GARDENITSA

Villages of the Local Compartment Koita of Vytilo Municipality. They stemmed from the earlier Messi Municipality. The population is 81 and 23 inhabitants (census 2001), whereas in past censuses there were 120 and 64 inhabitants (census 1940) and 92 and 37 inhabitants (census 1951), respectively.

The past centuries left untouched their beauty and engrafted it with legends, history and civilization. Magnificent and imposing is Sotiras church (11th Century) with the eight-corners dome and rich frescos. It is a stone piece of art embroidered with art and mastery. The harmonious dimensions of the temple make it a diachronic monument of civilization. The stone covered walls and the serrated fascias are a very rich decoration, especially to the side of the arch. The narthex makes two identical opposite openings which are divided by marble pillars. In the entrance of the church, at the marble frame, there is a cross with a strange geometrical design at the upper part which implies maybe the “tree of life”. Inside, the frescos belong to different eras. Amongst them stands out Agios Jeorgios killing the dragon and to the right of the temple the poignant Agios Ioannis (Prodromos) with wings, as it is used in Byzantine iconography. Agios Petros (13th Century), Agios Ioannis Theologos (11th century) is a Byzantine one arch church with significant frescos. There are also many other chapels and small churches wonderful remnants of seclusion and splendor.

This place behind the mountains, amongst the olive groves and the towers is  boundless and cannot be described neither by words or images. It is the combination of the local geography, local history and local civilization.

Antonis Roumaneas

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