SAMOS



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Samos - ANCIENT SAMOS - The tunnel oF Eupalinos (EUPALINEIO ORYGMA) - Ancient tunnels The builders

Ancient tunnels
Already common by the 8th century bc in Iran, was a single-ended tunnel, known as a qanat, which tapped an underground aquifer and brought water to the surface for irrigation. Such tunnels were constructed by the ‘shaft method’, i.e. by a series of vertically sunk shafts, the bottoms of which were linked together by short headings underground. Because several work-faces could be opened simultaneously, this was a relatively expeditious method of construction. From Iran, the technology spread to Egypt and was put to service in the oases of its deserts. It came into the Greek world either through the Sa mians, mentioned by Herodotus (III. 26), who lived and worked in Egypt; or directly from Persia, either brought by Greeks who worked there, or communicated through agents of the king, Cambyses II, with whom Polycrates was in alliance.
   This ‘shaft method’, used in the qanats, can be seen, applied here on Samos , in the last stretch of tunnel close to the surface, which brings the water from the spring at Aghiades to the north entrance of the main tunnel. Perhaps the most notable example of the technique, however, is the 7km tunnel sup plying Athens with water, and built only a couple of decades after the tunnel of Eupalinos; there are other examples at Syracuse and at Lake Copais in Boeotia, where the work was never completed. But the much more complex, double-ended tunnel, employed where the ‘shaft method’ cannot be applied because the depth of ground is too great, is rarer and slow er—because it permits only two simultaneous work faces. The earliest example is the tunnel on Samos ; but, at 1,036m, it is not the longest. An emissary tunnel, 1,600m long, was dug to drain Lake Nemi near Rome at the turn of the 5th century bc; and another, 1,400m long, to drain Lake Albano nearby, begun in 397 bc. In both these Italian examples, the volcanic rock was easier to cut and the depth of the tunnel underground, marginally less: but the achievement is no less astounding for that.
   The technology was probably brought to the Italian peninsula by the Greeks or through the agency of Carthaginians from Egypt and North Africa, and it was widely applied, first by the Etruscans and later by the Romans. Although no trace of it has been uncovered, the longest tunnel ever undertaken in Antiquity would appear to have been that which carried the Anio Novus to Rome from the Simbruini hills: it could not have been much less than 2,250m long. A curiosity among Roman double-ended tunnels is that constructed by Nonius Datus at Saldae, in Algeria, which though much shorter and shallower than Eupalinos’s, failed to meet in the centre, and required complex machinations to retrieve the situation.
   The first written, comprehensive source that we possess on the instruments and methods of surveying in Antiquity—although it does not talk about tunnel construction as such—is the 1st century ad work, On the Dioptra, by Hero of Alexandria, in which he discusses his design for what is the predecessor of the modern theodolite.


Samos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.


access

Samos Island, Greece.

By air: Domestic flights are frequent from Athens – four to five times daily with Olympic Air and twice a day in summer with Aegean Airlines.
There also direct flights by charter from destinations outside Greece.
By boat: Sea access to Samos is also plentiful, but a little confusing because it is split between three separate ports: Karlóvasi and Vathy, on the north coast, for the larger ferries plying the northern and western routes to Piraeus, Chios, Lesbos, Ikaria, Thessaloniki etc;
and Pythagóreio, on the south coast, for the Dodecanese and southern routes,
i.e. the F/B Nisos Kalymnos (4 days per week)
and hydrofoils (daily in summer) to Patmos, Lipsi, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, and on to Rhodes , with the Nisos Kalymnos stopping at Agathonisi and Arki in addition, before calling at Patmos.
The summer hydrofoil service to Fourni and Ikaria (4 times weekly) also leaves from Pythagóreio. Crossings to Turkey (Kus¸adasi) run daily from Vathy, during the summer season only (Easter to mid October); thereafter more infrequently.

Samos Travel Guide

eating

Samos Island, Greece.

In Vathy, Christos (two blocks in from the water-front, and north of the main square) serves Asia Minor specialties, interesting salads, and good, fragrant wine.
The village of Vourliotes has several tavernas offering good mountain food in its picturesque plateia: less contrived, and more popular with islanders, is Pera Vrysi, at the entrance to the village. On the shore below, at Avlákia, the Mezedopoleío "Doña Rosa" has a pleasing touch of eccentricity, but nonetheless prepares excellent Greek dishes with localredients and good presentation.
Further west at Palaio Karlóvasi, the Oinomageireío "Dryousa", in the plateia where the paved road ends, is family run, providing fresh, home cooking.
The last true tavernas in Pythagóreio closed some time ago; the best remaining eatery there, with a pleasant view from its position at the beginning of the harbour mole, is Varka. For sunset views, however, few can match Balkoni tou Aigaiou at the south end of Spatherei;
while the taverna at Koutsi, up and west from Pyrgos, though not remarkable for food, is an unforgettable and cool refuge on a hot day, beside a spring below plane trees in the hills of central Samos .
Pure comb honey of high quality can be found at Melissa – a small supply-shop, a few metres up the main street of Pythagóreio from the harbour.

Samos Travel Guide

further reading

Samos Island, Greece.

Graham Shipley, A History of Samos 800-188 BC (Oxford University Press, 1987); Hermann Kienast, The Aqueduct of Eupalinos (Greek Ministry of Culture, Athens, 2005).

Samos Travel Guide

practical info

Samos Island, Greece.

831 00 Samos & 832 00 (Karlóvasi): area 477 sq. km; perimeter 163 km; resident population 33,999; maximum altitude 1,434 m. Port Authority: T. 22730 27890, 27318 (Vathy); T. 22730 61225 (Pythagóreio); T. 22730 32343, 30888 (Karlóvasi). Travel and in formation: www.samos.gr ; By Ship Travel, T. 22730 25065 (Vathy), 61061 (Pythagoreio), 92341 (Kok- kari), 37100 (Marathókambos) & 35252 (Karlóvasi).
Samos Travel Guide

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