A Greek mans home is not necessarily his castle. Land can be owned, houses and businesses can be built, but only the land above ground belongs to the owner. Whatever is beneath the ground belongs to Greece. The law is very strict concerning ancient sites and artefacts. If something is discovered below ground it must be turned over to the Greek government and the owner will not become rich from his find as those who own oil land do, but is more likely to lose it.
Kyparissia is an ancient town on the Western Pelopennese coast of Greece. It is a place of great charm and beauty, dominated by the Castle of Kyparissia, or Arkadia, as the town was once known. The castle, which was originally built as a defence against marauding pirates, looks down on the Ioanian Sea. It is floodlit at night standing proudly on guard above the town.
The town is divided into two parts, the higher ground being Ano Poli and the lower Kato Poli. The preserved settlement of Ano Poli is rich with traditional stone houses, Byzantine churches and narrow paved streets. Below is Kato Poli, the modern part of the attractive town which nestles against the sea and the old port. The long sandy beach of Ai Laoudis provides a welcome respite from the heat.
Kyparissia and its coast line is a well guarded secret which is slowly being discovered by tourists, particularly Greek ones. An enterprising businessman built a water park, complete with a large swimming pool and water slides, to attract both the locals and the tourists.
Recently some local road works were carried out near to the swimming pool and something was found causing all work to stop immediately. It appeared that an ancient underground town had been discovered on the site, which archaelogists are now excavating.
Interestingly some of the ancient town is higher than the depths of the swimming pool nearby, meaning that when the land was purchased and the swimming pool built, the owner must have been aware of the ruins, but stood to lose his investment to the Government if he cancelled his plans. Thus the pool was built and the owner kept quiet. It is possible he may well go to prison for this in addition to losing his water park.
The area is now completely sealed off to the public as excavations begin. Already it is apparent that this is an important find, with outlines of buildings being discovered and ancient tiling remarkably preserved. Unique chambers are revealed preserved in perfection. The find could well be of great significance to a town which still believes that the ships which were launched for Troy were really sent from Kyparissia. Meanwhile the landmark water park is closed and will have to give up its summer pleasures to the rights of the ancient past.
It will be interesting to see how far the ancient ruins extend and what else may have to give way to the excavations. It could possibly be a site worth preserving on site, rather than a place where artefacts are dug up and then whisked away to the coffers of Greek storage.