Photographer's Note

n the 14th century, the Genoese selected this area to build their mansions, as did the local aristocrats in later years (the Rallis, Argenti, Petrokokinos, Kalvocoressi and other families), thus creating a new socio-economic level. High walls of Thymiana stone protected the mansions from dust, winds and the cold. In the past, the orchards were watered by huge water wheels turned by animals, while today the irrigation is done by modern means.
Elaborate cisterns decorated with marble reliefs and spouts, figure centrally in the courtyards. Shady paths, gardens of flowers, and creeping vines of jasmine create a unique atmosphere.
Homes of two and three stories rise imposingly over the tops of the trees, affording panoramic views and serving as a means of overseeing the estates. Interior and exterior stairs joined to the buildings, served functional purposes. Arched doors and windows, arcades with small marble pillars, balconies held up by small arches, huge entrance gates with coats-of-arms and various reliefs, pebbled courtyards and frescoed ceilings offer a uniqueness in the architectural style of the area, a result of the regional conditions. Unfortunately, the massacre of 1822 and the earthquake of 1881 destroyed significant structures.

The most important building, a typical one of the local architecture and gardens is the mansion of Filipos Argendis. Partly restored (1937-1939) by A. Smith, it's unique for the well-kept gardens and typical of the old mansions of Hios.

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Additional Photos by GALANTIS LOUKAKIS (greek) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 960 W: 0 N: 548] (7594)
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