Mitato - The architecture of the Cretan mountains

Mitato  - The architecture of the Cretan mountains

Scattered around in the wilderness of Cretan highlands, mitata (plural) are vaulted stone buildings used by shepherds as lodgings and storage rooms for cheese.

The name mitato comes from the latin word metatum, which means military lodge, but its circular stone construction is ancient building method, following the example of the Minoan vaulted tombs. After so many centuries of use, mitato is a sufficient solution for weather protection and rest in the bare rocky mountains of Crete. A mitato is a strong made of stones without using binder building, indicated by the fact that after so many centuries has "survived" in hard hillsides under difficult weather conditions. The main feature is the typical “tholos” shape from stone and wood and together with windmills, barns, wells are considered to be the traditional overview of Cretan landscape, a vivid piece of cultural heritage. It was common for their time that for constructions people were using the materials with economy and prudence according to the local environmental conditions; after all the suitable area for a mitato depended on the presence of suitable stones. Mount Ida (also called Mount Psiloritis) in Rethyno Prefecture is particularly rich in flat stones suitable for dry stone construction in order to withstand the weight of snow in the winter time. You will meet plenty of mitata in the plateau of Nida, as well as some others hidden in the beautiful mountainous locations of Psiloritis and White Mountains.

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