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Kythnos

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Kythnos is an island of the Cyclades group.

Understand[edit]

Get in[edit]

By sea[edit]

Ferry schedules [2]

Get around[edit]

There are a couple of agencies that rent vehicles at Mericha (the port of Kythnos) and also at the seaside resort of Loutra (16 kilometers away from the port of Kythnos. There are also buses to the main villages and settlements of the island but the bus journies are not that many.

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Kythnos Island is of a rather special archeological interest, although various archaeological sites that are already known, have not yet been excavated. Maroulas, on the northern east side of the island, was the oldest prehistoric Cycladic establishment. This side dates back in the Mesolithic Period (8.500 – 6.500 B.C.). The excavations brought in light remnants of circular constructions which had been possibly used as residences; also, some burials were found there. Kythnos seems to have played an important role in the development of early metallurgy. An important site of Early Cycladic period (3rd millennium B.C.) was explored at Skouries, a sheer coast in the NE side of the island. There are many establishments of historic times. Several circular and rectangular towers from the classic ages stand out. The fortified acropolis, which is called Oria Castle today, is on the North steep side of the island. That acropolis was the capital of the island during the Byzantine times and the Latin occupation; but it seems that it had already been inhabited since prehistoric times. On the other side of the island on the SW coast, it seems that one more fortified acropolis was established, Kastellas; it was founded in the early historic ages but it was abandoned at the end of the archaic period. The ancient capital of the island, which is the NW side of the island and is called Vriokastro today, was called Kythnos according to ancient sources. The surface research has brought into light many findings and the town planning and the residential organization of the fortified town were clearly identified. According to the findings, that town was constantly inhabited from the 10th century B.C. to the 6th century A.D. The underwater excavation of the ancient port (Mandraki bay) from 2005 to this date is conducted by the University of Thessaly under the auspices of the Inspectorate of Marine Antiquities. Furthermore, two marble statues of the Roman Period and parts of the coastal fortified wall has been found. At the top of the Acropolis there is an important sanctuary dedicated to Demetra; it was in use from the 8th century B.C. to the 1st century A.D. At a lower level, an oblong wide and flat opening is formed along the ridge. Two monumental rectangular structures are found there, they are possibly temples that date back to the 4th or 3rd century B.C. Another sanctuary is found on the northern part of this opening. The excavations of the University of Thessaly, which are conducted under the auspices of the 21st Inspectorate from 2002 to this date, have lead to important discoveries. The findings date back to the archaic until the Hellenistic ages. Two built altars and next to them a twin temple which was probably constructed in the early archaic ages (7th century B.B.). The adytum of the temple was found intact with the numerous offerings in place. They are mostly price less jewels and offerings which date from the archaic ages. The identity of the worshipped gods remains unclear, despite the fact that there are indications that the sanctuary was dedicated to Apollo and Artemis. So far, ancient Kythnos was considered to be rather poor; this viewpoint had occurred from limited philological and inscribed evidence. But the wealth as well as the various and exotic provenance of the findings lead to a revision of that viewpoint.


Architecture on Kythnos island

Kythno’s settlements are typical of the Cyclades with differences mainly in architectural and typological elements of the dwellings, such as the use of tiled roofs, which is seen more in villages in locations protected by the wind, such as Dryopida. The integration of the settlements into the particularly arid landscape as well as the masterly human interventions on it with the famous drywalls and terraces are only some of Kythnos’ architectural peculiarities.

Churches on Kythnos

Kythnos is famous for its beautiful churches. Such churches are located in the island's capital-Hora or Messaria- called St. Savas, church of the Saviour, Holy Trinity, Theologos. A very interesting monastery of Our Lady is also located nearby. Situated on a magnificent hill is the Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and its annual celebrations on the 15th of August are a 'must' attend. Also located in the capital city are the churches of Agia Triada, Metamorfosis, Agios Ioannis and Agios Panteleimonas, which are also of considerable interest. These churches will surely leave a lasting impression on your minds and make your trip to Kythnos unforgettable. Most of these 17th century masterpieces are concentrated in or around the capital city of Chora. Another interesting church is the Agios Minas church which contains a brilliantly carved iconostasis and also a bishop's throne made entirely out of marble. There are numerous other churches all over Kythnos; either you can visit the more famous churches for a glimpse in to the religious side of Kythnos or explore the less known ones for a true feel of authentic Kythnos.

The Castle of Oria

It is situated before Cape Kefalos, between the hills Sklavos and Gialoudi. One can visit the remains of the old residences which have survived to our days. This place was the medieval capital of the island till the 16th century. In the Castle remains of the wall and of houses, have survived in contrast to the numerous churches; it is said that during the heyday they numbered 100 while today only Keraleousa and Agia Triada have survived- unfortunately in bad condition. According to a local legend, the Castle was conquered after betrayal. It is also said that the song “Kastro tis Orias” (Castle of Oria) refers to this specific Venetian Castle. However, this is discovered by the fact that both local tradition and folklore songs are found through ought the Hellenic region. The name “Kastro tis Orias” ,is actually, the corruption of the song “Kastro tis Amourias (Castle of Amouria), referring to the song “Kastro tis Amourias” (Castle of Amouria), referring to the blow of the Byzantine Empire after the Fall of Amoria by the Arabs.

