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Mike's Odyssey to Greece - 2005

Part 10: Kalavryta

So, at the end of the railroad through the gorge is the beautiful mountain town of Kalavryta.  Kalavryta has a special place in the hearts of Greeks - it was here in 1821 that the War of Independence was started against the Turks.

Cog train
The new cog train that we rode to Kalavryta from Diakofto.

Train station
The Kalavryta train station.

Kalavryta was also the scene of one of the most tragic events in Greek history.  On December 13, 1943, the Nazis decided to extract revenge for their losses to the Greek resistance in the Peloponnesian mountains by herding all of the town's residents into the schoolhouse in the center of town.  All males over the age of 15 were marched up to a nearby hill and shot, while the remaining women and children were locked in the schoolhouse and the town was set afire.  The women were able to escape, but all but four men were killed in the massacre.  There is now a memorial inside the school house to this tragic event.

The Kalavryta schoolhouse which is now the Museum of the Sacrifice of the People of Kalavryta.

Inside the museum.  On one wall are pictures of all the massacred men, while on the other side is a lost of all their names and pictures of the ruins of the burned out town.

Martyrs' Monument
The Martyrs' Monument at the actual hillside site of the massacre.  It reads 13-12-1943 in large letters at the base to commemorate the date of the tragic event.

The town cemetery.

A close-up of the cemetery.  It's very odd to visit a cemetery and see nearly every gravestone with the same date of death, 13-12-1943.

So, just as on my other travels to Europe, we come across a place that was completely devastated in a tragic way by World War II.  But, it was time to put that behind us and visit the rest of this beautiful town!

The Kalavryta Church.  Note that the clock on the left is forever frozen at the exact time of the massacre, 2:34.

A small chapel located near the Kalavryta church.

A taverna in Kalavryta.

Snowcapped mountains
A view of Kalavryta from the hill overlooking the city.  If I didn't know I was in Greece, I could have sworn I was in Switzerland or Austria.

Mike in Rants T-Shirt
And of course, I needed to get a shameless plug in for the website there...

Continue on to Part 11:  Isthmos (or "Where did that bridge go?" or "Improvising wine and cheese at the beach")