MITATO
Shepherds Hut

 

The heart of existence of shepherd's and their families was and still is for some the 'mitato'. A Mitato is the combination of a conical shaped field house or hut, a coral for the sheep and even a cheese making factory situated on hilltops in and around the plains and high up in the mountains. The 'mitato' was constructed of unmortared slabs of local limestone, it had a flat roof composed of wooden beams overlaid by extra sized limestone slabs paced with earth and various local plants and then stamped on to make a good seal. At the top of the dome, there is an opening of about 60cm, which is used as a skylight, an air duct and a chimney.

  

Most, only consist of one or two large rooms however, some were even sub-divided into living and or working areas with storage space as required. Whilst others had two 'mitata'. Outside there would be walled in corals, these would include a holding pen and a larger area where the sheep remained over night. These were often attached to the 'mitato', as the hut then provided protection for the sheep from the prevailing winds, rain and snow. The entrance of the building would face north, in the larger huts, inside would sometime be stone beds and benches covered with thyme filled mattresses for sitting and sleeping on.

 

Copper cauldrons for cheese and mizithra making, wooden utensils, wheels of cheese ageing in the naturally refrigerated storage area called 'tyrocheli', accessible by a crawl hole to keep everything as cool as possible in the scorching hot summer months. Goat skin sacks for storing the 'mizithra' - soft cheese, sheep bells hanging on the walls and of course a wooden table and chairs. Stools would often be made from old tree roots, and of coarse a large pan of coarse salt and water for brine, which was normally stored in clay jars.

Outside the entrance to the corrals were made from movable prickly shrubs which acted as gates, and they would have had as many oak trees for shade as possible.

 

AYIOS YAKINTHOS, THE CRETAN SAINT VALENTINE

 

In the year 98, 12 kilometres south of Anoyia in Crete, in the mountainous region of Fourni, a 20-year old named Yakinthos became a martyr for the common faith, and his love of God.
 "Graceful Yakinthos (Hyacinth) and Zephyr were playing in the forest and Yakinthos throws the discus as far as he can to be better than his teacher Apollo. The God is so enchanted by the beauty of the boy that he forgets the game totally. Zephyr is jealous, he throws his discus at an angle hitting  poor Yakinthos who falls dead onto the ground". 

 

On July 3rd, the Cretans celebrate Yakinthos, the Cretan Saint of love, in a very unique way. The poet, songwriter and singer from Anoyia, who they call 'Loudovikos from Anoyia' wanted to tell the story of the young martyr, and because 1.900 years have passed since the martyrdom of Yakinthos, he decided to honour the Saint of Love and sing together the poetry of love. Loudovikos along with other spiritual men and artists founded a non profit orientated company, which organizes the Yakinthia festival.

The idea to build a church at the same place came from the Archbishop of Rethymnon, Anthymos, who himself laid down the foundation stone.

The chapel is built in the shape of a Crete 'mitato', 1.200 m above sea level. The building was realised after the design of the Late Minoan architecture with a dome. The inclination starts above 2 meters and leaves a hole of 30 cm at the top. The planning and control was brought to fruition by the architect Stavros Vidalis.

The Yakinthia festival is one of the best events in Crete, it has taken place for the last 9 years, it lasts from July 23 until July 30 and it is highly recommended it attracts 1000's of visitors to Anoyia and the Ayios Yakinthos site in the Psiloritis mountains of Crete.

 

The festival takes place in a wooded area, next to the stone-built chapel of Ayios (Saint) Yakinthos and it is organised by the people of Anoyia. The festival includes various events, like theatrical plays and music concerts, while there is also an exhibition where you can see and buy various products and handicrafts from local producers and artists.

 

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