Halkida: the City_ Island_ or_ Land

ArchiTeam, Evia, Halkida, Greece, Christina Petsiou

By: Christina Petsiou

Halkida is a city for walking, it is a city that smells spring and you can feel the summer. It is one of the cities that can combine all the elements that can make happy a restless traveler and that is because all these elements are hidden in the city and someone has to try to reveal them. Bridges, narrow streets, neighborhoods, the seaside, the sea, the water. All these picture the cityscape of Halkida.

The cityscape is constructed by the buildings, the movement in the streets and the history of the city that goes years back. Halkida is one the most ancient cities in Greece and is counting over 3000 years of existing. Due to the strategic position, it played an important role in commercial, industrial and tourist enterprises. Still, wars, traders, conquerors and raids shape the city’s character and affect its image.

Being built between Evia Island and Boeotian coast, it is interesting the transition from the insular part of the city to the mainland. The transition is achieved both by road and on foot through the floating bridge that connects the two parts of Halkida that are separated from the Strait of Evripos. It was really impressive to pass by the island on land and vice versa. It is a fantastic feeling, like walking on water.

From the construction point of view, there are two floating bridges but the interest is attracted by the new bridge between the island and mainland, launched in 1992. The cable Evripos High Bridge is the second longest suspension bridge in Greece being designed by Prof. S.Schleich, German professor and engineer. The project was like a breath for Halkida as most heavy vehicles and passers-by are no longer required to go through the city center, so it became more friendly and accessible to its residents.

The 144 ropes that hold the pillars show the lightness of the structure in contrast with the complex, heavy, but interesting old cement industry that can anyone see passing by. Here the camera’s clicks catch fire. When it was operated, it certainly would be the landmark to the entrance to the city. Now, the area is abandoned and resembles an old amusement park and the strange shapes that are created catch everyone’s attention.

The tour continues in the area around the bus station, the old mills, around the military camp, the early Christian basilica of the late 5th or early 6th century AD and the church of Ag. Paraskevi that is also an important monument of the city. We do not stop walking, now it is time for the old spaghetti factory and back again to the market and the city center to follow the seafront directly to the fortress where we ascend slowly.

The Fortress Karababa is turkish and was built after the fall of Halkida by the Turkish (1682-1688) on the tomb of Sultan Kara-Baba. This is all that survives today as the ancient fortifications. From the fort, one can admire the entire city from afar, the Red House on the edge of the beach front, the city hall, and all the people who love to walk along the waterfront. The water goes and comes at the eastern entrance of the city because of a tidal phenomenon.

A photo can capture the successive levels of the city, but a look from the café in the fortress, on the edge of the hill is enough to observe each level separately, the sea and the curious cityscape composition set against the natural mountain that is located a few kilometers away to the backstage.

About the author:

Christina Petsiou
Christina Petsiou