Vonitsa: the castle of eight mastersVonitsa, Greece
One castle, eight masters. From the Byzantines (of various factions) that built it to the Lombards, the Turks, the Venetians, the French, and finally the Greeks, the castle of Vonitsa is the perennial champion of local history.
1. Island paradiseSometimes a speck of land can stay with you forever. When it comes hand in hand with a verdant grove, captivating view, and a wavy bridge, you are in heaven on earth.
2. The plane tree and the eucalyptusHagios Spyridon is the patron saint of Vonitsa and his church impresses the visitors with its podium for the Great Blessing of Waters, that employs real eucalyptus branches.
3. Saint on horsebackThe church of Saint George, humble and unadorned, is two kilometers outside Vonitsa. The more horsepower you command as you approach, the better.
Letter to Jesus Christ
Island paradiseNectarios was born in 1846 in Silivri, Istanbul, to a poor family. At the age of 14 he moved to Constantinople to work for a tobacco merchant. His pay was low, so he was soon without shoes. He was impressed by the voluminous correspondence of his employer, so he decided to write a letter to Jesus Christ, and ask for some money for shoes. On the way to the post office he encountered another merchant, who volunteered to mail the letter for him. When the merchant noticed the address on the envelope, he read the letter and was deeply moved. He put money in another envelope and sent it to Nectarios. The young boy bought shoes, but when his employer saw them, he was certain that Nectarios was stealing money from him, and started beating him. The young boy could do nothing but claim that he received the money from Christ.
The plane tree and the eucalyptusIn the late 19th century many Germans came to Vonitsa to participate in archaeological excavations or public work projects in the city and the wider region. One of them decided to endow the church of Hagios Spyridon with a podium for the Great Blessing of Waters at Theophany. The podium has a compartment on each corner to receive large branches of eucalyptus, in memory of the banks of the river Jordan, where Christ was baptized. Even the podium colours are inspired by this tree, as were the colours selected by Spyridon Gazis for the interior walls of the church. The podium was recently restored, following damage caused by woodworms and the large nails used by the German manufacturer.
The dragon and the princess
Saint on horsebackGeorge was a Roman soldier of Greek origin, who was sentenced to death for failing to recant his Christian faith in 303 AD. His name is associated with the popular story of the dragon. According to the legend, there was a city in Africa plagued by a venom-spewing dragon. The monster dwelled in a freshwater pond and demanded a human sacrifice each day to allow the people access to the water. The victims were selected by lottery, and one day the lot fell on the king's daughter. As the young virgin awaited her terrible fate, Saint George arrived at the spot by chance. He charged the dragon on horseback and seriously wounded it. Then he brought the monster to town, where he slayed it, once the citizens had promised to convert to Christianity.
Nea Odos has undertaken the study, planning, construction, operation, administration and maintenance of the “Ionian Road” project. A breathtaking project covering a total length of 380klm.
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