A picturesque island-like environment to enjoy the pleasure of the sea and much else beside; a remarkable destination that still retains some of the charm of bygone days.
First impressions: The precipitous, forested Mt. Kantili that dominates the northwest tip of Evia, emerges abruptly from the sea creating one of the island’s most interesting sea zones. The small maritime town of Limni lies along what is perhaps the most beautiful stretch of this verdant coastline, appearing to balance somewhere between mountain and sea.
History at a glance: The area has been inhabited since the second millennium BC. Its current name Limni is a corruption of the name of the ancient city Elymnio which once stood on the site. During Roman and Byzantine years, the town flourished, but was often prone to pirate raids. The residents moved inland to higher ground, to the town of Kastrino Elymnio. In the mid-16th century they returned to the coast building the town of Limni which became an important shipping centre, and played an important role in the 1821 Revolution. After Evia was liberated from the Turks, Greek and foreign companies began to systematically mine for magnesite(19th century), and those activities continued until World War II.
Walks in town: Old, simple fishermen’s houses co-exist side by side with well-preserved neoclassical mansions of wealthy skippers. The Church of Panagia Limniona, with its marble bell tower, dominates the centre of the town(1879). Panagitsa Chapel dedicated to the Life-Giving Spring, built on a site where a Paleo-Christian Basilica once stood, is an important monument. A small section of the mosaic floor of the older church has survived (5th century). Old cafes frequented by the seamen line the wooden quay, but to suit more modern tourist trends many have been converted to ouzo bars, attracting large numbers of people in the summer.
Museums: Historical – Folklore Museum: Housed in a 19th century 2-storey neoclassical building, tel. +30 22270 31335 .
Nearby beaches: Taking the coastal road that heads south of Limni, one travels amid dense forests and fertile orchards. There are beaches dotted the whole way along the route, surrounded by pine forests. Heading north from Limni is another coastal road which leads to the villages of Chronia, Rovies and Elia, which then leads on to the well-known resort of Edipsos. All around the gentle terrain is covered with pine forests and olive groves, that reach right down to the shore with their deep, crystal clear waters.
Galataki Monastery: This fortress-like monastery built in the 8th century on the site of the ancient temple of Poseidon is considered to be the oldest on Evia. The Katholikon-the central church-, a cruciform basilica, is dedicated to St. Nicholas. The imposing tower-like monastery was built in the 15th century by Hosios David to protect monks from pirate raids. The more recent name Galataki was bestowed in honour of some benefactor from the Galata area of Constantinople.
Rovies: The ancient city of Horoviae which was famed for the oracle of Apollo Sellinous laid close to Rovies. Both the town and oracle were destroyed in earthquakes by the tidal waves which struck the area during the Peloponnesian War. Today all that survives of the troubled past in this area is a Frankish tower built in 1256 by Guillaume II de Villehardouin which later served as the home of a local Aga (lord).
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Copyright photo: Theo Athanasiadis / Views Of Greece
Copyright photo: Germaine Alexakis/ Views Of Greece