Factories – oil mills
The olive groves of the valley give the landscape a special beauty. The olive tree is another driving force for the economy of the Municipality. The olives are harvested with effort and passion and those that do not end up edible on the Cretan table go to the mills in order to produce the “gold” of Crete, the olive oil.
Nowadays modern mills are constructed in all the settlements of the Plain but before that there used to be the famous olive oil factories, which are now found deserted. These oil presses or else olive oil factories of Crete were just stone buildings with tiled roofs or flat roofs and the owner often lived on the first floor. They belonged to individuals, agricultural cooperatives or monasteries. The process of extracting oil was arduous and it had three phases: the pressing of the olives, the press and the separation.
The factories were considered to be places of social meetings and work, linked to stories, jokes and songs, which were said by workers and visitors while they tasted appetizers and bread dipped in the new oil. We can see these old factories being abandoned now in all the settlements of Minoa Pediados. At the village of Panagia the old factory is purchased by the Cultural Association of the village, it has been restored and turned into a beautiful museum that you can visit.