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Euboea - Aedipsos, Orei, and the NE - The thermal waters of Aedipsos

The thermal waters of Aedipsos

The hot springs were a centre of cult from ancient times and were probably linked to the worship of Hercules. Aristotle noted them in his Meteorologica and Strabo referred to them as the ‘Springs of Hercules’. The town grew up in the Hellenistic period and was visited by later Macedonian kings. One of the most famous visitors in the Roman period was Sulla, who came here to cure his gout; Plutarch de scribes the great banquets he gave. The spa achieved its greatest prosperity between 100 bc and 400 ad when numerous emperors and dignitaries visited, including Hadrian, Septimius Severus and Constantine the Great. The spa suffered with the arrival of Christianity when early Christians attacked what they saw as a cause of the dissipation of the inhabit ants. It revived after the establishment of a bishopric in the 8th century, under the Metropolitan of Athens. Under Frankish rule the town was known as ‘Lipso’. It went into decline as a result of the growth of pira cy and in the 15th century was laid waste by raiders. After Greek Independence little happened until the end of the 19th century when the spa was gradually developed under the influence of a new European predilection for ‘taking waters’. It became the most fashionable resort in Greece for a time after World War I when the poet Cavafy was a visitor and well-to do Athenians came to gamble in its Casino.
   The water can be taken today (as guest or non resident) in any one of the larger spa hotels, such as the Avra Hotel or the grander Thermae Sylla (Sulla), which was founded in 1896 and has received in its history such illustrious guests as Greta Garbo, Maria Callas and Winston Churchill. Otherwise there are the main Municipal Thermal Baths, now housed in a large ungainly building—a poor but more practical successor to the grand, neoclassical baths of yore. Most simply, the waters can be enjoyed on the main, south-facing beach where there are underwater hot springs in addition to the water which flows from the sources into the sea: the warmth and sulphur attract a unique diversity of fish and marine-life. The waters rise at temperatures between 34Β° and 71Β°C and enjoy a reputation for curing gout, rheumatism, sciatica and arthritis. The ancients believed, probably not erroneously, that the springs were in some way connected with those of Thermopylae on the opposite, mainland coast.

A small Archaeological Collection (notionally open 10–1 daily, except Sun, July–Sept, but currently closed for lack of staff) is gathered in two rooms on the upper floor of the Municipal Bathing Centre.

Room I exhibits prehistoric finds, including fragments of Mycenaean pottery and a bronze sword of the same epoch, found near Kastaniotissa;
Room II has mostly inscriptions, and architectural and sculptural fragments in marble from the city’s classical and Byzantine buildings, including areas of the 5th century mosaic floor from the thermae. Also exhibited in the upper floor of the hallway of the building, and freely accessible whenever the baths are open (daily 7–9), are two pieces of note: the headless, 1st century ad statue of a man wearing a himation (the missing head was originally part of the whole single piece of marble), and a fine Roman relief, figuring the bow and pelt of Hercules, in which there is a pleasing and harmonious play of contours and forms.
A number of pieces (in scribed, statue bases and other fragments) lie to either side of the entrance to the building and in the adjacent park.

Next door to the Municipal Baths building stands the former neoclassical Bath House with its horseshoe of private, marble bathing tubs, and a high central hall, currently in a perilous state of disrepair.


Euboea Island, Greece


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access

Euboea Island, Greece.

Access to the island is either by road via the Euripus bridges (1 hr from Athens, exit "Schimatari" from Athens/ Thessaloniki autoroute) or via short ferry crossings from Rafina (Attica) to Marmaris (c. every 3 hrs), Aghia Marina (Attica) to Nea Styra (c. every 2–3 hrs), Skala Oropou (Attica) to Eretria (every 30 mins), Arkitsa (Phthiotis) to Aedipsos (hourly), Glyfa (Phthiotis) to Agiokampos (hourly).
A hydrofoil service, four times weekly in the summer also links Chalcis with Limni, and Limni with Loutrá Aedipsoú and Aghios Konstantinos.

Euboea Travel Guide

eating

Euboea Island, Greece.

In Aedipsos, the central Mezedopoleion Armenizontas often has good, live rebetiko music.
In Limni, To Kyma (new), in a handsome stone house on the waterfront, is attentive both to service and to the freshness of its delightful variety of classic, Greek dishes. The well-established To Astro, at Katounia, remains good for fresh fish. To Neon, 1km below Stení, delightfully spread out beneath immemorial planes by a stream, specialises in local sausage and charcoal grilled vegetables and meats.
Geroplatanos in Myli, near Karystos, is somewhat similar in setting, with a good choice of dishes, especially at lunchtime on Sundays.
In Karystos itself, Kotsika Street is lined with simple, inexpensive street-eateries; these may look uninspiring, but do not underestimate the quality of meat and the freshness of the wine at the minuscule I Melissa, at no 27

Euboea Travel Guide

further reading

Euboea Island, Greece.

Sarah Wheeler, An Island Apart, 1992; Barbro Noel Baker, An Isle of Greece: The Noels in Euboea (2000), Archaeopress, Oxford; or from www.deniseharveypublisher.gr

Euboea Travel Guide

lodging

Euboea Island, Greece.

North Euboea. Spa hotels in Aedipsos: the luxurious Thermae Sylla Spa (T. 22260 60100, fax 22055, www. thermaesylla.gr) or the Avra Spa Hotel (T. 22260 22226, fax 23260).
Alternatively, the Hotel Aigli (T. 22260 22215, fax 24886), is a comfortable hotel, without spa facilities.
In Limni, choice is limited: the 81959), near the museum is a pleasant option.

Central Euboea. At Steni, the Hotel Dirphys (T. 22280 51217) is tranquil and delight ful, but very basic. Chalcis is not an obvious choice to stay in but if necessary, the Paliria Hotel (T. 22210 28001, fax 81959), near the museum is a pleasant option.
At Kymi the Hotel Corali (T. 22220 22212, fax 22002, www.coralihotel. gr), a little way outside the harbour, is modern and comfortable.

Southern Euboea.
At Karystos the Apollon Suites Hotel (T. 22240 22045, fax 22049 www.apollonsuiteshotel.com) is an Italian-run hotel on the beach, with large rooms to the eastern end of the town.  Hotel Plaza (T. 22270 31235, fax 31336), on the water front is quiet and simple, and currently represents the best option. Closer in to the centre is the Hotel Karystion (T. 22240 22391, fax 22727, www.karystion.gr) less spacious, but a little more modern and stylish, and with pleasant service.

Historic Villa Rentals For those seeking a luxurious base for a longer period (preferably in a small group so as to share the cost) these two historic houses are excel lent and elegant solutions: Villa Averoff at Kirinthos, (www.villa-averoff.com); and the Konaki at Prokopi (www. candili.gr).

Euboea Travel Guide

museums

Euboea Island, Greece.

Folklore Museum
Archaeological Museum

Euboea Travel Guide

other attractions

Euboea Island, Greece.

Drakospita
Thermal springs

Euboea Travel Guide

practical info

Euboea Island, Greece.

340 01-346 00 Evia, Evvia or Evvoia: area 3,661 sq.km; perimeter 729km; resident population 191,009; max. altitude 1743 m. Port Authorities: Agiokampos T. 22260 71228; Aedipsos T. 22260 22464; Chalcis T. 22210 22236; Eretria T. 22290 62201; Kymi T. 22220 22606; Nea Styra T. 22240 41266; Marmari T. 22240 31222. Information: T. 22210 82677, www.naevias.gr

Euboea Travel Guide

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