Mysterious Greek Ruins around Karystos and Marmari in the South of Evia Greece

Evia Island in Greece houses some interesting Greek ruins called dragon houses. These ancient Greek buildings are mainly scattered over the southern part of Evia, and it is estimated they were built about 3000 years ago. It’s still unknown what they served for. They could have been lookouts, sanctuaries, shelters, or just houses.

The best preserved dragon house of Evia is located on top of Mount Ochi, at a height of 1404 m. If you are staying in one of the sea-side towns close to Mount Ochi, like Karystos or Marmari, it is worth to visit one of the dragon houses in this area.

Karystos to Mount Ochi drakospito.
Route from Karystos to dragon house on top of Mount Ochi in the south of Evia.

Mount Ochi is the Greek mountain range closest to the coastal town of Karystos, but it’s also not far from the sea city of Marmari. According to mythology supreme god Zeus met his wife Hera on top of this mountain. That’s why people sometimes refer to this dragon house as the Temple of Hera.

Hiking to the Dragon House on top of Mount Ochi

The ancient path that runs through the mountain starting from the village of Mili has been used for thousands of years to reach the top of Mount Ochi. Although it’s an amazing experience and takes you along ravines, rock formations, ancient quarries, and forests of wild chestnut trees, you need to be in good health to hike for four hours.

It’s easier to drive to the refuge, although even then you will have to walk for at least an hour to reach the dragon house.

The road to the refuge starts from Platanistos, at about half an hour drive from Karystos, and a gravel road brings you ever higher up the mountain until you reach the refuge. Here you leave the car and walk to the top.

You will encounter a mysterious place with bare rocks which are, depending on the season you travel, covered with fog. The direction to the top is indicated by red sign and stacked stones. It’s around an hour walk.

The first building you will see is a small church named Profitis Ilias, which you can hardly distinct from the rocks around. The cross above the entrance proves it to be a church, and inside you can burn a candle. Only a few meters away, you will find the fascinating ancient Greek building, the dragon house of Mount Ochi.

The dragon house is built without mortar and with huge stone blocks. The way the roof is constructed, it may feel like it may collapse every minute. Realizing that the construction hasn’t collapsed for thousands of years while undergoing the most extreme weather conditions, makes it only a more fascinating building.

Ancient Greek Buildings near Karystos – The Dragon House at Rouklia

On the slopes of Mount Ochi, close to the village of Rouklia, around a thirty minutes drive of Karystos, there is another dragon house on the spot called Lakes at a height of 530m.

Locals had an explanation for the damages to the roofs of both dragon houses. According to the legend, the dragon of Ochi had fallen in love with a girl and he kept her in the small dragon house at Rouklia. Every night he came to spend the night with her. The only thing the dragon was afraid of was dogs and to avoid being caught by the girl’s brother and his dog, he took great care to leave the dragon house at Rouklia every morning before sunset.

He always succeeded in this by giving his horse just enough barley to eat until sunset so that the horse would start to neigh. That way the dragon would know it was time to leave for his dragon house on top of Mount Ochi.

The girl, who had enough of the dragon, one night secretly fed the horse so much barley, that it failed to neigh before sunset. That’s when her brother with his dog came to look for her. The dragon became so afraid of the dog, that in his hurry to get on the horse he stepped on the roof of the dragon house and ruined it. That’s why, according to the legend, the roof of the dragon house at Rouklia is damaged.

The dragon was chased after by the dog until he reached his dragon house on top of Mount Ochi. In his hurry to get into his house, he jumped on the roof to get inside. And that’s why, according to the legend, the dragon house on top of Mount Ochi is damaged in the middle of the roof.

Dragon houses in Styra

Even more dragon houses can be found in the area of the coastal city of Nea Styra and the old mountain village of Styra. More information you can find in the article “Dragon houses around Nea Styra”.


Featured image of dragon house by Klaus-Norbert [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons.

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