Land cultivation and pastoral traditions have ancient roots on Skyros.
The indigenous breed of cattle was still maintained in 1958. The photographs were taken in the coastal area adjoining Kalamítza Bay, east of Linarià.
The ponies were kept in one herd during the winter inland from Linarià (pictures taken in 1976).
The eastern part of Skyros, owned by the I.M. Megisti Lavra on Agion Oros, was leased for extensive goat browsing: The crippled oak "trees" (Quercus coccifera) cannot grow up to any hight, because again and again all young shoots and leaves are nibbled off (pictures taken in 1976). The subsequent erosion is progressing from higher altitudes downwards, moving the soil towards flat depressions or the sea respectively. So the carrying capacity of the land for pasture (mostly for browsing oak) is getting less year by year. A barren skeleton of rock with some marginal plant growth remains. And the annnual EU subsidies shoot up like rockets. We pay for this ecological mis-management - for another human distaster. ...weiterlesen "Skyros – pastoral traditions"
The archipelago of Skantzoura, Northern Sporades sank into oblivion, got lost in the people's consciousness - since the Monastery of Evangelistria was abandoned by the monks of the mother monastery, the I.M. Megisti Lavra on Agion Oros. ...weiterlesen "Skantzoura – anybody out there?"
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"