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History of Poros & Trizina Area and
Historic Sites in Central Greece

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Minor Historic Sites in Poros -

  • St. George's and the site of Aethra's Temple.
  • Poros Old Town.
  • Megalo Neorio Shipyard Site.
  • The Old Windmill Tower.
  • The Kapodistrias and Naval Memorials.
  • The War Memorial in Heroes' Square.
  • The Hatzopoulios Public Library.
  • Villa Galini.
  • The Clock Tower.
  • Mermaid of Poros.
  • Election Days.

Obelisk of Kapodistrias
Obelisk of Kapodistrias

Introduction ...

Those used to images of the Parthenon and the Palace of Knossos may justly ask where the history of Poros is and what the writer could possibly find to justify this page. The answer, quite simply, is that the island's historic sites are either on open view or subtle and in need of interpretation. Poros has not revealed its Roman, Byzantine and Turkish history, probably because it was destroyed by overbuilding. All other periods are surprisingly evident, if you have some idea what to look for.

The bulleted list above is the chronological order of these minor sites. Finding them will be a pleasant walk over a couple of days

Church of Aghios Giorghios, Poros
Church of Aghios Giorghios

St. George's Cathedral and the site of Aethra's Temple :

Classical legend has it that Aethra, a Princess of Troizena, established the Temple of Athena Aperturia on the island of Sferia as a place where the girls of Trizina could pass from girlhood into maidenhood. Rome adopted siilar practices, with girls leaving their childish toys at a similar temple. The more robust Greek girls left their 'chastity belts' behind, but the writer wonders if there was more to it than that. Certainly, as St. George's is in the cleavage between Poros's two hills, a feminine image of breasts comes to mind. The Christians built their Church over the site, the machismo of modern Greece shifting the rite to men, as passing from boyhood to manhood.

Modern stone and stucco hide the Temple completely, but the Cathedral Church stands on the site. Follow the east side of the Town Hall into a passage and up steps to the square by the Church.

Alley in Poros old town
Alley in Poros old town

Poros Old Town :

With the fall of Byzantium (Constantinople, Istanbul) the heart was torn out of the ailing Byzantine Empire and the Peloponnese gradually fell to Turkish rule. The Venetian Republic appears to have gained three fortresses in the Argolis area, including the Frankish castle at Trizina. Venetian architecture can be seen in many Greek islands, including - a surprise - in Poros. The buildings near the old High School between the Academy and the Cinema Cafe are just the most obvious. Italianate architecture can be found further up in the Old Town, whose position in the 'cleavage' or 'saddle' gave it a natural defence against attack. It is not clear whether the Old Town was ever walled, as it is possible that thick house walls and narrowe windows gave a natural defensive perimeter.

A walk through the Old Town has the advantage of being an adventure of discovery for tavernas, chapels, the town mill (eastern hilltop) and the 1920s Clock Tower (western hilltop). Only one word of caution - the Old Town has electricity and water supply, but no mains drainage, so beware of dirty water from people cleaning or washing dishes.

Megalo Neorio beach
Megalo Neorio Beach

Megalo Neorio Shipyard Site :

The word 'Neorio' means shipyard. It seems that timber from the pine trees of Kalavria and the mainland was here made into fishing and merchant vessels, possibly also the ships of the early Greek Navy. Sadly, nothing now remains of the shipyards and their slipways, but the writer guesses that they might have been in the northwestern corner of the bay, where a seasonal stream entered the bay. A lot of shibuilding and repair work was probably done on the beach, in Poros as in other Mediterranean harbours.

A one-euro bus ticket from Poros town will give you an excellent tour through Kanali, Megalo Neorio, Love Bay and Russian Bay. Alternatively, walk there from Kanali or Askeli, as we did in 2006 and 2007, for the sun, sand and tavernas.

