If you think Ι will answer the question of the title, you’re wrong …
You are also wrong if you think that I traveled to Crete looking for Erotokritos.
The “Erotokritos” I was looking for was in Evia! But what, the hero of the great Cretan poet Vitsentzos Kornaros was doing there?
Ιt was here, in Egripos (so was called the whole Evia island in medieval times) where young Erotokritos had been banished by the father of his beloved Areti, the king of Athens.
So I read about the legendary fountain of Erotokritos and came to find it. My research and travels brought me to an unknown village in northern Evia, called Kechries.
And instead of the legendary fountain of Erotokritos I found an unknown monument.
It was around noon time when I reached the village’s square. There I found an old man resting alone under the shade of a mulberry tree, in front of the village’s cafenio. I asked him information about the fountain.
“Oh, it is hard to find it. You should go towards the Konaki and then … “
“What is this?. What is the Konaki? ” I asked.
“So we call, an old mansion… today it is ruins… no one lives there anymore …” He gave me various vague instructions to find the fountain. There was no sign to find it. The good old man showed me the way to the stadium. Some turns after and about 200 meters from the square I saw the imposing family mansion of Tombazis family, inside a small grove of huge pines and cypresses. Yes this was the Konaki…
The grand manor that existed here during the Turkish occupation was granted after the Greek Revolution of the 19th century to the chieftain Angello Tombazis, a hero of the Greek Revolution. The building is one of the finest examples of neoclassicism. It has perfectly hewn stone blocks, and really beautiful architecture.
The surprise was inside, in the huge rooms of which there were still existed magnificent painted ceilings. I do not know if they still exist. Unfortunately, the imposing mansion was collapsing, a tragic victim of our national indifference.
The ceilings were constantly peeling, the roof was sagging, many mindless cretins have written graffiti on the walls with spray and no one knows how long will one can see the amazing zodiac on the ceiling of the central hall, with the indigo dyed signs and the elaborately designed – with the trompe l ‘oeil technique – decorations.
I managed to see and go through the central marble hall.
The grove of pines smelled delicious. An old lady was feeding the hens in a nearby house. “What are you looking lad … rubble is left … Ghosts and goblins only stay here …”.
The rotten floor and the ominous comments of the old auntie convinced me to leave before I break my foot photographing the beautiful, doomed to decay alas, murals.
I got into the jeep and tried to follow the instructions the old man gave me at the square. The road descended through large corn fields surrounded by pine trees. Huge irrigating taps threw water curtains over the dark green corn.
I found the fountain, nearly 3 kilometers south of the village, inside a ravine. Far from being picturesque, but with really cool water. I was wondering how the myth of Erotokritos survived here. I found none to ask. Later, returning to Athens, I looked in the huge book of “Erotokritos” and found a reference to this fountain. It was designed like the crest of Lord of Egripos and the inscription on the fountain used to say:
“…The fountain that I stand and look does not want to refresh me and leaves me deserted, leaves me dry, it does not make a fair judgment. “
Unlike the great epic poem of Vitsentzos Kornaros, that fountain of Egripos freshen me up. The water was wonderful!
“Do not drink boss, there are leeches…” yelled me a kid, called Manolakis who was pulling a goat from a string.
Damn … I did not have time to cool off. The dude scared me to death…
Where am I?
The village of Kechries is located in Northern Evia, between the villages of Limni and Strofylia, on the main road. The quickest way to get there is via Halkida town and Prokopi village.