LIHADONISIA-A SMALL ISLAND PARADISE

Just a breath away from Lichada/Evia and opposite Kamena Vourla on the mainland, lie the islets of Lichadonisia, the green islands of endless blue that forever preserve the mystery of their formation, and their former inhabitants.

The coast of Kavos in northern Evia, slowly recedes as the Limberis family excursion boat approaches the islands, steering through strong currents and skirting many rocks lying just below the surface.

 

 

The Lichadonisia archipelago is of volcanic origin, which is evident in the formation and rock deposits. In the coastal area, the islands consist of black lava rock, some of which is extremely sharp-edged.

The largest island of the group is called "Monolia", is densely overgrown, and on its only beach, which nestles with fine volcanic sand in a small bay with turquoise water, is also the well-organised beach bar of the Limberis family. The family home is the best preserved building on the opposite side of the island.

Before docking at the beach, it is possible to take a short tour around the islets, if desired. On board the excursion boat you have the opportunity to observe, film and photograph the remains of the former residential buildings with the landing field and the small church of St. George, which is still used and celebrated today on its name day (April 23rd) or also for weddings.

Passing the islands, the small boat trip takes us to an impressive shipwreck to the west of the island, which lies at a depth of about 6 metres, through a series of reefs; and which, when the sea is calm, can also be seen very beautifully from the boat.

One of the nicest surprises in the area is the presence of a small family of endangered monk seals, which have taken up permanent residence in the area around Lichadonisia in recent years and can be seen from the boat in good weather and with a bit of luck.

 

The Greek myths are full of exciting stories. One of them is about the origin of the island complex of the Lichadonisia. 

The myth tells us how Hercules' wife, Diianeira, thought she had been betrayed by her husband, so she had his servant Lichas deliver him a poisoned cloak. Half mad with pain, Hercules then grabbed his hapless servant Lichas, and threw him far out to sea.

The various body parts of Lichas fell around Cape Kinaio, where Poseidon then transformed them into small islets, today's Lichadonisia, which are a popular destination for day trips and exploration.

 

History and tradition

The archipelago is a single volcanic formation. The volcano was active during the Quaternary of the Cenozoic in the prehistory of the Earth. Before the tectonic subduction of the Maliako Gulf, the Lichadonisia were attached to the Lichadas Peninsula. Large parts of the islands were submerged by a great earthquake in 426 BC.

 

Description

 

The Lichadonisia are situated on the north-western side of the island of Evia, between the Gulf of Maliako and the northern Gulf of Euboea, in the extension of ancient Cape Kinaio, opposite Kavos beach on Evia and Cape Knimida, Fthiotida, on the mainland.

The islands consist of Monolia, the large round island, the small round island, the "Steno" (the straight one), the "Vagia!", the "Vori", the harbour and other small reefs and islets, also called "little mouse islands".

The Great Round is the southernmost of the archipelago. It is named after its round hemispherical shape. The island is densely overgrown and rises steeply above sea level; it is probably the tip of an underwater volcano. A lighthouse stands on its highest point. The islet of Monolia is elongated and has a small bay that serves as a natural harbour.

 

The Lichadonisia archipelago is ideal for snorkelling and water sports, but the main island is also interesting for a walk along the beach over volcanic rocks (be careful, sturdy shoes required!).

 

Population development of the islands

26 According to the 1920 census

70 According to the 1928 census

37 According to the 1940 census

53 According to the 1951 census

25 According to the 1961 census

2 according to the census of the year 1971

5 in the 1981 census

Today the islands are uninhabited. 

 

Archaeological

Monolia

Ruins of stone houses, a well-preserved, since repeatedly renovated chapel of St. George, ruins of houses and ruins of a Christian church under water.

 

Stroggili-the round

There is still a lighthouse on the top of the island, but it is no longer in use.

Preserved remains of a Roman aqueduct, a sign that the island was inhabited in ancient times. 

"Stroggeli", called the "round", because it rises round out of the sea like a hemisphere. In addition to the lighthouse, there are ruins of a hermitage from the 12th century AD, which was built and run by the monk Gregory. Gregorios (Gregoris o Myroflitis, Gregory of the Myrrh) was the son of a respected Christian family from the region of present-day Mystras and lived in the 11th century AD. From an early age he was taught the sacred scriptures and showed enthusiasm for monastic life.

At the age of 16, he decided to leave worldly life behind and retire to a monastery, but his parents did not allow him to do so. Later, he followed a group of visiting monks from Mystras with the aim of making a pilgrimage with them to the Holy Land. But unforeseen circumstances led them to Rome. There, the young Gregory became a monk in a monastery in the region.

Later he set off for the Holy Land and then came to Nicaea in Asia Minor, from where he went to Thrace and Macedonia and finally settled in Euboea. The presence of Gregory, full of divine grace, in the small town of Oreos, sets off a palace alarm. The Holy Church where he lived was flooded daily by large numbers of the faithful who sought out the saint to hear his sermons and profound advice.

However, in order to escape the honour paid to him and to find the rest he longed for, he very soon left Oreos and settled on a very small island, the island of Stroggyli, part of the island complex of present-day Lichadonisia on the north-western tip of Euboea. But it was not long before this new refuge of St Gregory became known and crowds of rich and poor, priests, high priests and monks came to him to learn from him the way of penance and to follow his example.

 

The Orthodox Church commemorates him every year 56 days after Easter.

 

Today, the ruins of St. Gregory's hermitage are located on the north-eastern shore of the Stroggeli. In the building complex, the church of the Virgin Mary, the tomb of St. Gregory, the cells, the entrance, the huge walls and other outbuildings can be seen today.