Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Dragon House of Euboea

by Michael Balaroutsos architect
......It is an issue I wanted to upload from a long time ago! How many, really know this stunning part of the Greek countryside? Who has come to where? to study? to observe? feel them? as something created by non-understandable to our time methods! Tons of stones bound together excellently, making up about 25 "Dragon House"which with the present techniques , that we could not put together ! And most importantly, their survival through the centuries indicates the antiseismic ability of them! This also unanswered!
In Euboea, among Karystos Styra, there are 25 impressive buildings of the sixth century BC, the Dragon House. They are made ​​of huge stones, without foundation and windows. Nobody can say today whether it is gods or people's homes, buildings or funerary temples! Because they are all built near quarries allegedly most probably going to temples to the gods or the hero Hercules, who personified strength.
Nobody knows who made the Dragon House! Perhaps it was Dryopes (ancient inhabitants of Karystos) or Kares! Maybe not ever know the identity of the manufacturer!
The buildings are scattered in space, massive and peculiar! The masterful way of connecting squared blocks is a true architectural challenge. The uniqueness of the Dragon Houses leads to the conclusion that the locals had tremendous skills in working the stone and very good knowledge of architecture.
The roof of the Dragon Houses, is made ​​with the so-called bearing system (steppedconstruction). Large heavy slate converge on two layers of opposite walls, each layerprotruding slightly more than the next lowest, so that not to create a Gable roof. Sounds easy! If you did not calculate well the weight of the plates, the roof will collapse! In orderto escape the collapse of the manufacturers of Dragon Houses using large boulders asweights on the plates! All Dragon House built on rocks.
The most important and most impressive of the Dragon House built on top of Mount Ochi, at the highest point of the mountain. It is made ​​of large boulders, taken from the surrounding area and have been chipped and matched with each other, without using any kind of binder! The thickness of the the walls is about 1.50 meters and the inside of 5 × 10 meters. The entrance is typical Trilithon entrance in shape and huge columns. The plaque above the entrance weighs about 10 tons!
In 1959, Professor of Architecture college of Thessaloniki, Nikos Moutsopoulos  investigating 
 the Dragon Houses, he found there in Mount Ochi, pottery, shells and other objects which are 
now in the archaeological museum of Karystos. The position of professor is that it is a Dryopes 
temple that was built before 700 BC. Some archaeologists believe that has been constructed
 before the Trojan war. Some foreign archaeologist, has expressed the point of view that 
is perhaps the oldest building in Europe!

MATERIALS
A common feature of the Dragon Houses that were built from local stone. Nowhere
traces (runway, slides, etc.) transfer of the stones. Rather, the similarity of the of the masonry material Dragon Houses the nearest rock quarry and trails that exist in several Dragon House side, the abstract work of lateral rocks, and other very close, showing that locally become the mining and  processing.
All large stones used are carved in other well and others less or none.
Feature is that internal stones are more and better sculptured from the external in all Dragon
 houses.
Another common feature of the Dragon Houses is that, there is no binder because it is built 
the way they call it dry wall.
Yet in none of the stones are not connecting pegs.
The stones used are all large and sometimes huge, and in its shape we can say stoneplates, 
whether the thickness varies from 0.20 - 0; 80 m since the length reaches 4 m, and width 
exceeds the number of 2 m.
Materials must mention the small stones used as wedges, which meet all the walls in general 
Dragon Houses.

CONSTRUCTION

The construction of the Dragon Houses in conjunction with the massive stones used, is the fundamental element that distinguishes them from any other worldwide and every erastructure. The architecture of the Dragon Houses caused great surprise and admiration.It shows the great technical knowledge of those who make it. Because the present data,this architecture is, something very difficult if not impossible. The entire structure showsthat the craftsmen they had studied in detail and implement the results of their study isthe first stone leaning on the ground.

The rare Photographic Material Retrieved by the Greek magazine, Archaeology (March 1992)

The Myth
The dragons are mythical figures, of the world mythology, taking different forms and have great
 physical and mental powers! In many cases are guards of large treasures and the secrets of 
death and immortality. So in the tradition of Euboea have survived to the present day, many 
stories about dragons that lived in ancient stone houses or caves.
The word dragon is the root of the greek verb "Derka" which indicates the person who has 
acute and penetrating glance, or one who amazes with his eyes;
Such a look, but excessive and overwhelming force, they had dragons chicken folk tradition.
For our people the dragons were mythical beings, sometimes anthropomorphic, with 
supernatural stature and superhuman powers. It believes that living in the mountains in a 
labyrinthine palaces, or in caves or in sturdy towers. For that exist in our country many place 
names and names as the first component of the word dragon. We hear regularly inspected 
Dragon-cave, dragon-Waters, dragon-stones, dragon-touch, etc.
Even starting with the belief of the our people to the supernatural power of the dragons, called 
very often and several expressions like? "And the dragon root admittedly, no saves. Their 
particular very brave, heroes, again with the dragons likens our people and says: "It was a 
dragon at heart " and more.

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