The Dragon Houses

Package Theme: Photography

Description

The dragon house (drakospito) nestles just underneath Ochi’s highest peak. In southern Karystos over 20 such houses have been found, most in the region of Styra. The one that is near the summit of Ochi is the most significant.

Duration

4 days

Sites of Photo Interest


Discover hidden treasures of Ancient Greece in an Athens Photo Tour, by walking the city streets. You will learn practical pro tips you can use straight away. We will point out details invisible to the untrained eye, reveal the best points on the route of your interest and identify photo opportunities for creative shots.
Are you interested in Architectural Photography, Street Photography, Landscape Photography, Night Photography, Flash Photography, Tilt-Shift Photography. Athens Photo Tour is the right service for you. These are fantastic photo tours that will get you more interested in your photography skills. 


The last primordial chestnut forest of south Evia. Just east of the highest peak of Mt Ochi, at an elevation of 900– 1,100m is a very small, ancient wild chestnut forest that covers an area of approximately 60 hectares.
Kastanolongos is a natural museum, where every ancient tree constitutes a living piece of natural sculpture. It creates a green oasis under the untamed peaks of Mt Ochi, providing a panoramic view of the southernmost peninsula of Evia and from the Southern Evoikos Gulf to Attica and the north Cyclades. Because its aesthetic value is of national importance, Kastanolongos has been ranked as a Region of Particular Natural Beauty.


he dragon house (drakospito) nestles just underneath Ochi’s highest peak. In southern Karystos over 20 such houses have been found, most in the region of Styra. 
The one that is near the summit of Ochi is the most significant. This ancient rectangular structure measuring 4.85 metres by 9.80 is made of huge stones with no mortar. The entrance is on the long side, in contrast to ancient temples whose entrance was on one of the shorter sides. The walls are so thick one naturally imagines supermen placing the stones in rows with enviable skill.
What is characteristic is the corbelled roof. In this manner of building, the stones penetrate the interior and create a structure that is reminiscent of an overturned tub. The oldest finding that archaeological excavations have unearthed is an archaic inscription that was buried in the earth outside the building. Many locally produced kyathoi (cupshaped vessels) were found during excavations by professor Nikos Moutsopoulos. They date to the late 4th and early 3rd century BC. There are also findings from the early 5th and 4th centuries BC (Attic-style vessels, glass beads, fragments of bronze vessels). Although the type The Ochi Drakospito An ancient monument that elicits awe of worship that took place there has not been determined, there was an altar where sacrifices were carried out as early as the archaic period.
A veil of mystery surrounds the Ochi drakospito. Judging from the findings, the view that it was a temple is sound, but the type of worship has not been determined, nor has the precise date of construction or who built it.


Many exciting hiking trips may be organised using Myloi as the point of departure. This is also the last way station for any mountain climber ascending Mt Ochi. The most remarkable resting point is the ancient quarries preserved at the top of the valley of Myloi; Kylindroi is the district’s most important quarry. Above the quarry, the great rocks of Kakia Skala dominate the trail that continues on to Mt Ochi. A medieval cobbled road which passes under imposing precipices still exists.
Birds of prey, Bonelli’s eagles and short-toed snake eagles nest in the vicinity of Kakia Skala. During the fall migration, one can see the flight of golden eagles, griffon vultures, honey buzzards and other rare raptors. Additionally, the great rocks shelter many rare wildflowers.

ANCIENT QUARRIES THAT MADE KARYSTOS WORLD-FAMOUS

In antiquity, southern Karystos was famous for its marble. The ancient quarries of Ochi are to be found on the southern slopes, between the villages of Mekounida and Aetos. Strabo wrote of the renowned “Karystos columns” which were monoliths. The quarries were so busy that in Marmari, the main port for exporting Karystos marble, a temple for the cult of Marble Apollo was built. The most intense quarrying took place during the Roman era. During the eras of Julius Caesar (60-44 BC) and Augustus, Karystos marble was highly sought after in Rome, particularly for monolithic columns. It was also used to line walls and for flooring. Even today, in Monastiraki, in Athens, one can admire the monolithic columns of Hadrian’s Library. The most notable monument of ancient quarrying is situated in Kylindroi, in Myloi. Gigantic 12-metre-long monolithic columns, the “cylinders” as the locals call them, can still be seen where they were quarried. The most interesting thing is the possibility that the ancient quarries might be associated with the drakospita of southern Evia. There is a theory that the drakospita were temples dedicated to the patron of quarries, Hercules, who looked upon them from afar and would inspire the workers to continue their difficult work. A military emergency, perhaps the threat of the fall of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century AD, caused the departure of the Roman garrison and the closure of the quarries.


“While traversing this shady gorge with its dense vegetation full of dew and birdsong, I felt I should name it the Karystos Tempi, since in beauty, water and abundant greenery it surpassed Tempi in Thessaly”. (Tassos Zappas, 1984, p. 119)
It is very obvious that in the Demosaris Gorge a moderate traditional agricultural and stockbreeding culture coexists harmoniously with nature in the wild. Demosaris is a Byzantine place name. There are various versions as to how it was acquired. According to one version, it derives from Demosarius, meaning “he who exploits public land”, possibly land that was at the source or on the banks of the river. Another version claims it derives from the Demosaris Stream, meaning the waters were state-owned. The Demosaris Gorge may be divided into two sections, one above, the other below the village of Lenosaioi. Below the village, the gorge is steep and wild. From the village of Lenosaioi to the sea, it becomes a narrow valley. Scattered on the east side of the stream are the small settlements of Kallianos.
Discover hidden treasures of Ancient Greece in an Athens Photo Tour.
We start early in the morning for Rafina port to catch the ferry. We arrive in Karystos, we prepair our equipment and start hiking to Ancient Quarries, Kastanalongos and Dragon houses. We enjoy the sunset at the peak of the mountain in the view of the Dragon houses.
We wake up at the shelter and have breakfast. Head to walk the Demosari Canyon that end up at the beautifull Kallianos beach. We return to Athens with the ferry.
You have the chance to enjoy a delicious breakfast before returning home.
* All above tours are suggestions and not fixed packages. Any tour combination and alterations (in length, sightseeing, destinations, etc.) are available according to your desire!
Valid Period: From 31/05/2016 up to 31/12/2016.
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