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Limenaria and Kastro
After Skala Marion the road passes Cape Kefalas and comes first to Limenaria (38km), and then to Potos (42km); together they constitute the principal tourist centres of this side of the island, profiting from the fine beaches along their stretch of coast. At the beginning of the last century Limenaria was the centre of local iron-ore mining activities, conducted by a German company. The mine owner’s residence—the attractive Speidel Mansion—can be seen amongst the trees on the promontory at the eastern end of the port. Inland to the north of Limenaria is the picturesque village of Kalivia. The church here has some ancient funerary reliefs built into its walls.
From Kalivia an arduous 11km track through beautiful *scenery, climbs up first through olive groves, then mountain maquis, and finally through pines and rocks to a mediaeval settlement, at an altitude of 550m—almost at the centre of the island—known simply as Kastro and mentioned by the 15th century traveller and antiquarian, Cyriac of Ancona, under the name of ‘Neokastro’. The settlement is remarkably well-hidden, coming into view only at the last moment; but it commands an almost 360Β° panorama from its exposed plateau of barren rock. The low, mostly square, stone-tiled houses of the village have a satisfying solidity and harmonious proportions; occasionally the roofs are crowned with stylish, stone acroteria, in imitation of the common terracotta versions found more widely elsewhere. The exposed village straggles along a ridge to the point of the spur where the broad, low church of Prophitis Elias crowns the summit. Below it an ossuary and the tiny chapel of Aghios Giorgios cling to the side of the slope. These are all built on the site of what was a 15th century stronghold, whose enceinte of walls, together with the base of a bastion to the east, can still be seen. This was built by Umberto Grimaldi—a scion of the same Genoese family who were ancestors of the Princes of Monaco; he was commander here on behalf of another Genoese family, the Gattilusi, who were the over lords of Lesbos and Samothrace. This remote place was his fortress for the command of the island. All this is suggested by a marble plaque, immured upside down in the exterior south wall of the church of Aghios Athanasios in the centre of the village, bearing an inscription and three escutcheons—that of the Gattilusi in the centre, flanked by the Grimaldi arms to either side. The plaque mystifyingly gives the date of the completion of the castle (from which this was presumably taken) as 1534, i.e. 100 years later than the Grimaldi/Gattilusi presence here. This is hard to explain and may even be an error of transcription by the carver. The church itself, which has a finely raftered porch providing welcome refuge from the elements, was renovated in 1804.
Thasos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.