AMORGOS



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Amorgos- Southwestern Amorgos - ancient tower at Aghia Triada

Ancient tower at Aghia Triada

Much of the wealth of Arkesine depended on its protected and cultivable hinterland—especially the alluvial Kato Meria plateau, now occupied by the modern settlement called Arkesi­ni (19.5km), and formerly referred to as ‘Chorio’. Such an area, with its relatively good soil and hidden location, was of great value in the Cycladic Islands. Evidence that its cultivation and produce needed adequate protection is provided by the conspicuous presence in the middle of the area of a large tower with an attached complex of fortified, farm-buildings. The * Hellenistic tower at Aghia Triada (20.2km), 700m north of Arkesi­ni, is impressively large and well-preserved and is one of the most signal monuments of its type in the Aegean. It dates probably from the late 4th century bc— the same period as the (circular) tower and complex of Heimaros in southern Naxos , to which it bears some similiarities.

The complex has overall a T-shaped plan—a large, multi functional rectangular block (25.3 x 11.4m) in front, with a strongly fortified tower (7m x 7m) protruding from the centre of one of the long sides. The whole construction is a monument to the precision and eloquence of Hellenistic masonry. On the front façade, the massive blocks of the lowest courses merge into more regular, parallel, interleaved courses of isodomic masonry above, rising to a height of 5.6m in the tower. The corners, as always, are perfectly drafted. The design of the masonry varies intriguly: the west wall of the tower, for example, incorporates large trapezoidal blocks which alter the effect of its overall design. The walls are of double thickness, lined with an inner shell in smaller stone blocks. The front rectangular area is articulated into several divisions and must have had two floors, as the steps on the south side indicate. A number of the threshold-blocks are single monoliths measuring up to 2.8m in breadth: most bear the swing-post holes for what were clearly very substantial doors. Security was foremost in every consideration.
   The tower block is once again constructed with double walls, and is entered by a door whose frame and lintel-block cannot fail to impress. In the lateral jambs the bolt-bar holes indicate the size of the transom which secured the door. The lower level of the tower is filled solid, except for a square space immediately in front of the door. This would have accommodated steps leading up to the main level; but it also created a defensive feature, in that any intruder would be caught vulnerably in the bottom of a stair-well on entering. The tiny apertures on the upper level are shaped as embrasures—an early example of the use of the feature. In the corner is a small niche: not a chimney—perhaps a small aedicule for an image.
   Impressive as these towers are as pieces of humanenuity, we know little about how they functioned. This tower had no use as a look-out or advance defence post, because it is constructed in a declivity encircled by hills. There are no mines or quarries for minerals in the vicinity here, which might have justified such doughty walls for secure storage of valuable materials. Affording protection to valuable agricultural produce is one explanation put forward for such buildings; yet the fertility of this area is hardly such as to merit the considerable human effort involved in raising such a massive building. The tower will most probably have functioned as a fortress or place of refuge for the entire rural community that worked the fields in the area. They were some distance away from the safety of their city (Arkesine) and were closer to the shores and inlets by which danger could arrive. A tower such as this was a ‘local acropolis’ for them. Its size and strength tell us two things: the rural community was quite large, and the expected danger was great.

Due south from the tower at Aghia Triada rises Mount Korax (524 m). On its eastern shoulder, at ‘Pyrgi­’, was an other rectangular tower of the Hellenistic period, whose base is visible, incorporated into a later farm-building. This must have communicated with the larger tower in the valley and functioned as its look-out post. On the discrete rise further to the east, at Kastelas, an Early Cycladic acropolis has been identified.


Amorgos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.


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access

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Amorgos lies at the terminus of a ferry-route; it is a mini mum 7–8 hr journey (often longer) between Piraeus and the island, with several stops en route—always include either Naxos or Paros.
Blue Star Ferries operates the service daily in the summer and five days a week in winter, alternating between the island's two ports: Katápola, the principal destination, in the centre, and Aigiáli ("Egiáli", "Yáli") 20km further north.
It is important for any itinerary to establish which of the two is the port of arrival/departure.
Blue Star also connects Aigiáli (only) with Astypalaia three times weekly.
The F/B Express Skopelitis, based in Katápola, plies through the Lesser Cyclades to Naxos and returns daily in summer, always stopping at Koufonisi, Schoinousa and Herakleia en route, also including Aigiáli and Donousa three times weekly.
The service runs from April–end Oct, weather permitting. The Blue Star services maintain connections with these smaller islands 2–3 times a week in winter.

Amorgos Travel Guide

beaches

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Some of the many beautiful beaches in Amorgos are found:
around AEGIALI
Aegiali beach
Agios Pavlos Beach
Levrossos beach
Mikri Glifada beach
Nikouria beach
Psili ammos beach
Xalara beach

around CHORA
Agia Anna beach, famous for its blue crystal clear waters. In this location, scenes of the movie "Le grand blue" (The big blue, 1988) were filmed.

around KATAPOLA
Maltezi beach

around KATO MERIA
Ammoudi beach
Kalotaritissa beach
Mouros beach
Paradisia beach

Amorgos Travel Guide

eating

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Some of the best food is to be found in the island's small rural villages:
the taverna Giorgalinis in Vroútsi and Marouso in Arkesíni (Chorió), in the west; or Sandouraki in Tholaria at the north end of the island. Katina's To Limani at Aigiáli serves some of the best seasonal and traditional Greek fare on the island, and is popular with local families, especially on Sundays.
More rarified, but offering some interesting mezes, is To Chima in the heart of Chora.

Amorgos Travel Guide

further reading

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Lila Marangou, The Monastery of the Panaghia Khozoviotissa, Athens 2005. The author is indebted to the writings of Prof. Lila Marangou on archaeological matters which constitute the most complete and authoritative account of the island’s monuments.

Amorgos Travel Guide

lodging

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Two small, comfortable hotels provide welcoming and attractive solutions in the medium price-range:
the ‘Emprostiada’ Traditional Guest House (in a new build, but of traditional design) in the heart of Chora (T. 22850 71013, fax 71814, www.amorgos-studios.amorgos.net );
and the more conventional Hotel Vigla (T. 22850 73288, fax 73332, www.vigla-hotel. amorgos.net) in the hill-town of Tholaria, above Aigiáli.
Offering simpler facilities, are: the Pension Amorgos on the harbour-front of Katapola (same management and numbers as Emprostiada above); in the village of Langáda, Artemis Rooms (T. 22850 73226, www.amorgos studios.amorgos.net; open all year); the same owners also rent rooms on the beach near Aigiáli.
Highly recommended for visits to Amorgos based around walking, riding, historic sightseeing, botanising and bird-watching, are - Special Interest Holidays who offer an excellent range of civilised activities and places to stay (T. 693 982 0828, www.special-interest-holidays.com).

Amorgos Travel Guide

museums

Amorgos Island, Greece.


The Archaeological Museum
Monastery of Hozoviotissa
Agioi Anargiroi

Amorgos Travel Guide

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