Ships and Ferries to the island of Skopelos in the Sporades Travel Information for ferries to Skopelos. Island of Skopelos Sporades.
SKOPELOS > ARCHAEOLOGY
The Roman Baths which used to be underwater at Katakalos area were discovered by G. Dionysiou. The importance of baths in the region’s social life is certified by the fact that they have remained in collective memory to this day by the name of Loutraki. Facilities reflected the public architecture of that time. Roman Thermal baths of the late 3rd century AD had revealed their attitude which, imposed that public baths were not only places of personal hygiene, but also to meet, walk, exercise and had an active role at the city’s social life. Baths’ remainders have been found in the North West and are visible at 42 m length and 0.5 - 4.5 m wide, not including the area still covered by the sea. From west to east there are 7 sections, which have not been subjected to excavation. The first section has a mosaic flooring in opus caementicium while, in the forth section low burning places with round clay checkers (pilae) are found, above of which there is a flooring made from pottery plates (suspensuae). In the fifth section traces of low burn have also been found and can be considered as praefurnium while it is possible that the common reservoir (alvus) of the Baths was in that particular area.
The Ancient Town of Selinounta
In the southwestern side of Skopelos opposite from Skiathos and Evia, in the naturally fortified hill of Paleokastro, is one of the island’s three ancient cities. Here seamen and tradesmen from Halkida founded ancient Selinounta, its ancient name did not survive, but is known from the descriptions made by Ikesios the high priest of the city, during Emperor Adriano’s times, in 2nd century AD.
The area was inhabited from the Iron Age, 8th century BC until the Later Antiquity of 4th century AD. At that time the criteria with which an area was chosen for habitation were very different from today. For a place to be habituated the climate had to be healthy so, it had to be at a region with high altitude, that did not have fog, did not suffer from the heat and was far from marshes. Furthermore, it had to provide easy access to fresh water and to be near cultivable land that could produce big amounts of food for farmers not to starve. Finally, ease of movement to the city was desirable. For all the above reasons, Paleokastro was a great place to build up.
During the Classical years the citadel was fortified with walls that are still standing to this day. The walls were built on steep cliffs by the sea, with strong towers that jutted out, wide enough for two armed men to walk side by side. The streets were beside the gates and the harbour was exposed to southern and south-western winds. The city stretched out on the low land with squares, buildings, temples and the cemetery, where their loved ones were buried, was outside the city walls. Strong earthquakes have transformed the region while, some of its parts have sunk into the sea. During the Roman period the city bustled with life, a quiet cosmopolitan rich Spa located on the Paleokastro hill towards the southeast, parallel to the coastline to the low sloping hills which close amphitheatrically towards the sea at Katakalou area. The multi-storey buildings were built in Roman style. As all the Roman coastal provincial cities, Selinounta combined the trade of Paxromana with the lobe towards nature, which can be widely seen at public areas that gave us an insight to Roman daily life.
The city had an aqueduct, lots of springs, covered streets for people to walk, an organised commercial centre, areas of small industry, temples with statues and public baths. Some other evidence of the same period were the offerings and statues implying that social life was completely integrated in the Roman order of things. Sarcophaguses that were found in Selinounta and in ancient Peparithos were luxurious imported products from the ancient city of Assos in Asia Minor which belonged to the elite of the region. So the city participated actively in the organised marine commercial network of the Roman Empire from the N Aegean to the coasts of Lebanon, Egypt, Adriatic Sea and Sicily with goods that were addressed to the urban population.
Farmers and livestock breeders resided periodically on the mountainous flat surfaces of Glossa which was the rural region of the ancient city Selinounta suitable for growing cereals, legumes, vines and olives. These rural facilities, plain huts and organised farms with fortified rural cottages date back to the Classical and Hellenistic period where continued human presence has existed from the Roman and medieval years until now. They were developed in Greek countryside during the 4th century BC and were related to the agriculture, trade, quarries and mines, the control of roads on land and the sea. These are known in all ancient Hellenic areas and islands, from the Black Sea to the western Mediterranean.
Organised ranches with fortified rural cottages were roughly 6 km from ancient Selinounta and were within sight of each other roughly at 600 m. Region Elliniko who was the biggest countryside, was used as the centre of a network of old paths that connected the fortified rural cottages and individual rural facilities with the largest source of water in Livadaki as well as with the cape of Limonari that had a gradual gradient to the sea.
Fortified rural cottages were found in: Mayragani, Elliniko, Sentoukia, Prionas, Agios Georgios, Agios Taxiarhis, Rahi Koniari and Mavraki, while individual country houses were found in: Livadaki, Limonari and Agii Apostoloi. Rural structures of residents of Glossa have remained the same from antiquity till today. Ancient farms and today’s huts reflect the Greek household from the old times till this very day, in the days of tourism and globalisation.
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