithi: Signs and Wonders, The Minoan Path Tour is a fascinating self-guided audio tour in the countryside of Lasithi in Crete. Discover credible and original stories written by top local professionals after extended research. Take your tour now and enjoy it instantly on your smartphone device.
It’s a tour like no other since you are always running the risk of coming across a monster foraging or hunting. After all, the countryside of Crete is colourful and enchanting; the rocky hills, home to the giant fennel, the peonies, and the Cretan dittany, are also the playground of some unexpected dwellers. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the fleeting shadow of a griffon or Minoan genii, as you climb one of Crete’s best preserved Minoan trails.
The Lasithi plateau is the largest plateau in Crete. It is roughly oval in shape and stretches 11 km (6.8 mi) in the east-west direction. There are 17 villages with 2000 year-round residents. The plateau lies at an average altitude of 840 m (2,760 ft). Heavy snowfall is frequent in the wintertime and snow can persist until mid-spring. The olive tree does not grow naturally on the plateau, where the climate is different from the typical Mediterranean climate that prevails in Crete.
To enter the plateau you are encouraged to follow the famous Minoan Path. After all, when in Crete do as the Minoans did. This winding path allows you to walk on the footsteps of the island’s prehistoric inhabitants and enjoy the same views, plants, and wild animals they did. It is perhaps as close as you can get to an authentic Minoan / Cretan experience.
Τhis tour combines information on incredible and unique plants of the Cretan countryside with stories from the inexhaustible imagination of the ancient Minoans, who populated their island with the most fascinating cast of monsters and elusive creatures. You will come face to face with the terrifying Minotaur; the griffin who skills as a hunter remain unsurpassed; Talos, a giant made of bronze entrusted with the safety of the island of Crete; the elegant bird-ladies; and the Minoan genii, bizarre creatures feared by beasts and men alike.
1. Lord of the monstersIt is best to avoid any delays in the beginning. As Benjamin Franklin said “you may delay, but time will not” and, in any case, climbing the mountain puts distance between you and the Minotaur back in Knossos.
2. Between a rock and a hard placeHalfway up the mountain, the Minotaur is no longer a threat. Here, though, between the sky and the earth, lurks a tireless hunter that combines the power, the speed, and the skills of lions and eagles.
3. Border patrolThe highest point on the trail is the ideal location to scan the horizon in search of Talos, the bronze giant in charge of homeland security. He will soon appear, either behind the distant mountains or the sky above.
The darkest cell
Lord of the monstersThe Minotaur had a speckled body, a clear symbol of the starry night. Minos, as expected, was not pleased with Pasiphaë’s offspring and ordered Daedalus to build a prison for the Minotaur. The skilled inventor had trained in Egypt and designed the famous Labyrinth. It was very easy to enter the building but it was next to impossible to get out due to the numerous corners, turns, and passages that seemed to lead nowhere. The ferocious beast lived at the centre of the Labyrinth and fed on the people condemned to death by Minos.
Taming a monster
Between a rock and a hard placeThe evolution of the griffin lasted for centuries and resulted in widespread changes in its appearance and its relationship to humans. The wings acquired spiral curls and a “notched plume” design that resembled the skin of the common European adder, a widespread venomous snake. The exclusively male griffins were eventually joined by females, a clear sign of how real these creatures were to the Minoans. The latter managed to tame them and the people of Knossos could see men walking or running accompanied by a tethered griffon. There were also griffin-drawn chariots, while the throne room in Knossos was guarded by two sleepless griffins.
Here comes the Cretan sun
Border patrolThree times daily Talos circled the island's shores and searched the open sea for any sign of enemy ships. If a pirate or an enemy of Minos dared to approach, Talos sunk their ships with a terrifying bombardment of rocks. If despite all that, someone managed to come ashore, Talos jumped into the fire and when his bronze body was burning hot, he hugged the daring intruder and killed him while laughing out loud. According to another tradition, Talos visited all the settlements on the island three times per year, carrying bronze plates with the laws and administered justice among Minos’ subjects.
Cultural Mapping is an ATHINA Educational Network initiative (www.athinaedunet.org). Minoan Routes integrate myth, history, and tradition to highlight aspects of life in prominent focal points of Minoan Crete.
|Address||The Minoan Path of Lasithi|
|Starting point||Oropedio Lasithiou, Crete|
|Finishing point||Oropedio Lasithiou, Crete|
|Opening hours||Daily from sunrise to sunset|
Why take a self-guided tour?
This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.
You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.
After downloading Clio Muse app, you can access this tour and activate it any moment you wish and also repeat it any time. To best enjoy our multimedia self-guided tour (comprising maps, video, audio and text) we recommend the use of headphones.