Around the tower of Aghia Marina

This landscape was domesticated in Antiquity too, and several ancient towers of the Late Classical or Hellenistic periods are found in the area. These played an important role in storage of produce, protection of particularly fertile areas, and marking and controlling frontiers between one city’s land and that of its neighbours. The first of these, known as the tower of Panachra, is a short distance west of Sklavonikolas (2.4km from the junction), lying 200m down a path to the south from a farmhouse at a point 1km along the track that leads west out of the settlement. The tower, which is considerably overgrown with vegetation, is of rectangular form, constructed in courses of rectangular masonry which still stand to al most four metres in height. Easier to find, and of more remarkable dimensions, is the * tower of Aghia Marina (5.2km) which owed its former state of preservation to the fact that from the 16th century on it functioned as a monastery-building. (1km west of the main road from the junction at 4.1km from Merovigli.) The tower was dam aged and partly collapsed in an earthquake in 1853.

Two of the corners of the tower still stand to a height of 19m, making it the tallest square tower in Greek territory to have come down to us, only marginally shorter than the circular tower of Aghios Petros on Andros. The magnificent breadth of the north wall has survived best—vigorously colonised by lichens of different colours. The tower sits in the floor of the valley, visible from the descending road, at an important crossing of ancient roads and borders between Poieessa, Koresia and Ioulis over which it served as a surveying tower. The method of construction would suggest a date at the end of 5th century bc. The quality and the kind of masonry varies: the drafted corners are constructed in larger regular courses; the flat expanses of wall are filled more irregularly. Many of the blocks show both rustication with a pick, and the lateral perforations made in the quarrying process. Towards the top there were two string courses, or cornices. The interior appears to have been divided into four or five floors in Antiquity, which were doubtless reconstituted by the monks who settled in the building: it was they who also added the wooden projections for a running balcony at the top. The adjacent monastery church dates from the early 19th century, rebuilt on the site of the earlier catholicon not long before the monastery was finally abandoned. A third tower, known as Psaropyrgos, survives 2km to the southwest of Aghia Marina, further down the valley to wards the sea.

The * Kremidi valley, which cuts east and then north into the centre of the island from the settlement of Skiadas (8km) is of magnificent natural beauty and tranquillity.

Kea Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.

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