Dryopis

Dryopis, or Dryopida, takes its name from the original settlers of the island who were, according to Herodotus (Hist. VIII. 46), ‘Dryopes’. The town has much more the tight-knit feel of an island chora than does Chora itself. At the top of a terraced valley, 5km east of Merichas, it spreads over two adjacent hillsides: an older quarter to the north—a steep assemblage of houses, many of them fine stone buildings still preserving runs of terracotta anthemia along their eaves—and the main part of the town to the south, with narrow streets and small squares grouped around a shallow hollow, thick with orange and lemon trees, which functions as the orchard and kitchen garden, or kambos, of the community. The hillside is composed of schist stone and there are consequently grottoes and undercuts of rock at many points in the village: the largest of these is the Katafiki Cave to the south and its interior can be visited without difficulty now that some illumination has been put in. The cave was first explored by a German geologist in 1841: its main entrance chamber is in the form of a long horseshoe loop. The native rock inside clearly bears the rich colours of iron ores, and the form of the cave has been altered by iron prospecting in the past. Iron was extracted from the hills below and to the east of Dryopis: above Aousa (due east on the coast) are two large abandoned 19th century industrial builds on the hillside, used in the iron extraction business.

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

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