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Greece » Cyclades islands » Folegandros island » Folegandros Chora » Folegandros Chora Sightseeing
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Folegandros Chora Sightseeing

Strolling about Chora

At Punta square, an open area just off Kastro, at the entrance of the town of Folegandros, you will see the old building of the Elementary School, dated in early 20 th century, along with a few nice taverns, cafés and two or three beautiful buildings, choked with flowers. Here it is found the bus stop , the local Medical Center of the island and a few stores. It goes without saying that once at Punta you will have the chance to enjoy a breathtaking view of the steep cliff below and of the sea. And if you raise your eyes, you will see the whitewashed church of Panaghia, high on the hill of Palaeokastro, overlooking the whole town.

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Leaving Punta and taking the narrow paved street leading to the interior of the town you will pass by the small church of Stavros (Holy Cross) at your left and the minor entrance of Kastro, the “Paraporti”, at your right and you will find yourself at the Dunavi square, or “Dunavedes” as the locals call it. This ambitious name (“Dunavis” is the Greek name for the river Danube) is owed to the singular humor of the locals. In fact the “river” carrying this name is only the two water basins (!) that the hardworking people had constructed during the period of the Russian domination (1770-1774), in order to collect the water, so rare and precious for the island. The basins served also to water the animals. Today, the basins are out of work, but at the same place there is a plane tree, the unique plane tree on the island, which, along with a few smaller trees and flowers, offer to the people their rich shade. Up to a few decades ago, the locals used to hang swings from the branches of the plane tree, on Monday following Easter. The young people of the town enjoyed themselves with this game and at the same time recited ad lib verses of satiric content and erotic hints. At Dunavi square you will find the Community Hall and the unique cash point machine of the island. At the southern end of the square there is the church of Aghios Nicolaos, the parish church of Chora and just behind it the church of Taxiarches, with nice icons of Cretan style.

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Once at the square, one may head to the castle, using the staircase of the –once - main entrance of it, the Loggia, or continue towards the next square, Kontarini square, which is situated behind the southern side of the church of Aghios Nicolaos. A broad elevated space, shadowed by trees, is the characteristic of this square. It is here that in past took place the feasts of the residents of Chora. Today, every one passes from here while strolling and loafing about; many people stop here to eat in a tavern or have a drink or a coffee in one of the bars and the cafés, or even just to see the church of Aghios Antonios and sit on the benches of its small courtyard. These benches have always been the meeting point of the locals; the tradition keeps on and today includes also the visitors. Southern to the church of Aghios Antonios there is the twin church of Aghios Fanourios and Aghia Ekaterini (St. Catherine), which in some way seems to separate Kontarini square from the next square, the Piazza.

Piazza is the older square of the village. For this reason it is called simply “piazza”, the Italian word for the square. Here you may see the semi-ruined church of Theoskepasti, which, along with the taverns and cafés around, form a cute spectacle, a theatrical scene.
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But, you have not yet finished with the squares of Chora. After Theoskepasti you will arrive at Maraki square. Here you will see more recent houses and stores, which, however, keep intact the traditional features and the characteristic architecture of the village. Here too, you will have the chance to relax, drinking your coffee or ouzo in one of the cafés of the square. And finally, after Maraki square you will arrive at the square still keeping the name “Post Office square”, although the post office has moved elsewhere.

The common feature of all squares, streets, lanes and stone benches is the dark green local stone of the pavements with the whitewashed joints, a nice picture which the locals try to preserve all year round, even in the peak tourist period. Don’t get surprised if you see a man or a woman bent on the pavement to make “dames”, as they call the whitewashing of the joints.

Another characteristic of Chora is that no cars are allowed within it. Of course, a car is impossible to enter the castle, as both entrances have staircases. At the rest of the village private vehicles are not allowed at all, with the exception of the supply cars and the communal cleaning service cars, while the bus and taxi can reach the Punta square, where it is the bus stop.
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