Lepoura to Aliveri

The long valley which stretched from the south coast of the island at Aliveri Bay up as far as Kymi on the north coast, was good agricultural land and formed one of the principal areas of interest and wealth for the Frankish settlers of the 13th century. For this reason their fortified towers are such a common feature of the landscape in this area. The biggest, and one of the oldest, of these Frank ish strongholds was the early 13th century ‘Rizokastro’ (33.6km), clearly visible on a hill 2km to the south of the main road, approximately half-way between Lepoura (29km) and Aliveri (36.5km). The remains consist of a well-preserved enceinte of walls surrounding a pre-existing tower. The castle was later fiercely contended be tween the Turks and Greek Independence fighters in the summer of 1823. Four kilometres due north of it, in the hilly area of the interior, is a church dedicated to Aghios Demetrios, but generally known as the ‘Kokkini Ekklesi­a’, or ‘Red Church’ because of the preponderance of red tiles in its masonry. (Best reached by the right turn (north) signed ‘Aghios Demetrios’, 1km east of the municipal limit of Aliveri. The road leads through olive groves and a functioning lignite and stone quarry; after 2.4km, the church is to the left, hidden, on a low hill.) The church exemplifies the 14th century delight in decorative tile patterns: a cross pattern at the east end and a half-moon over the door. An ancient offering-table with three shallow depressions and a fragment of an Ionic capital are incorporated in the west front, with other ancient elements included else where. There are vestiges of murals in the apsidal conch. The remains of a vaulted Mycenaean tomb can be seen, 3.2km northwest of Lepoura on the cross-country route to Gavalas, via Katakalou.

Euboea Island, Greece

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