submitted by Helen Tzortzopoulos on 08.10.2005
Events on Kythera.
From the Kytheraismos Newspaper,
published, and distributed throughout the world monthly,
Main News, in English
By Helen Tzortzopoulos
Back from your summer holidays? If so, you will be greeted with “Kalo Himona” (have a good winter) even though it still may be mid August! For others, their summer holiday still awaits them. September is a wonderful month for one’s summer vacation as the throngs that have inundated popular tourist locations during July and August have usually returned home leaving behind peace and quiet for those following behind to enjoy. However, winter is not quite on the horizon and the managers of the F/B MYRTIDIOTISSA have obviously taken the Kalo Himona phrase literally and have done away with the Friday evening passage Piraeus/Kythera rom the very first week of September. With so many weeks of good weather ahead and a heavy schedule of cultural events on Kythera leading us well into October, one wonders how these people think? Doesn’t Kythera need weekend commuting? How will the MYRTIDIOTIOSSA leaving Piraeus once a week on a [‘uesday afternoon help extend the summer tourist season? t4ost important, how will I get to Kythera??
The stoicism of the F/B ANDREAS II though has been a boon for Kythera. Back and forth between Neapoli and Diakofti, reliable and filled to capacity it has played a great role in the smooth flow of traffic to and from the island this summer with its minimum of three trips per day. Let us hope that this vessel with a carrying capacity of 90 cars or thereabouts will continue to serve the island through the ensuing months.
The local taxi drivers appear have it in for the Kytherian coach owners. They have found some forceful means of preventing the local buses traveling to and from Athens. For many, this was a wonderful alternative for commuting between Kythcra and Athens, as not everyone possesses a car nor does everyone want to drive their own car through the Peloponnese. As if anyone is stealing their bread and butter! Apparently the taxi drivers who transport children to and from school each day from some of the more isolated villages get incredible fees for this service. (I have heard quoted the staggering fee Euro 200. per day!! I have to check that out!!)
No one can dispute that the taxis are a faster means of transport and certainly provide services that commuter buses cannot. Considering the rates charged however, it is also a fast way of emptying the government coffers and filling the taxi drivers’ bank accounts! With the soaring fuel costs of today one would think that buses would be the wisest solution.
Strictly on economic considerations for both the general public and the government hurscs, it is time that taxis were confined to their intended function and the commuter bus service reinstated on a regular run from north to south and east to west on a daily basis.
A summer’s summary
So much on transport again this month, but the very existence of our island depends upon it. Had the sea transport not been so frequent and reliable for these few weeks of summer all that wonderful free and favorable publicity from the media and T.V. serials would have been in vain.
It appears that Kytherian hoteliers and restauranteurs have taken heed of previous warnings and surprisingly, this year there were very few complaints from tourists in relation to room charges and service. It’s a long and tedious haul but we’re getting there. Perhaps the earlier seminars on tourism paid off and our business sector is finally responding to the relevant issues. Local cuisine excelled in most quarters and that is certainly an enticing factor for successful tourism. One major problem was the increased traffic. It caused congestion in the narrow and winding roads where at times it proved quite hazardous. Parking facilities were also exhausted in all towns and villages —particularly in places such as Agia Pelagia, Hora and Capsali. Obviously, this is yet another problem that the municipal council will have to resolve. On the negative side again, I must say, I am not particularly fond of going to a lovely desolate beach only to find a canteen and generator droning in the background. But perhaps from someone else’s viewpoint of what is progress
A festive summer
A great number of cultural and social events on the island provided everyone with non-stop entertainment. The festivals which have become annual happenings —MYRTIA’s wine festival, the Karavitiko Paniyiri organised by the society PORTOKALIA and the biggest dance of all which is held in Era tsia always attract hundreds of people. These events are particularly appealing to foreign visitors who get a taste of traditional Greek music and dancing and it is commendable that those who organize these events have not yet given up — as the effort is enormous and the volunteers are so few....
Nature vs. Development
Some Kytherians are becoming environmentally conscious and this is admirable. We are blessed with an island of rare physical beauty and of course it is up to us to maintain it as best we can. We tend to boast about our island continuously — so much so that our non-Kytherian friends of course have become attuned to things Kytherian. A colleague of mine is a constant purveyor of Kytherian related articles from the Greek press. One such article in the Athenian newspaper TO VIMA quotes a letter of protest sent to the Prime Minister of Greece, Kostas Karamanlis signed by a large number of youthful residents of Milopotamos. They protest a Ministry of Agriculture decision to release for development 850 strermnata at Merniingari which had been declared a reforestation area after a bushfire a few years ago. The released land is in the vicinity of Milopotamos - one of Kythera’s prime attractions - and is to be turned into a quarry zone for private interests. These young environmentalists intend to resist this decision of the Nomarhia claiming that the land should be returned to its natural state and a quarry can be located in some remote area of the island. Other quarters fear that the carving up of the mountain of Mermingari will cause havoc to the subterranean water system of Milopotamos in the future. Is anyone listening?
