The Limestone Plateau of Mount Aipos: Pitios & Rimokastro

Two kilometres south of Moni Moundon the road rejoins the main east/west road from Vrontados to Volissos: 7km further to the east through scattered pine forests, in the direction of Chora, a branch road to left leads off to Pitios (3.6km).

Mount Pelinnai­on is a grand massif with conspicuous peaks, while Mount Ai­pos, to its south, is quite different in character—a wide, shadeless, undulating mountain plateau of seemingly waterless rock. In a cleft between the two, sits the once remote settlement of Pitios. A small area of cultivable land surrounds the village—a patchwork of fertile fields on the side of Mount Pelinnai­on, and barren on the side of Mount Ai­pos. A long but tendentious local tradition links the village with Homer; until not long ago, visitors were shown the ‘house where the poet was born’. The village is dominated by its 13th century fort—a curious military building shaped in plan like a half-melon, with a curved castellated front to the north and a flat side to the south: the unusual shape is not dictated by the space available on the rock outcrop, but may arise from modifications made when a pre-existing, four-square Byzantine fort was reinforced by the Genoese, using more up-to-date military architecture.
   Returning to the main road once again, and continuing east towards Chora, a landscape of frightening austerity unfolds. At the summit, after 7.1km, a rough track leads back (1.5km) to the north across the rock plateau to Rimokastro. On a shallow rise, with commanding views across to Oinousses, are the camouflaged remains of collapsed stone walls covering a large area; in the midst of this desolate scene is an outbreak of clearly cut and finished, rectangular blocks, belonging to an ancient, late Classical or Hellenistic building, originally constructed in isodomic masonry, and apparently divided into three rooms. The threshold of the east door is carefully cut with escape channels for rainwater at the ends of the sill. The bleak and waterless rock around invites speculation as to the purpose of such a building. An absence of votive objects and a mass of potsherds of domestic items, suggests that this was a large farmstead (perhaps for the raising of a particularly tough and tenacious breed of livestock?) which may well have doubled up, as so often in the Hellenistic world, as a fortified look-out post.
   From the summit beside the turning for Rimokastro, the road descends slowly, towards the precipitous edge of the plateau of Mount Ai­pos. Seven kilometres short of Chios town, it reaches a belvedere with a sudden and * magnificent panorama of Vrontados and Chios far below, and the mountains of Turkey stretching beyond. The descent is dramatic thereafter. Theeniously constructed retaining walls of the modern road have been made from using the flattened flagstones from the paved surface of the old road, whose route the modern road closely follows down a precipitous descent of over three hundred metres in altitude.

 

Chios Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island group
The NW of the Island. The Limestone Plateau of Mount Aipos: Pitios & Rimokastro.


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