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Photos > Architecture

submitted by Victor Panaretos on 13.02.2005

The British Schools on Kythera

The British or Lancastrian School at Milapidea, Livadi. Photography by J. Bennet 2002.

Principal Investigator:
Deborah Harlan (Oxford)

In 1797, Napoleon's conquest of the Venetian Republic ushered in a turbulent period in the island's history, resulting by the end of the first decade of the 19th century in the establishment of a British Occupation (1808-1813) and then Protectorate (1813-1863) of the Ionian Islands of which Kythera was part. In 1820, during the early years of the Protectorate, Lord Guildford, the High Commissioner, submitted a report in which he outlined a public educational system for the Ionian Islands. In his report, he recommended that the monitorial system widely practiced in England at this time be adopted at the elementary level. This system, also known as the Lancastrian system after its founder Joseph Lancaster, was distinguished by its use of fellow pupils as 'monitors' or subordinate teachers.

The main objects of the monitorial system were to encourage students to:
acquire habits of industry and order
be taught reading, writing and arithmetic
direct their minds to the 'Blessed Gospel'
Pupils were taught the 'common rudiments of learning' before they applied themselves to the employments by which they were to earn their livelihoods.
Kythera, as part of the Ionian State, was governed by a British Resident. It was due, in part, to the zeal of one particular Resident, Captain John McPhail, that a number of Lancastrian-style schools were established on the island. These were by no means the only schools on the island, as different systems (both public and private) co-existed, but the British system was given prominence. Two British schools were in the main town of Chora (one for boys and one for girls) and several others were located in other major districts of the island. In order to reinforce this particular system, purpose-built structures were erected. Money was raised on the island to pay for their construction and corvée labour from the local population was used to build them.

The first was a boy's school in Chora in 1825, positioned on the outskirts of town. The foundations of the current Secondary School in Chora are all that remains of this. The same year also saw the construction of schools at the monastery of Agios Theodoros and Milapidea, Livadi (according to plaques over their doorways). In the following year (1826), the school at Mylopotamos was built. These three schools are still standing, in different states of preservation. Several others were constructed across the island in the next few years: one at Potamos and another at Fratsia.

Is there a common element in the architecture of the purpose-built schools? Was there a 'hidden agenda' with these structures in terms of what the British were trying to achieve? Why are they situated in particular areas of the landscape? How does this relate to distribution of the population at the time? How have the buildings been viewed by the local population since? These are some of our research questions as we attempt to understand the material infrastructure left by the British and the way it was used and viewed both then and now.

From: Kythera Island Project website.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 03.02.2005

white washed houses.

beautiful home in potamos, just behind the church.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 03.02.2005

palo spiti.

one of the many splendid old ruined homes that are in every village. some over the past 20 years have been restored to their original grace and charm.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 03.02.2005

down town potamos.

as the years go by the donkey as transport is not seen much these days. this man rides his donkey through potamos in the mid 80's.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by George Vardas on 29.01.2005

The bridge at dawn

The bridge at Katouni as an early morning mist descends over the Livadi valley

Photos > Architecture

submitted by George Vardas on 29.01.2005

British bridge architecture on Kythera

The famous bridge or viaduct at Katouni is marked by a series of openings or holes between its arches. It is now clear that these openings were constructed to lessen the stiffness of the bridge and to make it more balanced. The bridge remains a marvel of design and construction - almost 180 years after it was built!

Photos > Architecture

submitted by George Vardas on 09.02.2005

The bridge to Myrtidia

One of the many British built bridges on the island is this one arch bridge on the road to Myrtidia, built in 1824.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Nena Parkes on 26.09.2007

The Cavallini* house in Avlemonas

The house of the Cavallini family, for more information see: "A chapter of Cavallini family history" in the Oral history section.

* Sometimes spelt Kavalini, Cavalinis, or Cavalenes

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kiriaki Orfanos on 06.01.2005

Levoune' House in Potamos in two eras.

Bottom: House when first built and occupied by the Levounes family.

Top: House when George Levounes returned to visit it many decades later.

For a full history of the Levoune family from Potamos, and of the construction of the house, see the detailed entry in History, subsection, Oral History, entitled, Maria Simos-Levoune. My Story.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by George Poulos on 28.12.2004

An alloni near the bridge at Katouni?

The photograph of course, includes the famous bridge at Katouni.

Of more interest to me for this submission is the alloni or milling circle in the lower, right hand side.

Allonya were extremely important architectural structures by which grain was "sorted" and milled.

A book could be written about the allonya of Kythera. To the best of my knowledge, by the end of year 2004, not a single picture of an alloni had been submitted to kythera-family; nor a picture from the early 20th century of a alloni in use to create flour.

Which is very surprising given the importance of the structure(s) to provide food for Kythera's inhabitants.

What does you family illoni look like?

Has it been well maintained?

Do you have a vintage photograph of a alloni being worked by Kytherians and their animals?

Photos > Architecture

submitted by George Poulos on 27.12.2004

The Entrance Arch or Apsitha - to Karavas.

The Entrance Arch to Karavas.

One of the prominent features of the "built environment" that makes Karavas unique.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by George Poulos on 09.12.2004

Apothiki. Tzortzopoulos (Hlihlis) patriko spiti. Karavas.

Another very important room in a Kytherian house was the apothiki - storage room.

On the left hand side are the doors which lead into the Tzortzopoulos apothiki.

Here was kept all the tools needed to farm the land, small hand tools, like hammers and saws, and hardware needs like screws and nails.

Also equipment for the farm animals - saddles, mustroukes (muzzles), blankets, etc.

Barrels of oil, wine and chipoora were also kept there.

The Tzortzopoulos apothiki also contains an area for "stomping wine".

A good apothiki was the working centre of a Kytherian home.

(Picture taken in 1995).

What does your patriko apothiki look like?

Photos > Architecture

submitted by George Poulos on 09.12.2004

Fourno. Tzortzopoulos (Hlihlis) patriko spiti. Karavas.

One of the most important features of a Kytherian house is its fournos - oven.

The fournos at the Tzortzopoulos patriko spiti lies just outside the kitchen on the lower level.

There is a subtle art to making a good fournos. It is not simply a matter of enclosing a space and placing a chimney on top of it.

My grandmother Kirranni Koroneos (nee, Souris, Petrouni) also explained to me that you got the best results from a fournos if you picked just the right size olive branch, with just the right level of dryness.

Photo taken, 1995.

What does your fournos look like?

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 25.12.2004

New Houses of the Island

one of the new houses in potamos built in old design .

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 08.12.2004


the superb architecture of myrtithia with the side view showing the arches of the church.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by George Poulos on 06.12.2004

Mylopotamos. c. 1950.

Classical Sophios photograph of Mylopotamos, possibly taken in the 1950's.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by George Poulos on 03.12.2004

Wooden roofing structure to support mortar and tile-setting, in the traditional way.

In a previous entry I submitted a photograph of the bamboo roof on the Tzortzopoulos "patriko spiti" in Karavas.

The use of bamboo, was a traditional method of roofing. Mortar was placed over the bamboo, and then the tiles were set into the mortar.

Special "crops" of bamboo were grown in past centuries to provide this base for roofing.

This photograph shows the more "modern" method. Flooring type timber is placed across the roof. Mortar is still poured over this structure in the traditional way. And the tiles then set into the mortar.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 01.12.2004


typical entrance to many villages on the island, note the homes made from rocks.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 28.11.2004


walking through chora you can admire the wonderful venetian architecture.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 25.11.2004


neo classical architecture of the bank in potamos. untill recently was the only bank in greece open on sundays wish they would return back to those days.