Gioura Island presents a rugged mountain wilderness from sea-level to 800 meters altitude. Human habitation always must have been confined to some plain stretches of land with clay soil. Steep lime-stone ridges surround these earlier cultivated areas like natural fortifications.
One has to consider changes in sea-level of up to 85 meters below recent marks.
Excavations starting in 1992 in the so called Kyklops Cave, have revealed a very early occupation, at least dating back ten millenia, to the Mesolithic era. ...weiterlesen "Gioura – civilization over 10.000 years"
The so called Deserted Islands of the Northern Sporades were sparsely inhabited, but continously cultivated for more than one millenium by monastic communites. ...weiterlesen "Kyra Panagia – monastic life"
On Kyra Panagia Island the traditional pastoral system as illustrated by my photographs of 1976 (and the 16 mm footage shot at the same time) has been abandoned since the conservation area Northern Sporades was established. The goats are not herded and milked anymore.
Already earlier cattle grazing was discontinued (cf. my article: Endemic cattle of the Northern Sporades archipelago).
Athanasios the Athonite had aquired Kyra Panagia for producing there cheese for the monks in the Megisti Lavra, because on Athos no female animals were allowed. ...weiterlesen "Kyra Panagia – goats"
In the conception of early human civilization there existed nothing supernatural because the spiritual dimension was an essential part of the natural world. Hence holiness, if defined as the essence of the natural, existed before mankind began to recognize and to distinguish the qualities of the spiritual versus the natural world. So it remains a matter of definition if holiness (or sacredness) should be regarded as a quality per se or of human making.
If we were trying to reflect upon the initial stages in the relationship between small-size („tribal“) societies and their natural environment we got to retreat to places that remained unaffected by ideologies and ways of life opposed to the understanding of holy or spiritual being universal - and not just distinct attributes of mankind.
The island which now bears the name of Kyra Panagia had remained such virgin place; it retained the very holyness that has no human history: a sanctuary of the all-natural and all-spiritual in a timeless synthesis.
People must have lived in the realm of this archipelago since the dawn of mankind (cf. the article about Gioura). ...weiterlesen "Kyra Panagia – the Holy Island"
Piperi Island, Northern Sporades - the Last Unknown in the Aegean Sea. Refuge for the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae), endemic reptile (Podarcis erhardii weigandi) and plant species (Campanula rechingeri). Core zone of the Marine Park. ...weiterlesen "Piperi – coast of the monk seals"