As of 2009, three new, very exciting projects on Skiathos have been completed and must not be missed. The first is the paved walking path to Kastro. It starts by the small church of the Virgin Mary, and continues the 1600m to the old town Kastro. The stones are a little uneven to prevent the walker from slipping, and are beautifully coloured to blend in with the landscape. The path will be purely pedestrian and not even mopeds or bicycles will be allowed on it. Following the path, the walker will pass the small church of the Two St.Theodorores, with it beautiful star-studded blue ceiling, and takes him to the Church of John The Baptist, where there is a small kiosk for refreshments. The church is dedicated to the Decapitation of the Baptist, and has some haunting icons on the moment of the execution. This is also where the shrine in memory of those killed by lightning here in the 1920’s stands, as well as the old grave with skeletons of locals from Kastro. The path continues down to the next surprise: a small amphitheatre that partly looks over Kastro. Hopefully, there will be special events hosted here during the summer months.
Visitors should be warned of one thing though: walking back! It is a very steep ascent and you will need to be quite fit to do it. Of course, one can also visit Kastro by taking a boat to the small beach below, but as this usually does not allow for much time at Kastro, walking is highly recommended.
The other exciting new building is the Church of St. Alexander (Agios Alexandros). To get there you will need to either walk or drive down the road to Kastro, then turn left at the injunction that has signs pointing towards Kechria beach, Ag. Anastasia church and Ag. Alexandros. On foot, it takes about half an hour to get there but if you are a fan of stunning views and some magnificent architecture, this simply must not be missed!
St. Alexander was a priest who lived in Constantinople in the 4th century. He took part in the First Council of Nicea in 325, which was attended by Constantine the Great himself. During this council, the “heretic” Arius was voted against, as his teachings about Christ as a human were rejected by most of the Christian Fathers. St. Alexander was known as a charismatic and pious man and eventually became the Patriarch of Constantinople.
The church itself is built in a more Cycladic style than we are used to on Skiathos: it almost looks like it belongs or Santorini, for example. Its architecture is a wonderful mix of straight and curved and the exterior walls are adorned with traditional plates on the walls. Two terraces, one on the side and one above the church, offer stunning views of Pelion and Kastro. As the church is usually locked, one will have to look through the front door and windows to see the low iconostasis, which has mosaic icons, as well as the wall paintings of various saints, such as St. Nicholas and the Transfiguration of Christ.
It is wonderful to see that things really are happening on Skiathos. These three new works all deserve applauds and are a definite must for both locals and visitors.
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