old house by dam

Crete, a Mighty Dam, and Life

Ti na karnoume – what can we do? Life goes on. This week has been a quiet week in the village. Last Friday we had the quiz at a taverna interestingly called A Popsi. Then, the next day, I drove up to the Amari valley past that Dam to see Lampros at the taverna Aravanes to give him the second copy of the Crete Courier newspaper which contained my article about the Amari and mentioned him. He was over the moon. We got a free double coffee and Ann, my wife, got several gifts of mountain tea and Laurel. (We call them Bay Leaves in English).

The Dam

Back down we came past the incredible dam. A huge construction around 30 Km south of Rethymnon seems to have been built by both the Rethymnon Water company and the Agricultural water company with a lot of help from the European Commission. Interestingly it has no turbines to generate electricity, or so Lampros told me. Anyway, the dam will (hopefully) fill two valleys with water.


The only village to be affected is the village with no name, at least no signs, that lies before the dam under the proposed water level. Empty houses and buildings and olive trees cut down to preserve their wood for future winter fires. It is like a desert in a sense, with no people, sawn off trees, and the expectation of water.

I hope it fills. They close the dam in December as I am reliably informed in the hope that in time it will fill. But having seen the Amari and knowing that the island of Crete is largely limestone, I have my doubts. But who can deny the enterprise, the work that it has taken to build this largely unknown dam, and the local quarries for the stone?


The current road winds gently down under the future water levels then up and around the dam. When the dam fills the road will go a different way, a stunning way. You can see the formation of the new road as it climbs up towards the dam. Then it goes across the top of the dam. Straight across the top of the wall and onto the other side of the valley where it stays above water level and joins, eventually, the old road to the Amari. The road has still not yet been finished, but we shall see.


Anyway, on we go towards Rethymno across the incredible Venetian bridge on this unknown road. Over the pass and onto the new road just built down the valley. As the new road ends we get into the winding roads of Rethymno and finally get back to the National Road and are only allowed to get onto it towards Iraklion. Who knows, what is a U-turn between friends?

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