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The group of Voltoi at Vouni of Eglouvi on the Lefkada island
Maro Apostolou, professor, National Technical University of Athens

How many complexes of rural space have been listed in the catalog of Monuments and how many synthetic works of nature and man? Among them the group of Voltoi (<vaults) on the plateau Vouni of the Eglouvi area on the Lefkada island (altitude roughly 900m.) is certainly a rare monumental complex in the Greek area. And it is even more important because most of the buildings still in use maintain their original usage as the famous lentil of Eglouvi is still cultivated by the few remaining residents, in the traditional way, on the plateau.

At the east edge of the extensive plateau 75 vaults and approximately 100 threshing floors are found assembled. Groups of vaults, with visible stonework, constituted of one to three vaulted spaces constructed in the ekforic system, connected with a threshing floor and outdoor auxiliary spaces in furtherance of rural activities. They are low buildings level with the ground, partly incorporated in the slopes of the ground, with excellent adaptation to the bare landscape, of which they essentially form part. They are developed on two converging slopes. At the point of convergence, at the nape, where the plateau is accessed from the village of Eglouvi, there is a common-use flat space, with a church, a mill and wells that existed before the Venetian domination, according to the map of Coronelli (1684).

The whole region of the Voltoi is protected by the Bureau of Newer Monuments. In close distance from the central point, the construction of a two-storey building with a basement has started, on a ground with such a slope that may result in adding 1.5m. more to the height of the building after the formation of artificial ground according to the law and with a total construction surface of 408m2.

In the virgin landscape of the Voltoi and in direct visual contact with it and particularly with its central elements – the church, the mill, the plateau with the wells, this building will be the dominant element within a complex of an entirely different scale; moreover, its planned use (shop, offices) raises questions as to its compatibility with the particular environment.

The fact of the authorization of construction is questionable, since such an authorization requires a decision of approval by the competent service of the Ministry of Culture.
As a newer monument, according to the article 6b of the law no. 3028/02, it is of architectural, land-planning, social, folklore and generally historic importance and it should have the proper protection.

19/04/2007
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Aerial photo, 1937. Credit: Hellenic Mapping and Cadastral Organization
Aerial photo, 1937. Credit: Hellenic Mapping and Cadastral Organization