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Euboea - Chalcis, Eretria & Amarynthos - The Euripus

The Euripus

The Euripus is the name given to the narrow stretch of water which separates the land mass of Euboea from the mainland of Greece at its closest point, where it is less than 40m from the Boeotian coast. Islands always form barriers to the tidal movement of waters, but the effect is generally not immediately apparent un less that barrier is particularly long (e.g Jura in the Hebrides) and/or confines a narrow area of water against the mainland (e.g the Isle of Wight). Euboea falls egregiously into both categories, and its considerable length means that the (albeit small) tidal fluctuations up the Euboean channel from the south end, and those down the channel from around the northern end of the island are separated by an appreciable period of time. The resultant effect at the narrowest point of the Euripus is therefore highly anomalous, giving rise to alternating currents, which can change direction as often as six or seven times a day. The cur rent flows from north to south for about three hours at a rate which can vary between 6 and 12 knots. It then suddenly subsides; and, after a few minutes of quiescence, it begins to flow again in the opposite direction. These currents are driven by the gradient which forms between the respective water-levels to either side of the narrows, caused by the restriction of tidal movement at the bottleneck in the strait. Tides in the Mediterranean are weak by comparison with those in the open ocean; but the considerable fluctuations in the depth of the sea-bed in the Euripus (an unusual element which it has in common with the treacherous straits of Corrievreckan off Jura), as well as the constriction of the channel help magnify their effect disproportionately at this point.
   The exact mechanics and timing of the water flow are still not fully understood. Its behaviour was widely speculated on from ancient times. Socrates (Phaedo, 90) uses the variability of the Euripus as a metaphor for that which is in a constant state of flux. The phenomenon is alluded to by Aeschylus (Agamemnon, 190), as well as by Livy, Cicero, Pliny and Strabo. According to a frivolous popular tradition, Aristotle, in despair at his failure adequately to ex plain the phenomenon, is said to have flung himself into the Euripus.
   Passage through the channel with the current can be dangerous and the bridge is opened only when the flow is favourable. The capricious narrows were first spanned in 411 bc by what appears to have been a wooden bridge. In 334 bc, Chalcis included the Boeotian fort of Kanethos (across the channel) within its city boundaries. In the 6th century ad, under Justinian, the fixed bridge was replaced by a movable structure to facilitate the movement of vessels. The Turks then replaced this with another fixed bridge in the 15th century. In 1856 a wooden swing bridge was erected; this was superseded by the first iron swing bridge, built in 1896 by a Belgian company which enlarged the channel and demolished the Venetian fort that had guarded the approach. This gave place in 1962 to the existing structure. The new road bridge, two kilometres further south, was opened in 1993.


Euboea Island, Greece


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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