Kiriaki

INTRODUCTION

Kiriaki is a mountain village, altitude 760 meters, of Boeotia, built on the western slopes of Mount Helicon in which the 9 Muses lived and were worshiped according to the mythology. Administratively, it belongs to the Municipality of Livadia since 2011 through the “Kallikratis” Programme. The 2021 census recorded 1,804 permanent residents.

ANCIENT HISTORY

It is assumed that Kiriaki is located in the place where the Focian city “Flygonion” with its acropolis (modern-day Paleokastro) existed in the ancient times. Flygonion was located in the borders of a region controlled by the Oracle of Delphi and was one of the cities destroyed by the Persian army of Xerxes in his passage across Phocis.

In the 4th century, due to its key geographic position, it was caught in the middle of a dispute between the oracle of Delphi and neighboring cities regarding the exploitation of the sacred land of Apollo, as Demosthenes and Aeschines mention. In 346 B.C., it was destroyed again during the third sacred war of Philip II, together with other Focian cities, as the consequence of the penalty imposed by the Amphictyonic league of Delphi on the Phoenicians because they were cultivating a part of the valley of Amfissa that was regarded as belonging to the sacred oracle, as we learn from the ancient traveler Pausanias.

It continued being inhabited during the Hellenistic and the Roman period and, finally, it was destroyed by a great earthquake in the 6th century.

RENAMING & RECENT HISTORY

The exact time when the region was renamed to “Kiriaki” cannot be precisely defined. The name of the place dates back to the byzantine period or the 14th century when Arvanites settled in the region. However, according to the folk tradition, the village took its name from a rich chief shepherd, Kiriakos. Arvanites came to Kiriaki because the Catalan Duke of Athens and Ipati, Ramon de Vilanova, invited Arvanitic populations to settle, as cultivators and warriors, in the region of Boeotia during the 14th century.

Later, during the Greek Revolution, the residents of Kiriaki fought by the side of the chieftains of Roumeli, Athanasios Diakos, Georgios Karaiskakis, Odysseas Androutsos and Vassilis Bousgos. In particular, the following soldiers were fighters of the Greek Revolution of 1821: Dalianis Loukas, Konstantinou [Kinesas] Apostolos, Kollias Dimitrios, Koutos Leontos [monk], Kotsou Georgios, Lazarou Demosthenis, Lazarou Loukas, Lazarou Nikolaos, Oikonomou Alexandros, Papadimas Georgios [priest], Platis Dimitrios, Poulos Konstantinos, Poulos Spyridon, Tzamalas Pavlos.

During the World War II, many residents of Kiriaki gave their life fighting against the Axis powers. Kiriaki was the basis of an allied military organization and was entirely burnt three times, once by the Italians on 25/5/1943 and twice by the Germans on 28/10/1943 and 26/4/1944, respectively.

MODERN HISTORY

After the war, the residents started getting back on their feet based on two main pillars, livestock farming and agriculture. After 1960, a broad economic growth was observed due to the boom of the construction sector and the employment of a large part of residents in the mines (mines of Ioannis Barlos) and the heavy industry (Aluminium of Greece).

During the twenty-year period of 1985-2005, the village experienced its greatest prosperity at all levels, having more than 2,000 permanent residents. However, the crisis of 2009 led to the social desertification, a phenomenon that also affected the region of Helicon thus lowering the living standards of the locals.

Nevertheless, Kiriaki still remains a “living” village maintaining its picturesque element in the every-day life. It has schools of primary/secondary education, a rural health center, a pharmacy, a municipal stadium (the seat of the local team PAO Kiriakiou), guesthouses and several food service establishments offering value for money services. It is worth noticing that every year many visitors, both Greeks and foreign people, choose it as a destination for relaxation and leisure away from the hassle and bustle of the city.

GEOGRAPHY & NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Kiriaki is 23 km (≅ 30 minutes) away from Livadia, the capital of the Regional Unit of Boeotia, and only 160 km (≅ 2 hours via Livadia) away from Athens. It is surrounded by a lush green Cephalonian fir forest while in close vicinity are the 3 highest Helicon peaks: Paliovouna (1,748 m), Tsiveri (1,561 m) and Megali Loutsa (1,547 m).

In winter, the village is dressed in white since it often snows in the area, while in summer it is an oasis of coolness since the temperature does not exceed 30°C.

“ARVANITIKA” DIALECT

Kiriaki is a bilingual village and its residents speak both Greek and “Arvanitika”. Until the end of the 1960’s, “Arvanitika” was the dominant language. Nowadays, this dialect is spoken mainly by the senior residents.

USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS & INFORMATION

Community of Kiriaki: +30 2267051104
Citizens’ Service Center: +30 2267051800
Rural Health Center: +30 2267051225
Pharmacy: +30 2267051212
Post Office: +30 2267051823
Agricultural Cooperative of Kiriaki: +30 6976775687
Hellenic Mountaineering Association of Kiriaki: +30 6972850602
Cultrural Association of Kiriaki: +30 6946522272

Bus routes (every Tuesday):
• from Livadia – 08:30 & 12:30
• from Kiriaki – 09:00 & 13:15

Ticket Office Livadia: +30 22610 28336
Website: www.ktellivadias.gr

Πολιτιστικός Σύλλογος Κυριακίου "Πολιτιστική Δράση"

Contact details

+30 6946522272

politistikhdrash@gmail.com

Kiriaki, Boeotia, 32006

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© 2023 Cultural Association of Kiriaki, “Cultural Action”

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