Saturday, 13 August 2011

Where I am currently AT.

Here is some rather duious information on my current whereabouts:

Welcome to Old Alonnisos!

The settlement of Old Alonnisos is in the South-Western part of the island, at a height of 200 metres on the summit of a hill, with views right round the horizon – the desert islands of the Marine Park, Skopelos, Evia, and Pelion.

Today local people refer to the settlement by the names ‘Palia Alonnisos’, ‘Hora’, ‘Palio Horio’, and ‘Liadromia’.

Old Alonnisos was the capital of the island until 1965, the year of the great earthquake. The material damage to the village was severe, so that the inhabitants had to live in tents for two years, following which they were somehow ‘obliged’ to move to ‘Neo Oikismo’ or ‘New Settlement’, created for the earthquake victims in Patitiri.

In 1978 the settlement of Hora was recognized, along with 431 similar places, as ‘Traditional’, by the Environment Ministry.

Today the village is inhabited by an interesting mix of locals and foreigners: 20 – 30% of the population is English, French, and Italian, with a few Germans and other Europeans.

Places of interest include the Castro, the old school, and the village churches. The views from the little squares to all points of the horizon are incomparable.

The Castro is an unusual stronghold, in that it never had a fully circumferential wall: the Northern face is naturally defended by the imposing volcanic rock-face, with the houses built on the edge, without balconies and with only small windows. On the Southern side the perimeter wall is formed by the outer walls of the houses themselves, so these have small windows or mere loopholes. Thus the inhabitants were protected from the pirates who raided the Northern Sporades.

The Castro has only two entrances: the first is beside the Museum and Traditional House, where there was a heavy door. One can come out again from the second, about 100 metres further on, after wandering about the Castro.

Important cultural events in Old Alonnisos include the staging of a traditional Alonnisos wedding on the fifteenth of August, following the big party with traditional music, food and dancing. A notable event is the staging of traditional methods of threshing and winnowing, which occurs early in July and is organized by the Cultural and Improvement Society of Old Alonnisos.

Cultural and Improvement Society of Old Alonnisos.

English Translation by Simon Darragh.

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