Ancient Therma, Katafygi

At a short distance just east of the present village of Therma, lie the ruins of the ancient city of Thermai, once well-known for its numerous hot springs and baths.

Ancient Ikaria’s second most significant city (after Oinoe), was built on the island’s south coast along the foothills of the Pramnos mountain range, whose steep peaks cut off the southern half of the island from Oinoe in the north. The city’s economy mostly relied on income garnered from its extensive network of thermal springs, which appears to have brought the city sizeable profits. Its fresh water was also held in high esteem, with water from one spring still being referred to as “immortal water” by islanders today. This particular spring is located a few kilometres from Therma, just outside the village of Xilosirtis, and is believed to have healing properties.

Today, not much exists of Thermai, aside from a few baths dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman eras. However, at the depths of a small inlet from the sea, about 20 metres from the shore, ruins of structures can be seen half-buried in the sand.

Thermai’s acropolis was built above the city on the teep slope of the mountain, just outside the present day village of Katafygi. Its well-preserved wall dating back to the Classical Era, can be seen today, along with an aqueduct coming from the foundations of the walls. On the eastern side of the acropolis was a burial place of the dead, where several artefacts of the 5th and 6thcenturies B.C. Have been unearthed, of which, a large marble column is undoubtedly the most impressive. It dates back to the early fifth century and can be seen today in the Archaeological Museum of Agios Kyrikos. An assortment of other objects such as pottery, agricultural tools and tombs can be seen within the school of Katafygi village.


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