The architecture of Serifos

Architectural elements in Serifos

A few words on the architecture of Chora and of Serifos

The architecture in Chora

Serifos is a significant representative of the traditional Cycladic architecture. Cubical houses, flat roofs, colourful wooden windows, narrow paved alleys with white seams, small courtyards, little churches with sky-blue or white domes, all gathered on hillsides or along the seaside, compose the image of the island's architecture.

A gem of Serifos is its capital, Chora, considered a characteristic medieval castellated settlement, built amphitheatrically on the rocky rise of Livadi bay to be protected from the pirate raids that were often during the antiquity.

Two Lodges (entrances) remain from this medieval settlement to the present day, one of which bears a blazon from the time of the Venice Domination.

At the apex of Chora stands the Kastro with remains of the Venetian castle built in 1434 by the Mikelis family. On the highest point of the rock, the church of Agios Konstantinos and of Agios Yiannis Theologos is located, built in the cavity of a rock and, according to tradition, on the remains of the ancient temple of Athena.

A line of windmills existed at the entrance of Chora. However, only two are preserved and restored today, while visitors can see the ruins of the others. In its interior, Chora hides neighbourhoods with narrow-front two or three storey houses connected between them through mazy little alleys. Numerous churches are scattered in the settlement.

Traditional architecture of Serifos in Chora

Chora is divided in two districts, Pano Chora and Kato Chora, while public areas are very limited due to the "tight" building structure. The Piatsa of Pano Chora (Town Hall Square) is one of those public areas and it was created after Chora's expansion beyond the narrow limits of the Venetian castle on the hilltop. The town hall is housed in a neoclassical building.

Architecture at the rest of Serifos

In the southwest side of the island, in the wider region of Koutalas and of Megalo Livadi, there are remains from the period of the mines’ exploitation (1880 – 1963): steel loading ladders, bridges and small stone-built houses, where the mine workers were crammed in.

Especially the settlement of Megalo Livadi met significant growth during the period of the mines’ operation, since here there were schools, a chemical laboratory, bakeries, tailor's shops, shoemaker's shops - some of these buildings are preserved - as well as the two storey neoclassical building of the Chiller School, which housed the mining company’s headquarters and it is preserved to date.

In various parts of Serifos, apart from the settlements, there are also isolated buildings made of the local stone and relating to the inhabitants’ main occupations. These are called "katikies" and comprise domestic as well as storage areas. Here live farmers for as long as necessary to finish their works in the fields, the boundaries of which were determined by the traditional dry walls also made of Serifos stone.

Other isolated buildings are the “krasokelia” (wine cellars) intended for the processing of grapes and the storage of wine and found near vineyards, the "kleftokelia", which were built in remote gorges and generally in inaccessible locations for protection from pirate raids and finally the dovecotes for pigeon breeding.

Gallery

Chora at sunset Typical element of the traditional architecture in Chora Chora of Serifos Paved alley with arch in Serifos Chora and the windmills square The head offices of the mines company in Megalo Livadi The amphitheatrically built village of Galani Old stone house in Galani Dovecotes and other agricultural buildings in Serifos

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