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The temple of Apollo and the mediaeval fortress
A stiff climb, following the line of the walls, leads up from here towards the acropolis. Just before the summit, a right-angle in the walls can be seen to the left: from here, three types of construction are visible all at once, providing an encapsulated image of human progress—the huge and confident Archaic masonry, the neatly-cut Classical work, and the irregular and heterogeneous mediaeval rubble above dating from 1,800 years later. It was at this point in the walls, at the lowest level, that the fragments of the colossal Kouros in the museum were found. Apart from this impressive terrace masonry all that now remains of the sanctuary of Pythian Apollo is its splendid site, since its buildings were demolished to provide material for the mediaeval fortress which now occupies the site in ruined form. The cult of Pythian Apollo was brought by the original colonisers from Paros and established in this dominating and appropriately elevated site. The two 7th century bc reliefs of stylised lions—distant cousins of the Delos lions—visible in the museum (originals in the Louvre), once framed the entrance to the sanctuary.
Today a complex of mediaeval remains covers this large area: a huge vaulted cistern, an apsidal church (both 15th century), and two fortress towers, composing—together with the trees and the views—a romantic ensemble. The first mediaeval construction here was Byzantine, of the mid-13th century; repairs were made to that by the Genoese in 1307; and the area was enlarged and made more habitable by the Gattilusi overlords of the 15th century. The southern tower is the most interesting element, comprising as it does dozens of meticulously cut, ancient marble spolia—one of which is beautifully decorated with an unfinished banquet scene from a tomb stele. (This can be located by descending the steps through the tower, passing through a narrow guard room with stone benches within the thickness of the walls; after half a dozen steps from the exit, the relief is 5m ahead on the facing wall, below ground level and to the right.) The piece is much eroded now: and the rear portion of the horse, who (invited or not) appears to be attending the banquet, is not yet carved.
Thasos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.