Mitato (Greek: Μιτάτο, archaic form: μιτᾶτον or μητᾶτον, from Latin: metor, "to measure off/to pitch camp") is a term meaning "shelter" or "lodging" in Greek.

Appearing in the 6th century, during the Byzantine period it referred to an inn or trading house for foreign merchants, akin to a caravanserai. By extension, it could also refer to the legal obligation of a private citizen to billet state officials or soldiers. Alternatively, in the 10th century, Constantine Porphyrogenitus uses the term to refer to state-run ranches in Anatolia.[1]

In modern Greece, and especially on the mountains of Crete, a mitato (in the plural mitata) is a hut built from locally gathered stones to provide shelter to shepherds, and is used also for cheese-making. Mount Ida (also called Mount Psiloritis) in central Crete is particularly rich in flat stones suitable for dry stone construction.[2][3][4]

See also


  1. Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, p. 1385.
  2. Antonis Plymakis, Koúmoi-Mitáta kai Boskoi sta Leuká Ori kai Psiloriti ("Shepherd's huts and shepherds in the Lefka Ori and the Psiloritis"), Chania, 2008, 630 p.
  3. Harriet Blitzer, Pastoral Life in the Mountains of Crete. An Ethnoarchaelogical Perspective, in Expedition, vol. 32, No 3, 1990, pp. 34-41; archived here (on the shepherd's huts of Eastern Crete.
  4. Sabine Ivanovas, Where Zeus Became a Man (with Cretan Shepherds), Efsthiadis Group Editions, 2000, 183 p. (Life in the corbelled dry stone huts of central Crete).
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