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Shortly after Marathi the road crosses a ridge and turns southwards above a wide and fertile valley sloping down to the west coast, with Naxos visible on the horizon. The attractive villages of Kostos (7km) and Lefkes (10.5km) lie below, taking advantage of the relatively abundant wa ter and the hidden position, set back from the coast. They grew rapidly in the 16th century as the population began to concentrate here, fleeing from the coastal scourge of piracy. Lefkes, which has the more picturesque setting, was the capital of the island under Turkish rule, up until 1832. It was designed as a walled ‘kastro-type’ settlement, within a ring of houses forming an enceinte which now defines the centre of the village. The churches often con tain
spolia or have fine 17th century carved portals, such as that of Aghia Paraskevi, the village’s oldest church which, though rebuilt, was originally a 15th century foundation. Some of the most memorable architecture in the village dates from the turn of the 20th century, such as the neoclassical Kafeneion, on the delightful plateia, and the ‘Priest’s House’, a short way to its west, with poly chrome façade, moulded and coloured niches, acroteria, and wrought-iron balcony. Below the
plateia the church of Aghios Spyridon incorporates ancient architectural elements, as does the fountain below it. Aghia Triada, the large church which dominates the village from the east, dates from 1830–35 and contains some of the icons from the three smaller, older chapels which it replaced. The
iconostasis and throne in the interior are in local marble.
In the protected valley between Lefkes and Kostos, planted with centuries-old olive groves, the modern road passes a Byzantine bridge at a point 500m north of the village: this lies on an ancient route which joined the west coast at Parikia with the east coast at Marpisa. The stone paved segment from Lefkes east to Pro dromos can be easily followed on foot: the walk takes about 40 minutes. Another pleasant walk is to the monastery of Aghios Ioannis Kaparou, immersed in vegetation fed by a spring, in the deep valley directly below the summit of Mt Aghii Pantes, 2.5km southwest of Lefkes.
Travel Guide to Paros & Greece
Kos Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.