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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Stone World of Mount Ida

Stone as a building material has been used by almost all structural civilizations, when available in their environment. The so-called mitata, the circular, stone-built lodgings on the Psiloreitis massif, the church of Agios Hyakinthos at Anogeia and the out-doors sculpture-monument for Peace, created by Karina Raeck on the Ida plateau, all three on the island of Crete, speak for the continuity of a long tradition in dry stone-building. The Partisan of Karina Raeck is a monument of land art in the Nida plateau, a palimpsest in reality, which narrates fascinating stories about its Cretan cultural landscape, such as the Cretan Zeus’ and the Kourites’ myths, the wild and rough nature and its people, the Battle of Crete, the holocaust of the Anogeia by the Germans and the National Resistance. It is made from almost 5,000 stones and is essentially one more dry stone structure, like the mitata dotting the Psiloreitis massif.

Their slated roofing, which appeared on Crete 5,000 years ago in the vaulted tombs of Messara, has not ceased to be employed and continues to inspire. The larger mitata continue to be in use in the broader periphery of Anogeia, while some of them have been restored. The church of Agios Hyakinthos, in perfect harmony with the local tradition, has introduced a new symbolic function to this established building type.