Cave Katafiki

It is found in the beautiful village Dryopida, at the location Fires. It is one of the biggest caves in Greece, boasting fascinating labyrinths and a lush décor of rather impressive stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is not yet fully accessible to the public because there is still work being done on security and lighting but parts are open to the public. Its name comes from the word “Katafigio” (refuge) since it was used as one during the difficult period of piracy.


Vriokastro

The most important site in times is Vryokastro of Rigokastro, as it is called today; it is on the northern east side of the island and according to the ancient sources it was called Kythnos. The surface research in 1990 – 1995 brought to light many findings and the town planning and the residential organization of the town were clearly identified. According to the findings it was constantly inhabited from the 10th century B.C. to the 6th – 7th century A.D. Among the numerous findings, there are sepulchral bas-reliefs, sculptures, architectural findings inscriptions, shards of archaic jars with bas-reliefs, the Attic pottery of archaic and classic ages, sealed handles of trading amphoras and so on. Taking into account the surface pottery, the town was abandoned in the 6th or 7th century A.D. When the residents moved to the fortified settlement in Oria Castle.

The sanctuary of the Goddess Dimitra

At the top of the acropolis stands an important sanctuary which-according to the surface findings- was in use from the end of the 8th century B.C. up to the 1st century A.D. You can notice the remnants of the least four buildings (Numbers 1-4) and possibly of an altar. The number and kind of findings ( earth ware figurines of women –urn porters- children, various illuminating apparatus, elefsinian items ) as well as the inscriptions found at Demetra’s sanctuary in Elefsinia safely get to the conclusion that the sanctuary was dedicated to Demetra.

The ancient harbor

The underwater research and the excavation of the ancient harbour of Vryokastro in Mandraki bay started in 2005 and are still in progress. At the sea bottom the foundations of coastal walls have been located. In addition, a breakwater of 100 metres length which set to the South the entrance of the harbour. The whole basin and the buildings found on the shore and underwater have been imprinted. In 2007, one of those went under excavation; it is probably part of the sank coastal fortified wall. The excavation in 2008 and 2009 brought to light from the sea bottom important marble statues of the Roman Period, among which an armour-bearing torso of the 1st century B.C. and three hermaic steels of the 2nd century A.D.

The ancient metal mines on Kythnos

Somewhere round the middle of the 19th century, the increased demand for raw minerals materials created by the industrial revolution in the West, resulted in the operation of numerous mines on most Aegean islands. Kythnos is part of this change; from 1873 to 1940 iron mines were in operation. Nowadays, the mines are disused but they have obviously characterized the area. All over the island you can find the relies of the mining activity (administration buildings, workers’ house, loading platforms, galleries and other equipment). Taking the fact that the mines and the facilities are a peculiar, disdained –and in danger part of our technical- industrial civilization for granted, an alternative tourist solution has been put forward by students of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA); it is for those related to the domain or willing to combine their holidays with cultural and educational purposes. A suggestion aiming firstly to the preservation of the mines and secondly to their prominence will be achieved combining on the one hand the historical, folklore, folklore and archaeological elements of interest of the island, and on the other hand the natural landscape with which they are completely harmonized.

Ayios Loukas island on Kythnos

Located towards the northwest of Merichas, just 3 kilometers away from Chora. A narrow strip of sand joins the island of Kythnos to the islet of Ayios Loukas, thus creating two amazing bays, it is a real paradise for yachts since it is a unique naturally formed double-edged and well protected bay. Furthermore, it is a suitable place for anchorage because it is well protected from the southerly and etesian winds.

The folklore museum in Driopida

The Folklore Museum of Kythnos is in Dryopida and hosts items that were used on a daily basis in Kythnos in the previous years, items of folk art, as well as traditional local costumes. The museum is an old residence which has been preserved exactly as the days when it was inhabited by its owners. It was created by the initiative of Dryopes Association and it is located behind Agioi Apostoloi temple in Dryopida. There, you will have the chance to travel in time and get to discover a household of Thermia with all its household utensils related to agricultural and social life of the Kyrhnians.

Working hours 9:00 – 14:00 and 17:00 –20:00

The ecclesiastic and Byzantine museum on Kythnos

In the church of Ayios Georgios, in Dryopida on Kythnos, an ecclesiastic museum is hosted in a specially modified room. It was created after the initiative of priest Konstantinos Gonidis. In this museum there are several ecclesiastic exhibits from the Byzantine ages and several icons which have survived over the years.

Working hours 9:00 – 14:00 and 17:00 –20:00

Do[edit][add listing]

There is a scuba diving center in the area of Loutra on Kythnos. Fishing and snorkeling are good activities while on Kythnos but the best activity is hiking around Kythnos!

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Eat[edit][add listing]

Byzantio, Beach Road, Kamari 84006 (port of Kythnos), [1]. 12:00 - 0:00. The best restaurant in Mericha (the port of Kythnos) is the Byzantio! Ask for Anna, she will help you with loads of useful information as she serves you with a real, wide smile on her face.  edit

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Stay safe[edit]

Kythnos is generally a safe island.

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