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“Dodekaporto”: A Mysterious and Enigmatic Monument

Recently, the Speleological Association of Samos “EFPALINOS” secured permission from local authorities and on Saturday, June 6, 2015 cut the trees that had sprouted in the old Byzantine church of Dodekaportou.

This initiative was attended by representatives of the archaeological service and intended to protect the statics of the building. Given the occasion, we publish a text, first written and published in website, and photographs, which describe the monument (the grammar and the expressions of the original text are kept unchanged):

… The extensive plain north-east of Miloi relaxes the eye, for a while, due to the dark green of the orange groves and green-silver of the olive groves. We can see the familiar and picturesque cones of two charcoal kilns, which it will not take time to light up.

The whole area also hides an invisible monument, very old and very enigmatic, the famous “Dodekaporto”. Starting at the crossroads of Miloi, heading north-east, some 500 meters away, at the end of the asphalt, we enter a rural road, on our left-hand side. Nearly 1.500 meters away we distinguish a building inside an ancient olive grove.

As we approach we see a church in ruins, roofless, the frescoes of which are dated back to the early Christian period. It is large, in terms of dimensions, and what makes is impressive is the successive arches (doors), five on each wall. “Twelve doors. A ruined church with 12 arches-doors. Out of this came the name of the church and of the whole area. Its overall external length, along with the sanctuary, is 15 meters. Its external width is 6,30. The height of its northern side is 3,5 meters, while the height of its southern one is 4,10. On the north side there are five arches-doors. Another five are located in the south side. One is in the western side, which is the main entrance. In the Sanctuary, in the place of the small door, is another one. The width of each door is 1,36 meters and the total height is 2,65 meters. When it was built? Unknown. Neither is known if it was ever completed. Plaster is nowhere to be seen or found… To say that it was a two story church, is rather bold as a hypothesis. It is a lime based building. The stones are not engraved, forming a face. Few stone pebbles and pieces of tiles … irregularly placed. As for the roof, only experts can conclude how it used to look like. Like a dome or something else. Few slates are thrown here and there. Could of being made of such materials? Five locust-trees, quite thick and large, have grown inside the church, which is full of stone piles and. Except of two major cracks, one in the north-west corner and another above the main entrance, the rest of the walls are somewhat well preserved. No marble or any fresco exist or preserved. This church was dedicated to the Twelve Holy Apostles. An immediate initiative is needed by experts and professional, in order to save the monument from complete destruction”.

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