A new reign.....a new era
Perhaps one of the most major and significant events for Kytherians and Antikytherians was the enthronement of our new Bishop Serafim Stergioulis on the 30th July at the church of the Estavromeno in Hora. The Bishop was -officially greeted by the Mayor of Kythera, Mr. Artemis Kalligeros in -the capital’s main Square where His Eminence was presented with an icon of the Last Supper. The Square was filled with officials, locals and visitors from Spetses and Hydra (where the Bishop had previously served), including devout nuns from the Monastery of Hydra.
Of course such spiritual occasions in good Orthodox fashion are never without their pomp and ceremony. The participation of the Archbishop of Athens, Mr. Christodoulos, Kythera’s former Bishop Kirillos as well as Bishop Eustathios of Spetses did indeed enhance the event. On the 9 & 10 August Bishop Serafim Stergioulis conducted his first official visit to AntiKythera where he was also given an original hand painted icon of Agios Myron, the patron saint of AntiKythera.
Icons, incense and defence...
The new Bishop once again visited this tiny island - which is inhabited by a handful of permanent residents - on the 16/17 August to participate in the religious celebrations on the Saint’s day of Agios Myron. Following the church service, there was a procession headed by a number of dignitaries including the Deputy Minister for Defence, Mr. Vasili Mihaloliakos representing the government (first time ever!) along with a naval entourage from the torpedo boat TPK TOURNAS which escorted the Holy Icon from the church to the cave inside which the icon was originally found.
Still on Antikythera
Archaeological excavations and a station maintained by the Greek Ornithological Society on Antikythera manage to keep this little but dynamic island in the news. With the permission of the relevant ministries and defence departments between the 20-22 August the Union of Greek Amateur Radio Operators broadcasted live from the Lighthouse of Apolitares on the southern tip of AntiKythera taking part in an international broadcasting event. A foreign delegation was also in attendance to assist in the setting up of the necessary equipment and antennae. Live contact was made with similar groups throughout various points of the globe and this year all attention was focused on this small obscure island and its stone lighthouse.
Bronz and brains
We say obscure, but to international archaeological, engineering and astrophysics spheres ,Antikythcra is very well known. In 1900 when sponge divers from the island of Simos found refuge from a storm in the bay of AntiKythera, they located a shipwreck dating back to 65 B.C. Diving at a depth of 42 m, (an incredible feat at the time!) amongst an interesting range of items such as amphorae, statues etc. they brought to the surface a clump of corroded bronze coated in calcium deposits. Since that time, this object proved to be a device of some sort - a clockwork mechanism of about 32 bronze gears with inscriptions on some of the bronze plates still legible. Today it isxeferred to as the Antikythera mechanism and has been a source of perplexity to scholars. The prevailing opinion at the moment is that the device was an astronomical computer —showing the progress and position of the sun, the moon and known planets of the time (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn). Although the ancient Greeks were advanced in their navigational and engineering techniques, to date scholars are totally mystified as there is no record of this particular technology and no other such item has ever been located. Further to the research and study that has been carried out by baffled international scholars in the past 50-60 years, a team of Greek scientists attached to the University of Athens, with the assistance of a number of archaeologists and the aid of special equipment from England, soon hope to shed some light on the device’s original form and function.
Is it time now to say “kalo himona”?
[Administrator] The workings of the antikythera mechanism are in fact well understood, and have been outlined in several submissions at kythera-family
Background history and gearing mechanism diagrams
Antikythera mechanism. The Sun-Moon Assembly
An internal search under Antikythera will reveal numerous other submissions on the subject.
Other links that provide information about the Antikythera mechanism can be found at
A wonderful animated display depicting the workings of the mechanism can be found at
A detailed linear diagram of the way in which the Antikythera Mechanism plotted the Solar and Lunar cycles can be viewed at
One of the best short explanations of the workings of the device has been provided by the American Mathematical Society. A brilliant animated Java presentation, depicting how the Antikythera mechanism predicted the pathways of the Sun and Moon, has also been provided by the AMS at this site. Go to
The University of Sydney's Bernard Gardner has written an Honours Thesis entitled: Amazing Gears of History: The Antikythera Device ...
It is available at:
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