Traditional Architecture in Ikaria

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There are exceptional traditional houses and little villages in Ikaria. Due to the extensive destruction of the island by pirates, the residents had to live in the mountainous parts of the island where they built scattered settlements and somehow camouflaged houses so as to hide themselves in the natural environment. Their houses were made among their crops under the cliffs and were practically lost in the nature.

The most typical houses  and unique examples in Greece are the Chyta [cast] or “ortokatevata” . This kind of house looks as if it glows downward , has a rectangular top view , one room and a roof sloping to the ground. The only opening of the building is the door, in front of which a wall was raised to hide it. The smoke of the fireplace escaped from the cracks on the roof and an opening on the roof covered with a movable slate. There was always a secret  exit leading to small semi-underground spaces or cells away from home so that the residents of the house could escape. Similar anti-pirate houses exist in Raches, Feido, Kampa, Koumaros and Pezi.

Another typical example of the Ikarian architecture is some houses called Kamares [arches] which were made in granite cliffs, and were camouflaged so as to be safe. The pyrgaria [ another type of house ] appeared later, when there was no danger of pirates. the new type of house was quite similar to the towers of Mani because towards the late 18th century people from Mani moved to Ikaria. Two-story houses, based on the architecture of the Aegean and Asia Minor, appeared in the late 19th century.

The island has some protected traditional settlements such as Armenistis, Evdilos, Kountoumas, Lapsachades, Mileopo and Christos Rachon.

We hope you have enjoyed our section on Traditional Architecture in Ikaria.
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