Around Kirinthos

The main road to the south of the island climbs inland to the east from Limni: shortly before the watershed, amongst the trees to the left of the road, is the church of the Panaghia which, though much restored, is a 15th or 16th century foundation. A fragment of wall-painting survives underneath the outside steps at the southeast corner. There is evidence of anancient marble quarry on the crest of the hill at Mesopetri: running-drill and wedge cuts can be seen in the native rock about 80m east of the summit. Much of the fertile land to the south of the road between Myrtias and Kechries (10km) was part of the purchases made in the 19th century by the Noel family (see below); the village of Farakla (14km) is a good ex ample of the kind of planned settlement and stone farm buildings which they built and is architecturally of a piece with the main house at Prokopi. At Strofilia (13.5km) the Limni road joins the principal north/south road of the island. The town’s main church of Aghia Triada (1879), though not of architectural interest, possesses a remark able, painted wooden iconostasis, typical of a late 19th century vernacular style.
   The attractively wooded village of Kirinthos (18.5km) takes its name from nearby Ancient Kerinthos, although the village itself was only created in the 1830s around the stately Villa Averoff (see lodging p. 142) at its centre. The remains of Kerinthos are 5km to the east on the coast at ‘Kastri­’, close to the tiny resort of Krya Vrysi.

Ancient Kerinthos lies at the east end of the beach, beyond the fast-flowing Voudoros Stream, which narrows sufficiently by the sea to permit fording. Directly beyond this, a series of walls confront you, which were the western limit of the settlement—an outer enceinte in large, polygonal blocks whose masonry is that of the 6th century bc, with an inner wall constructed of smaller elements behind it. The site is oblong in shape and extends over three successive rises, ter minating at the eastern end in a natural precipice. The base of a small temple, oriented to the cardinal points, can be detected at the highest point above this eastern limit. The line of the fortifications running east along the north side is clear, with the base of a bastion clearly visible; to the south, the ruins (mostly walls of Hellenistic construction) are immersed in undergrowth which covers the slope down to a basin of fertile fields which would in antiquity have been a protected area of water, possibly used as a harbour and linked to the sea below the western walls of the city. The re mains of public buildings of the Hellenistic era, bordering a wide street, have been laid bare on the saddle between the central and western hills. The overall plan seems regular and oriented to the cardinal points, and therefore of Hippodamian inspiration. Kerinthos drew considerable wealth from the fertile land of its interior in the plain watered by the Kireas River. It figures in the Homeric catalogue of ships, and is mentioned by Strabo: early on, probably in the 5th century bc, it lost its independence to Histiaia.

Mandoudi (21km) stands in the low land at the mouth of the valley of the River Kireas, which nurtures several kilometres of plane-tree woods to the south. Three kilo metres south of Mandoudi, opposite the church of the Koimisis tis Theotokou, a small sign points east to the ‘Megalos Platanos’ (‘Great Plane’): 800m down the east side of the river is this vast and remarkable vegetable— perhaps one of the oldest plane-trees in Europe—now slowly dying.

Euboea Island, Greece

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