Friday, July 31, 2009

Three Saints and a Cemetery (6/22/09)

Trip: Mavrata – Kastro – Mavrata
Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Sights: St. George’s Castle, St. Theodore’s Church, Mycenaean Cemetery and Ecclesiastical Museum (St. Andrew’s Church)

The road to St. George’s Castle and the town of Kastro, Kefalonia was not as hard as Akrokorinthos or even the road to Mavrata. But, I still would have liked to avoid it – if I’d known that Agios Georgios Castle was closed until July. I mean people had been there from my group and not mentioned it to me.

Alas, had I not gotten up that hill, I would never have seen the old church of St. Theodore’s. The outside walls and a stone piece from the original altar was all that survived other than the belfry with old bells that hung from it.

I rode down the hill back to the Argostoli-Poros road and across it toward Mazarakata. Mazarakata has a surviving Mycenaean era cemetery. While near Poros they have found the tholos type of the wanax or king, this cemetery is made of the pit graves of the commoners. This gives credence to the belief that it wasn’t modern Ithaki, but Kefalonia, that was Odysseus’ Ithaca.

My final stop was at the Milapidia Monastery. The Monastery houses both the church of St. Andrew and an Ecclesiastical Museum. The church is a lovely stone chapel, rebuilt since the earthquake. The museum housed a large number of wooden icons and wooden screens that can be found at the altar of orthodox churches. Some of the icons date from the 15th and 16th Centuries. Upstairs the museum housed the furnishings from the Bishop’s residence at Agios Georgios.

After my trip through Kefalonia’s ecclesiastic history, I returned to Mavrata and Base-station Turtle.

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