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PsihroArticles: Psychro of Lasithi

Psychro is the most well-known area in the Plateau and a major tourist attraction because of the cave (Diktaion Antron), located just above the village. According to the tradition, but also due to the numerous religious relics which have been found inside the cave, it is considered the birthplace and more important, the worship place of the father of the Olympian gods, Zeus. The cave, of course, is one of the most unique caves in Crete, and has hundreds of large and small stalactites. It is one of the major tourist places of Crete and for the last 60 years, it is visited by thousands of tourists annually.

Psychro village, as well as all the villages of Lassithi, was constructed at the last centuries of the Venetian rule. After the complete destruction of the whole province in 1364, a century later, in 1465, Venice decided to cultivate the valley in order to produce grain. After that, people started staying in the Plateau only during the time of sowing and harvesting.

It is situated at the foothills of the mountain Tuba Moutsounas (1537 m.) and in 1900 it was the seat of the Eastern Municipality of Plateau in the Cretan State. There are several hypotheses regarding the origin of its name: Some relate the name to the place where it was built (where the adjacent ravine is getting wider), while others believe that it has pre-Hellenic origins and others that there is a source of cold (psychro) water in the village.

The first time it is mentioned is as Mettocchio Psicro, but with no reference to the number of the inhabitants, as it happened with other metochia. Perhaps it was uninhabited at the time. The Turkish census of 1671 mentions it as Psihro with 42 families. In the census of 1881, Psychro is the seat of a municipality having the same name with 333 inhabitants and in 1900 with 363. . In 1920 it appears as the seat of a rural municipality having the same name with 325 inhabitants, in 1928 as the seat of a community having the same name with 390 residents, in 1940 with 453, in 1951 with 422, in 1961 with 506, in 1971 with 307, in 1981 with 248, in 1991 with 323 and in 2001 it has 208 residents.

Psychro is the hometown of Antonios Papadakis, the greatest benefactor of the University of Athens, and Ferik Ismail Pasha, commander of the Egyptian army who destroyed the province in the revolution of 1866. They were both children of the priest Fragkia Kampani (Papadakis) and were captivated by the Egyptian army and Hasan Pasha in 1823 that destroyed the province once again. One of the brothers, Antonios, managed to leave Egypt. The other brother, who, in the meantime, had been forced by the Turk-Egyptians to convert and become a Muslim, had been promoted in various positions, both in the politics and in the army. He did not want to follow the example of his brother. He became a great officer, a Pasha of the Egyptian army, with the name Ismail Pasha Ferik. And he was fortunate enough to contribute to the destruction of Lassithi in 1867, led by Omer Pasha. After the destruction of Lassithi, he died at Spilia on his way back to Heraklion. On 10/07/1867, the report of the director of the revolutionaries, K. Sfakianakis, states that he got wounded near the village Pinakiano. Others say that he was poisoned by Omer Pasha, who realized his interest about Christians.

Source: http://www.oropedio.gr

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