Argiroupolis Part 3

Thursday, 17 June 2010
Over the next few days, we explored all the places I'd been - the ancient Lappa ruins, waterfall, Roman mosaic, catacombs, the Church of the 5 Virgins and the ancient tree where the young girls were hung. There were more tourists now with buses stopping at the town square for an hour or so before zooming off. The ever enterprising locals have set up shops along the upper village to cater to the German visitors. My jaw hit the ground when I saw a strange train-like truck going past the village with dozens of middle aged European tourists on it, viewing the town like an amusement park. Wow. 12 years ago, the village barely saw any foreigners especially after the war. The reserve where the church and tree were located have rubbish strewn on the ground from overly full bins.

waterfall1
A local told us that the civilisation in Lappa, the ancient city where Argiroupolis was built on, was 9000 years. It was one of the first organized civilization on earth. Lappa was destroyed 7 times over the course of history and pre-dated the Minoans in Knossos. As mentioned in my earlier post on Argiroupolis, the town is rich in water. In fact, if there was a drought for 2 years, the town would still have water. I've seen it with my own eyes where water sprouted from the ground even along the main road. Apparently, the water comes from the Russian mountains and reached the island via the volcanic line under the sea. 

There are 5 tombs in the church where the 5 young virgins were buried. The villagers celebrate the anniversary of their death two days after Easter. The water mysteriously fills up the tombs only once a year and recede right after the church ceremony. If an unbeliever goes into the tomb, the water will not appear for the year. 10 years ago, a gypsy washed his hands and legs in the tombs. Water did not appear that year. Now they keep the tombs under lock and key. Previously it wasn't locked up as I could peer into the now empty tombs.

As we left the church and approached the tree and fountain, L announced she didn't like the place and wanted to go home. Jen felt extremely uneasy and I was beginning to feel increasingly nauseous. We were later told by Yanna that there was a legend of a girl who committed suicide several hundred of years ago by jumping in the lake near the church. Anyway, the whole experience had us spooked so we are not going back there in a hurry.

tree
The ancient tree, reportedly 2000 years old where the 5 virgin girls were hung.

catacomb1
The catacombs can be seen in the background

church of 5 virgins
The church of the 5 virgins

church2

5 virgin fountain
The fountain of the 5 Virgin girls.

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