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Levitha

      Λέβιθα (5/3/2006 v.1) Levitha (5/3/2006 v.1)
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Author(s) : Tsonos Konstantinos (3/19/2007)
Translation : Panourgia Klio (3/22/2007)

For citation: Tsonos Konstantinos, "Levitha", 2007,
Cultural Portal of the Aegean Archipelago

URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=10432>

 
 

1. Location and morphology

The Levitha islet is located in the sea area to the northeast of Kalymnos and Leros and to the southwest of Amorgos. Together with the neighbouring islet Kinaros and several other uninhabited islets they form a small complex, which connects the geographical area of the Cyclades with that of the Dodecanese. The complex’s geographical position is particularly important for shipping in the Aegean as it provides safe anchorage and protection from the strong northern winds which characterize this open and exposed part of the Archipelago. The well protected and easily accessed coves facilitate communication between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, providing passing ships with the possibility to set their course without loosing contact with land masses.

Levitha’s relief is relatively smooth and its mountainous masses do not exceed 200 m. Several torrents can be discerned while small cultivated areas also exist. Vegetation is limited to brushwood and shrubbery, suitable for the grazing of goats and sheep.

2. Historical evidence

At the Pyrgalio location, buildings dating from the historical period have been located which were obviously connected to the development of a small settlement whose inhabitants were involved with fishing and agriculture. During the Roman Period, Levitha, like many remote islets in the Aegean was used as a place of exile.
The only indirect account of Levitha’s position in the sea routes of the early modern period comes from the Katholiko of the Monastery of Hozoviotissa on Amorgos, in the form of an interesting icon containing two zones. On the upper zone are pictured the Praying Virgin in the middle, Aghios Georgios Valsamitis, protector of sailors on the right, and Aghia Paraskevi on the left, who with one hand hold a cross and with the other pray towards the Virgin. The lower zone narrates the scene of a shipwreck: a ship has been swept away by strong winds and its crew struggles to save itself between two barren islands. The scene is accompanied by an inscription – prayer, which contains the thanksgiving of Gennadios, abbot of the Monastery of Aghios Ioannis Theologos on Patmos, who while travelling from Patmos to Amorgos and the Monastery of Hozoviotissa, was saved from the shipwreck near the islands Kinaros and Levitha (1619).

3. Levitha today

The few inhabitants of Levitha keep restaurants and some rooms suitable for small groups of visitors during the summer months. The island is served once a week by boat from Patmos and is 8 nautical miles from Amorgos and 6 nautical miles from Kinaros.

As far as the island’s fauna in concerned, there is an important colony of mavropetrites (a type of falcon – Falco eleonorae) (approx. 20 pairs), as well as populations of grey herons (Ardea cirerea), and long-legged buzzards (Buteo rufinus). The island which is among 196 areas of Greece considered important for the protection of birds has been included in the NATURA 2000 Network and the Action for the Protection of the Mavropetritis falcon. Moreover, because of limited human intervention, the entire complex of neighbouring islets has been included in environmental programs of underwater biological mapping of coastal ecosystems, aiming to raise awareness about the area’s rare marine life.

Levitha provides ideal conditions for the creation of an environmental village and the pursuit of alternative ways of natural resource management. The photovoltaic system which has been installed shows the possibilities presented by the correct exploitation of the Aegean environment. The development of the accessible coves and the creation of visitors’ facilities could contribute to the shaping of a different image of the Aegean, removed from over-crowded and environmentally unfriendly mass tourism.

 

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