Cretan-style windmill at Hydra
(This is one from Hydra)

The Old Windmill Tower
This structure is the roofless ruin of a windmill of the 'Cretan' type, of which there are complete examples on the nearby island of Hydra (Ydra). The age is not known, but the position on the hilltop gives excellent views and would have provided a steady wind. Grain is easier to store as grain, rather than flour, so Poros would have needed a town mill for everyday production of bread flour.
The best way to reach the mill is to walk up through Poros Old Town, but be prepared for narrow and steep sloping alleyways and steps.

Naval Anchor Display, Paralia, Poros
Naval Anchor Display

The Kapodistrias and Naval Memorials :
These are located between the High School's neo-classical frontage and the Poseidon Taverna. They consist of a flagmast and two cannon overlooking the seafront, and a second pair of cannon that flank an obelisk topped with a bust of Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first and only Governor of the modern Greek nation. To the south of the flagmast display there is a plaque beside a display of three anchors - a grapnel, an 'Admiralty pattern' stocked anchor and an early 'stockless' modern anchor.
These memorials commemorate Poros's role as Greece's first naval base, as well as the life of Kapodistrias. Site visitors who read The 1831 Battle of Poros will realise that the cannon come from ships destroyed in that terrible naval Civil War.

Villa Galini, Poros, from seafront road
Villa Galini, Poros

Villa Galini :
Famously visited just before the Second World War by American writer Henry Miller and after the Second World War by the Greek poet and diarist George Seferis. Other pre-war visitors included the writer Lawrence Durrell and Greek poet Julia Dragoumis. A beautiful building on a terrace between Kanali and Mikro Neorio. View from the road.

Image being obtained

The Hatzopoulios Municipal Library :
This two-storey building is up a broad staircase from the seafront, not far from the ferry booking offices. The foyer and the walls of the ground-floor meeting-room hold a rather lovely geology and marine life display - 'The Shells and The Sea'. Upstairs there is an office for the curator and the small public library. The writer suggests it as a place for at least one visit. There is no admittance-fee and a free leaflet.

Poros Clock Tower from north
Poros Clock Tower from north

The Clock Tower :
Built in 1922, the Clock Tower is now one of the iconic images of Poros, like the Palace of King Otto and Love Bay. Sadly, graffiti enthusiasts have damaged its lower walls and it is hoped the Municipality will do more to protect it.
Reached by a staircase from near the Library or from alleyways near the Cathedral Church of St. George.

War Memorial, Heroes' Square, Poros
War Memorial, Heroes' Square, Poros

The War Memorial in Heroes' Square :
Greece has suffered losses in both World Wars and in minor conflicts at times before and since. Britain sedately dresses its war memorials with wreaths of poppies; the Greeks, more outgoing, decorate their memorials with arches and garlands of flowers. But the Greeks also very sensibly regard it as a time to celebrate their national survival, so in the Tavernas and Cafes there will be many a glass raised to the dead who paid for that freedom with their lives.

The Mermaid of Poros
The Mermaid of Poros

The Mermaid of Poros :
George Xenoulis created this magnificent bronze scuplture as a Year 2000 symbol for Poros. Anne Ibbotson was probably the first to see the mermaid unveiled and to write about her in 'Coming Slowly'. For this writer, she personifies the joy that is Poros and the Greek love of life that is kefi. She was the symbol chosen for the Poros 2006 blog.

Election Days :
Bearing in mind the bloody civil wars and major wars across Greece in the days since 1827, the restoration of a voting democracy to Greece is one of its greatest achievements. The writer amused the locals by becoming fascinated with the process of elections and the Election Night, a thankful change from the banditry formerly part of political change. Visitors should quietly watch what goes on, leaving the Greeks to decide their future, for that will be the outcome of historical events.

Kostas Karamanlis (ND - New Democracy)
Kostas Karamanlis
(ND - New Democracy)
George Papandreou (PASOK - Panhellenic Socialists)
George Papandreou(PASOK
- Panhellenic Socialists)
Poster of KKE (Communist Party of Greece)
Poster of KKE
(Communist Party of Greece)
Georgios Karatzaferis (LAOS - Popular Orthodox)
Georgios Karatzaferis
(LAOS - Popular Orthodox)


© 2007 and 2008 Richard Edkins, Dalbeattie Internet.