Skaros: The capital of the Venetian Era
By Claire Palyvou
The impressive rock of Skaros, projecting strongly, as if to loosen from the walls of the caldera, is one of the most prominent landmarks of the island, where if one looks at this unique group of islands and volcanoes. The only visible human presence Theoskepasti the chapel, facing the caldera. Yet, this place was once home to a bustling city ...
The story begins in 1207 Skaros after the consolidation of the Venetian occupation of hunting and the integration of the island in the Aegean Duchy. The volume of natural rocky fortress chose new leaders to establish their capital: there they built the ducal palace, the cathedral (tomato) and seat of the Catholic Bishop of the island, monasteries and stately homes. In 1480, the island was handed to Pizanias Domenico, son of the Duke of Crete, as a dowry for her marriage with the daughter of the Duke of Naxos, princess Fiorentza. The descriptions of the celebrations accompanying the delivery of the castle contain valuable evidence for the image of the city. Approximately one hundred years later the Duchy of the Aegean passed now in possession of the Ottoman Empire.
Skaros no major damage from the terrible earthquake of 1650. The residents then decide to abandon the restrictive and dangerous environment of the Castle and the difficult life they describe many travelers, and to establish new "metropolitan" center of Fira. The transplantation was completed in the last decades of the 18th century following the reduction of pirated risk. In 1850, the site of the old prosperous state there are only tombs and poultry, the browser writes Leycester.
The leading role of the community Skaros the spiritual life of the island between the reflected glory from the crowd and the importance of the monasteries were founded in the castle. One of the oldest monastery is the Dominican monks of St. Catherine of Sienna, founded in 1595 by Marino Dargenta, fry the industry eklatinismenou the Byzantine imperial family of silver. Intense was the activity of the Order of the Jesuits, as evidenced by a school in Skaros. There were also Orthodox churches such as St. Irene and St. Theodosia in front of the gate of the castle and the monastery of St. Nicholas, founded in 1651 by the Hellenized Latin Gizi family. In these monasteries, Catholic and Orthodox, have served as monks scions of prominent families of Thera.
An unexpected image of the city just before the abandonment of the plan gives us a collection of Thomas Hope (1788), held at the Benaki Museum. The settlement was presented as a set of built-up character of a fortress. The continuous front of houses with few and small openings create strong fortification wall, which protects the village towards the only possible access to the east. The gates closed when there was fear of hostile invasion, "he informs F. Richard (1642), while for greater security at the gate leading mobile, wooden bridge, the foundations of which are distinguished yet.
In the few ruins left over from the fallout of the rocks you see today, remnants of walls, domes and basins. In these ruins time has stopped in the 17th century.
* Claire Palyvou is professor of architecture at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki