Agia Elessa (Eleousa)
The first building that one comes across when going up the road from the village of Goulediana to Onithe is the chapel of Panagia Eleousa. Built on the west side of the road, on the neck of the plateau, the small church sanctifies and demarcates the territory of Onitha with its presence. Wooded and inaccessible is the downhill slope that follows and covers the rocky front of its plateau.
The church is a small, single-room, vaulted building with a gabled roof and a wide courtyard area, which is flooded with people on the fifteenth of August, when the church celebrates (The Dormition of the Virgin).
The entrance to the temple is on the west side and forms a semicircular lintel bearing a decorative bar (=vertical waves of semicircular cross-section) and two engraved bands. Above the lintel there is a semicircular light opening. The temple has two buttresses internally with simple kilibands at their bases, while the long sides of the wall are run by a horizontal decorative element, which projects to emphasize the point of transition to the vaulted ceiling. The niche of the sanctuary is carved into the natural rock. An early dating that has been put forward places the creation of the temple in the 15th century.
The little fountain
Directly opposite the temple, on the east side of the road, there is a built fountain. The date engraved on its front informs us that it was built in 1945. It is a simple, square building made of stone bricks, literally nestled in the rocky embrace of the hillside. Inside the fountain there is a water pumping tank and at the foot of the front a stone water collection basin. Directly above the fountain passes a cobblestone road, now in ruins, that led to the adjacent settlement.
The Abandoned Settlement (Metochi)
After climbing a few meters, on the “eyebrow” of the plateau, you will come across the first houses of the newest settlement of Onitha. The micro-settlement, made up of scattered, stone-built houses in the northwestern part of the plateau, was used seasonally until the middle of the 20th century. Today, all the buildings are in a ruined or semi-ruined state, although some have been repaired and are used as warehouses.
The stone-built houses are of folk architecture and are characterized by architectural elements from the Venetian and Ottoman periods. Most of them have outbuildings and threshing floors carved into the natural rock.
The exact dating of the settlement is difficult, due to the absence of securely dated elements, but also the conservative evolution of the buildings, which were used for a long time, without substantial conversions. It is probable, however, that the settlement was created during the Late Middle Ages (16th-17th centuries), a period in which the wider area experienced residential development.
Of course, the absence of mention of the settlement in the catalogs of the 16th and 17th centuries is curious. However, some scholars have suggested the identification of the settlement with the toponym Christochori mentioned by Barozzi and which is also mentioned in the notarial sources of the mid-17th century (such as that of the Notary Marinos Arkoleos).
Just before reaching “Plakes” and the spring of the same name, right on the main road, we come across a rectangular building with an entrance on the first floor and relatively luxurious building features. On its floor, a rectangular door leading to a balcony can be seen. Inside it are preserved stone killivants. It is probably a rural mansion from the Venetian times that continued to be inhabited during the Ottoman period.
Psaroudakis Κ., (2016) URL: tap to continue…