From Chora to Aigiali
Until the construction of the road northeast from Chora along the mountain ridge to Aigiali in the mid-1980s, the two parts of the island functioned as separate entities, linked only by cai―ques and occasional ferries. For this reason the island still has two ports with separate ferry schedules.
After passing a junction (11km), from which a branch track (right) rounds the summit of the mountain and doubles back to the cave hermitage of the Panaghia The oskepasti (see p. 35) above Chozoviotissa, the road descends with good views of the off-shore island of Nikouria. Before a sharp right bend, the church of Aghios Ioannis Prodromos (13km) at Richti is clearly visible be low the road to the left; above it stand the ruins of a Hellenistic tower, almost 9m in diameter. The doorway was in the south side, where the wall still stands to a considerable height, constructed in parallel courses of massive, interlocking blocks of different dimensions. This is one of a chain of such towers which survey the sea-routes along the north coast and which survive in various degrees of ruination: there are a further five along the north slope between here and Katapola, and three between here and Aigiali (including the one to the south of Asfonidiliis on the opposite, south-facing slope). Sixteen Hellenistic towers have been located on Amorgos so far.
At 15km the branch-road (right) leads up the narrow gorge to the saddle between the north and south slopes of the island and ends at the semi-abandoned settlement of Asfondilitis, overlooking the sea in solitary isolation. No new building or paved street disturbs a scene which could almost have stepped from the Bronze Age—stone huts and byres on a rocky plateau where little other than the prickly-pear now grows. Only two whitewashed dwellings and the compact, double-aisle church of Aghios Nikolaos attest any human presence. The village lies on the main pathway from Chozoviotissa to Aigiali. The wider area, known as Kapsala, supported an Early Cycladic settlement whose cemeteries have provided notable marble figurines and sculptures.
After the Asfondiliis junction, the road descends rap idly to the north coast at the point where the long eastern arm of the islet of Nikouria almost touches the shore. Were it not for the 200m wide channel of ‘Kakoperato’ that separates the two land masses, Nikouria would have been a headland, defining a third, west-facing bay similar to those of Katapola and Aigiali. The chapel of the Panaghia on Nikouria, opposite the harbour of Aghios Pavlos (15km), is a mediaeval foundation; otherwise the islet is uninhabited. The straits were surveyed once again by a Hellenistic tower whose remains are visible on the hillside 600m due south of the narrows. From here the road fol lows the shore to Aigiali.
Giali Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.
Amorgos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.