Μonuments of Kythera
Kythera is one of the places of Greece with archaeological and architectural wealth.
In recent and distant past archaeological excavations were conducted in many parts of the island with satisfactory findings. The areas where archaeological investigations took place were Chora (location Lionis) Kastri Palaiopolis Diakofti, Karava and elsewhere. During the years 1963-1965 conducted the most important surveys in Kastri area from British and American archaeologists, who uncovered a remarkable settlement of Minoan era and also during the years 1995-97 by Professor I. Sakelaraki at the Agio Georgo location at Bouno (St. George on the Mountain) where discovered unlooted Peak Sanctuary of Minoan era. Eighty four (84) small sculptures there were found and many other interesting items. Excavations also conducted by archaeologist Aris Tsaravopoulos in Cave Chousti at Diakofti that produced mainly several prehistoric findings but also from other eras, similarly in Paleocastro and Karava.
In addition to the excavations and the archaeological objects that found, in Kythera there are many monuments of particular importance, mainly of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine era.
Of great importance is the ruined Byzantine settlement of Paleochora (St. Demetrius) that looks like Mystras, but of lesser scale. It was the capital of the island from the 13th century to the 16th century. Then it was destroyed in 1537 by the pirate and the Admiral of the Turkish fleet Barbarossa. In Paleochora there are ruins of many houses and of 23 churches, of which the best preserved is that of St. Antonios and St. Barbara (Agios Antonios and Agia Barbara). Moreover, is recently restored the highest part of the preserved castle walls, the so called "Castle."
Also remarkable is the Castle of Mylopotamos, probably constructed in 16th century, which maintains many houses and several churches, most important of which is St. John the Baptist, which dates back in around 1510-1518 A. C.
In Avlemonas, during Venetian era (1725) was built a small fort (Castello) to protect the ships docked there from pirates’ attacks or other hostile forces.
Of particular importance are the frescoes of the Byzantine churches scattered almost everywhere in the island. Unfortunately, there are not opened and are inaccessible to the general public, that may be able to visit some of them, after arrangement with the archaeological keepers.
These churches are in total 37, but the most important are:
Agios Andreas (Saint Andrew) in Livadi with three phases of frescoes. The first from the late 10th – to the early 11th century. The second of the 13th century and the third of the 16th to the 17th century.
Agios Dimitrios (St. Dimitrios) in Pourko: a cluster of four Churches that together form a quadrilateral shape, with an entrance door from the west. In accordance with the tradition the southern church is dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the northeast to the Holy Virgin, the north to Saint Nikolas and the southwest to Archangel Michael or St. Basil. It is rescued on the founding inscription of the 13th century the name of the painter Demetrius, archdeacon of Monemvasia and the frescoes of the cluster that dated back to 13th up to 18th century.
Agios Petros (Saint Peter) in Araious is a cross-transition type church with an octagonal dome. Without narthex and dates back to the 13th century. Are rescued layers of Byzantine frescoes. At this monument have completed the work fixing the wall and restoring the frescoes from the First Curative Department of Byzantine Antiquities.
Agios Nikon in Zaglanikianika is a single -space square church of the so-called Kytherian type with a few frescoes dating back in the 13th century. There are also a few Byzantine icons of the 16th century.
Agia Barbara (Saint Barbara) in Paleochora The post cruciform church with dome and no frescoes dominates the Byzantine castle of St. Barbara in Paleochora and stands out for its slender proportions, the high octagonal dome and its characteristic roofing made of local slate (cheloplaka ).