Thrapsano, the center of pottery in Crete, is about 30 kilometers in the south-east of Heraclion. The settlement is under the Minoa Pediados municipality and 340 meters above the sea level.
The main occupation of the residents was pottery and especially in the summer but until the 1940s.
The people of Thrapsano continued the Minoan pottery with the jars as their main sample of their pottery.
1500 people live in the village and most of them had created pottery workshops.
Many of the people of Thrapsano are also occupied with agriculture, the olive tree and flower production and vine-growing. A few are also occupied with livestock.
The Primary Scholl of the village is worth visiting as it is very beautiful. It has been working for 130 years (it began working in 1930) and is one of the oldest in the Heraclion prefecture.
The first official reference of the village was in 1379 in the Ducal Records of Chandax and, after that, it was mentioned in the 1871 Turkish census, the 1834 Egyptian census etc.
The installation of the Notarades family, after the enslavement of Greece and Peloponnese, was very important for the village.
Thrapsano was a fief of the Kornaroi family, during the Venetian Occupation. There were many references in that period and the family was very likeable to the locals. Stergios Spanakis stated that the Venetian-Cretan Andreas Kornaros, that was a feudal lord of the area, “was a true Cretan in thoughts and feelings and language, as most of the Venetian-Cretan families in Crete”.
According to the 1611 will of Andreas Kornaros, he gave the village, his luxurious house and part of his rich library to his brother, Vitsentzos Kornaros.
The Livada Lake is in Livades or Livada, near the settlement. It is said that the potters dag and took earth from there in order to create pots and, in that way, the Livada Lake was created and today is closely related to the art of the villagers.
During the Turkish Occupation, the area was a fief of Elchatz Ali that made the potters of Thrapsano to pay a tax from their takings of the pots selling as they had used earth from his fief.
The relation of the people of the area with the pottery affected also the place name of the village. It is said that Thrapsano came from the verbs “thravo” and “psino” (i.e. break and cook) as many pots break during their “cooking”, i.e. when they are put in the kiln.
It is also said that the name came from the verb “thlapto”, “thlapso”, that means to heat. The word “thrapsanos” came also from the same verb and means the “kaminaris”, the person that puts the pots in the kiln.
The miraculous well of Panagia
There are many myths of the well outside the church of Koimisis of Theotokos or Panagia Pigadiotissa.
The residents of the village took water from the well of Panagia Pigadiotissa. A few of them had also fallen into it. It is said that, when someone fell into the well, it overflowed and they were taken out safe and sound.
Antonis Mavrantonakis and Agapios Landos told a story about Andreas Kornaros. Antonis Mavrantonakis, a resident of the village, states in a brochure called “Thavmata of Panagia Pigadiotissa” (i.e. miracles of Panagia Pigadiotissa) that, in 1914, when he were 10 years old, he had fallen into the well and he was taken out safe and sound.
Agapios Landos mentioned in the book “Amartolon Sotiria” (i.e. salvation of sinners) that Andreas Kornaros did not believe in the miracles until he witnessed a woman falling in the well and taken out by the water safe and sound.
According to the tradition, when the well was being built, they put in the icon of Panagia in order to stop the flow of the water. When it was completed, the residents took the icon to the church, but, the next day, it was found into the well.
Fairies of the Lake
According to the myth, in Livades, every night, the fairies danced and whoever was there with them started to dance with them. The feast lasted till the dawn.
Six churches and five country churches are worth visiting in Thrapsano. Those churches are of Timios Stavros, Metamorfosi of Sotiras, Panagia Mesochoritissas, Panagia Pigadiotissa, Agios Georgios and Agios Antonios.
The country churches of Agios Nikolaos, Agios Konstantinos and Eleni, Agios Leontios, Agios Panteleimonas, Agios Vasileios, Agios Nektarios and that of Agios Dimitrios and Ipapanti (with 2 aisles) are in Thrapsano and worth visiting.
The “Thrapsaniotis Ageioplastis Feast” (i.e. the feast of the potter from Thrapsano) is the most important event in the village. A feast and an exhibition that lasts three days take place in the Primary School of the village, on the days around the 17th of July.
A great feast is held on the eve of the Timios Stavros celebration, on the 13th of September.
The carnival of Thrapsano takes place every year.