POINTS OF INTEREST IN KARYSTOS
City of Karystos
Karystos was founded in the middle of a beautiful horseshoe bay at the foot of Mount Ochi. Modern and comfortable, the town has a functional urban structure designed in the mid-19th century. As the political and commercial centre of South Evia, the town shows a continuous population growth with expansion of the city plan and an increase in settlements around the hills. The monuments that still exist, testify the regions’ rich history, and maintain the legacy of a great past. Nowadays, the Municipality of Karystos (14.000 inhabitants) consists of the Town with its surrounding settlements (7.000 inhabitants), as well as, the municipal districts of Styra, Marmari and Kafireas.
The main economic resources of the area are: stone slate extraction, constructions, windmill power, fishery, excellent livestock production (sheep and goats), beekeeping, wine and tourism. The combination of a mountainous and sea landscape, in addition to the good communications with Athens has helped Karystos to become a touristic destination. Karystos is a landing place for rest and relaxation; a good base for exploring the many beauties of South Evia.
Until 2000, Karystos had a ferry boat connection with Rafina; today this line is served by the port of Marmari. In recent years the port of Karystos has expanded by taking the place of the town’s old, quaint shipyard. The new harbour offers a safe mooring place for Yachts, Sailing boats, Fishing boats, ferries and cargo ships.
In the quays’ entrance you can see the monument of ‘‘The Unknown Sailor”. The bronze statue stands tall to remind us of the naval tradition of Karystos.
Plenty of restaurants, picturesque tavernas and ouzeri, cafes and pastry shops operate around the harbour. The sea bank promenade is a wonderful place to wander around, especially in the afternoons.
The tower at the eastern end of Karystos harbour known as “Bourtzi”, was built by the Venetians in the 13th century. Marble fragments of the Roman Mausoleum were used as building material for its construction. The tower was probably part of a coastal fortification.
Art exhibitions are hosted inside the tower during summertime.
The Town Hall
The Town Hall building is a typical example of 19th-century public administration architecture and was classified as a protected neoclassical building in 1979. The Town Hall was built in a dominant position according to the new city plans, with the legacy of benefactor Ioannis Kotsikas and delivered to Karystos municipality in 1896.
Marble stairs lead to the magnificent entrance of the Town Hall and the inner patio. The tall windows are framed by grey-white marbles and the roof has Byzantine-style tiles, as well as a decorative apron. The building is surrounded by a large courtyard enclosed by a beautiful iron railing of the time.
St. Nicholas Church
In the town centre stands the metropolitan Orthodox Church of Agios Nikolaos, built in the late 19th century and renovated in its present form, between 1909-12.
The church is a cruciform basilica with a dome, it has two bell-towers on the front and a wood-carved iconostasis separating the sanctuary from the nave. The imposing building has elements from Byzantine tradition and Renaissance church architecture. It is worth a visit.
In the centre of the town, in a fenced-in plot, are preserved architectural sections of a Mausoleum dating back to the middle of the 2nd century. The mausoleum – tomb of a prominent Roman, was built like a temple with 6 x 7 Ionian columns. The pediment was decorated with a medal (circular relief) bearing the bust of a man holding a horse (Roman official who probably supervised the imperial quarries). The medal is today embedded in the medieval castle (Bourtzi) on the beach.