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Kyra Panagia – monastic life

The so called Deserted Islands of the Northern Sporades were sparsely inhabited, but continously cultivated for more than one millenium by monastic communites.

Monasteries or their ruins still exist on:

Kyra Panagia: the ruins of an older monastery above Ag. Petros Bay and the more recent monastery of the I.M. Megisti Lavra on a promontory of the northern coast of the island,

Skantzoura, owned by the I.M. Megisti Lavra (cf. the article: Skantzoura – anybody out there ?)

Piperi (cf. the article: Piperi – the cultural heritage),

Gioura (cf. the article: Gioura – civilization over 10.000 years),

Pappou , owned by the I.M. Megisti Lavra (cf. the article: Northern Sporades conservation zone - various aspects)

Remains of still older habitation go back past the byzantine era to the classical antique colonization period on Kyra Panagia (=Pelagonisos) and Alonnisos (=Ikos, =Chelidromia). And beyond to the mesolithic civilisation on Gioura Island, excavated in the Cave of Kyklops (cf.again the article: Gioura - civilization over 10.000 years).

At the time of my first visits to Kyra Panagia in 1957 and 1958 only one monk resided as a guardian in the monastery. The vineyard still was cultivated with the Alonnisos variety of grapes that was almost completely destroyed by the phylloxera disease in the early 1960s. It first survived at the isolated location, but was eradicated by feral goats in later years.

Nowadays tourist cruise boats frequently anchor at the jetty. The utilization/opening of the Marine Park for (eco-) tourism still remains erratic and does not at all include all the attractive destinations within the Park's boundaries that could be visited without any deterioration or any disturbance of wildlife if professionally planned and organised.

Veröffentlicht am Kategorien Northern SporadesSchlagwörter , ,

Über Thomas Schultze-Westrum

Dr. Thomas Georg Hans SCHULTZE-WESTRUM Author of Scientific and Popular Publications Producer and Director of Documentary Films and Videos Adviser in Nature Conservation and Preservation of Rural Cultures Initiator of Conservation Programmes German national. Born 1937 (Berlin). Classical education at the Benedictine monastery of Ettal in Upper Bavaria. Graduate of Munich University, with degrees in Zoology, Geology and Cultural Anthropology (Ethnology). Scholarship by “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes”. Research (University of Munich, other scientific institutions) and publications on social and population physiology of marsupials and other vertebrate fauna of New Guinea and the Mediterranean Region, cultural anthropology, conservation and resource management on the village level, mainly in Greece and New Guinea. Author of the books “New Guinea” (Berne 1972) and “Biologie des Friedens” (Biology of Peace), Munich 1974. Dr. Schultze-Westrum has joined for several years the Commissions on Ecology and Environmental Planning of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). He is the founder of the working group (IUCN Commission on Ecology) “Conservation and Traditional Life Styles” 1979; the “ECOCULTURE” Movement 1981; the “Gesellschaft für die Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen” GEH (Society for the Preservation of Old and Endangered Breeds of Domestic Animals) 1981; and the non-profit-making society “KALLIERGIA”, for traditional agriculture and village conservation in Greece, 1993. As a consultant he has worked for the EU, IUCN, OECD and WWF. As a film maker he has produced, directed and mostly also shot, for German television and international TV networks, 75 documentaries, mainly ecological portraits with emphasis upon the integration of local and traditionally living people into conservation projects. His first film (1974) was about alternative (sustainable) utilization of tropical rainforests in New Guinea, for ZDF. Never Dr. Schultze-Westrum has entered any of his films into an award winning competition, because he is more concerned about the effects of his TV work in actual conservation and public awareness. One of these real awards was the creation of the Marine National Park Alonnisos Northern Sporades in Greece as a result of his film “The Coast of the Monk Seals” in 1976/77 for ZDF (ratings 36 % - shown in 11 countries). His programme “Green Desert”, about traditional water management in the Sultanate of Oman was distributed by the Television Trust for the Environment TVE to 44, mainly Third World, countries. Another leading aspect of his film work was the production of environmental films for the people of the country where he was filming. So, he produced the first TV series of films on ecology, rural life styles and conservation for Greece (in the early 80’s, 14 programmes) and for the Sultanate of Oman (late 80’s, 12 films). His deep interest in ancient human traditions inspired him to produce “Omani Seafaring”, for Oman TV; “Im Kielwasser Sindbads” (In the Wake of Sindbad), for the series Terra X of ZDF; and “Insel der Magier” (Island of the Sorcerers: Waigeo) for ARTE TV. After retiring from TV film production at the end of 2002 he is returning to his earlier scientific work (abandoned in the early 70’s) about the social and population physiology of marsupials ( Petaurus breviceps papuanus and closely related species); village based conservation; the evolution of human communal behaviour and cultural diversity; and the evolution of art styles in the Papuan Gulf province of New Guinea. Since 1992 he is also involved in eco- and agrotourism programmes that are based on his earlier promotion of this alternative “soft” tourism through publications and films, in Greece and West Papua. His conservation activities are continuously focussed on Greece and New Guinea, since 1957 and 1959, respectively. Dr. Schultze-Westrum now is writing up his experiences of many years field work and he is keeping communications alive through his homepage, from the ancient village of Kazaviti on the island of Thassos in the northern Aegean Sea. The conservation and re-activation of outstanding traditional values of Kazaviti stand at the centre of a local museum and documentation centre to be set up in one or even two old Macedonian stone houses.