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Piracy in Ikaria island

Piracy is a phenomenon that has affected th lives of people of Aegean Sea in a very strong way. It is a part of their history and a factor according to which they had organized their daily activities as well as the places they chose to settle their houses. As old as human, it has always been present from ancestry either in a bloom or in recession. Pirate ships have been sailing in Aegean Sea for many centuries driving local people to despair. Especially, those who lived in island or coastal areas were scared of pirate invasions as pirates were grabbing everything they would find in their way. They also hijacked thousands of people in order to exact ransom.

Plenty of villages had been destroyed by pirates and those who rescued the massacre and hijacking climbed on the mountains and settled their houses on these wild, rocky and inaccessible areas.

The habitants of the islands had invented different methods in order to defend piracy. Usually they fortified their towns against pirate invasions but, in Ikaria island, they had found their own way: Ikarians preferred to hide themselves under rocks and behind hills. They almost unified their buildings with nature and this made them invisible to the enemy. They dug the rocks in order to buil for their houses in them.

On the west part of Ikaria Island, the earth is full of huge rocks from which Ikarians took advantage to hide their houses. They used either the rocks or the trees to camouflage their buildings.

One could get really impressed about those buildings which are still there, not affected at all by natural disasters. They way those people had turned the rock into a house shows how creative and imaginative humans can be, especially when it is for their surviving.

Lagada area was full of such covers made of flat rocks put in a way that looked like an extent of the mountain. They also used dead tree leaves in order to prevent the fire light from being visible during the night. Some of the most important hideaways were Kalamos, Katafygi, Mavri and Mavrianos.

No houses were built near the coast. This island seemed to be uninhabited. Its beautiful, rich forests, when seen from a long distance, seemed to be inhabited only by elves.


If you ever visit Ikaria, do not forget to go for a walk to the hideaways to enjoy the view of an "alternative architecture" which derives from natural geometry combined with human imagination.

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