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Old Pyli

The archaeological area of Old Pyli is in the middle of the island of Kos, south east of the village of Pyli and spreads to the western part of Mount Dikaio at an altitude of 300 metres from the  surface of the sea.
The round walls on the north western side of the hill show that the area had been lived in since the Minoic times, while according to researchers, the Sanctuary of Dimitra and Pele of the ancient municipality of Alention was found in the surrounding area.
The settlement spread to the foot of the hill, it consisted of churches, like the Holy Monastery of St Mary Kastrianon, many abandoned houses, a bathhouse, a fountain from the Othoman period, a watermill and paved roads. Many of the deserted houses were saved. In general, they were rectangular, with narrow openings at the entrance and small rectangular windows. In some of the houses rectangular beams for the middle floor were used. They were built with stones and strong plaster in the joints in which small bricks were found. These types of houses were found all over the settlement of Old Pyli.
Cyclopean Walls In the northwest of the hill of the castle remains of cycleopean wells were found which have been dated, according to research and archaeological findings, to prehistoric times. There is a ceramic surface in the area dating from the Bronze age.
Sanctuary of Dimitra & Daughter It is located in the plain area in the north east of the Psoriari Hill in the location Kiparissi. It’s a small church dedicated to the worship of Dimitra and her daughter, which is dated to the beginning of the 4th BC. The church belongs to the ancient municipality of Alention and was excavated in 1929. Seven statues which depict Dimitra and her daughter (Persefoni) were found. Also a statue of Hades and also the base of a statue which are exhibited today in the museum of Kos.
Monastery of St. Mary Kastrianou - Church of the Virgin Mary (Ipapanti of Christ) When the monk Christodoulos Latrinos left Strovilo in Asio Minor he came to Kos. Here he founded the Monastery of St Mary Kastrianon on the hill in Pyli. The monastery is situated in the hill of Old Pyli and its ledger, which was dedicated to St Mary, is now dedicated to Ipapanti of Christ. Its’ name day is celebrated on the 2nd February on St Ipapanti of Christ Day and on the eve of the name day the parishioners hold a big celebration on the hill of old Pyli. From the Monastery of Christodoulou some ruins from the west and south of Kastriani were saved. There are possibly three towers in the south. The southern wall of the Monastery was saved and makes up the continuation of the wall towards the west. There are small rectangular cells on that side of the church. The building of St Mary Kastrianou is a single chamber covered church. The church has three building phases: the first consists of the main church, which is considered property of Chrisrodoulou and dates to 1080. The second may possibly be in the latter Byzantine period when an antenave was built with a flat roof. Lastly, dating the Hippocratic period they fortified the western area of the chamber with an arch made of rectangular stones. In the interior of the arch there is a semi – circular throne made of stone tiles with six escalated steps. The entrance opens up into the western wall and small circular skylights in the upper area of the western wall make up the only lit up opening of the church.
After the excavations of the main church tombs, which are dated to the beginning of the 16th century, were found. These were from the Othoman period. South of the church there was a cemetery of the same period.  The murals which have been preserved show three layers. The first layer is where parts of saints and decorative elements are depicted. Along with the Genesis of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Even though the mural is very worn  you can make out the face of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is shown and the artist has captured her expression extremely well. The details were extremely well done. The mural must have been done in the 12th century. The depiction of St Mary holding the infant with angels belongs to the second layer and is dated to the 12th century. It is located in the south east area of the church where churchgoers would kneel before it. The third layer belongs to the biggest part of the salvaged mural and dates to the beginning of the 16th century. It’s a work of art which shows weakness in design and the proportions. It’s a work of art belonging to the workshop of the artist Nikolaou who also painted murals in the Castle of Kalymnos.
Castle - Mid Byzantine Pylonas In the north west of the monastery on the hill of the settlement, there is a raised castle, built in different phases. The first fortified measures started at the end of the 11th century with the intent of fortifying the island against Turkish and Pirate invasions and also to be able to control the Asia Minor coast.The central gate of the castle is possibly the work of a Byzantine civil servant and was built in the late 11th century or beginning of the 12th century after Christodoulou left Pyli. and his fortune went to the State. It’s built using the technique of “hidden bricks” in the type of church which was developed in a cross shape. In the building you can see the influence of the Ioannites Knights. The castle has three fences. The front has a rectangular shape and follows the shape of thehill with seven towers which fortified the defence of the area. Inside we can see two cisterns for collecting rain water.
St. John Theologos is situated in the nothe eastern side of the hill of old Pyli in the ravine south of the Monastery of Kastrianon and is dated to the period of the Knights. It’s a single chamber roof covered church with a rectangular building along the length of the south side.
St. Antonio The church of St Antonio is located in the south eastern side of the settlement. It is a single chamber church from the period of the knights. It has a built in chamber which has a roof and has an eastern entrance. The church is located 1,20 metres lower than the natural surface of the ground and on the inside there are graves which have been covered. The arch of the church has a mural which depicts a sermon from the 16th century.
Church of Taxiarhion (St. Asomati) It is situated in the south west of the settlement of Old Pyli and has been built in three phases. The first phase which dates to the Byzantine period belongs to the eastern part of the main building which houses the built in chamber. It is lower than the natural surface of the ground. The Communion table is built in and has two apses. The second building phase, during the period of the Knights, the church was extended towards the west by adding a roof and extra chamber. And finally, the third phase was when a rectangular antenave was added with a flat roof. On the outside on the southern part, there were arches which supported the portico. In the antenave there was a tomb, and there may also have been tombs in the main part of the church. The church has two entrances in the western side and two rectangular windows. It is richly decorated and is covered. On the inside of the church which is dated to the 14th century and 16th century there is also rich decoration. It has an antenave with a low flat roof.
St. Vasilios It’s situated on the foot of the Castle hill and is a small single chamber church with a roof and a small semi circular area. The only source of light is the small window of the arch and the entrance on the west side. The church is dated to the period of the Knights. However, the most recent changes have transformed it.
St. Nikolas It is situated south of the settlement of Old Pyli at around the 2nd kilometer. It’s a single chambered built in and covered church. A large part of the chamber and the western wall has collapsed. The church had murals dating to the 14 – 15th century.
St. Georgios It is in the southern part of the hill.It is a single area church with small arched windows. The church is dated to the Hippocratic era while a variety of changes has transformed its’ original façade. Ancient marble pieces have been used on the walls. Two small, single chamber deserted churches have been found in the area, St Paraskevi and St Konstantinos whose roofs and side walls of 1 metre have almost collapsed.
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