Katalyma was the name of the harbour for the ancient city of Anafi and was directly beneath the mountain-top city of Kastelli at present-day Katalimatsa Bay. It would appear to have been a significant size but little remains today where the harbour settlement was actually located, although, parts of its original marble structures are spread around the local area, and maybe other parts of the island, incorporated into other structures.
The Terrain Editions map shows two locations in the area where there are archaeological remains. One is located on the headland between Katalimatsa Beach and Megalos Roukounas beach; the other is in the river valley at the back of Megalos Roukounas Beach.
I drove to the junction of the main Chora-Monastery road where an unmade road goes down to Agios Ioannis Beach, and left the car parked off the main road. At the first hairpin bend on the unmade road, a walking track continues onwards downhill and meets with the hiking track number 1. Following track 1 going west, the route to Chora goes to the right but the Katalyma track goes straight on (to the left).
Shortly after, I passed by the threshing floor marked on the map, which is part of a now-abandoned ‘katikia’, a farmhouse ‘complex’ said to be unique to Anafi. The house itself is a single-roomed ‘monospito’ structure with the roof sagging, but still in place. The stone doorway looks to comprise ancient marble blocks. One missing feature is the outside oven, or ‘fournospito’ common in Anafi.
The threshing floor, although overgrown, is a perfect example and has two lakkoi described by Theodore Bent as being used to store the grain: “‘These are called lakkoi,’ said Barba Manthos, ‘in which our farmers, who have no granaries, store their grain. The holes are dug near a threshing floor, and when the grain is ready they put it in, having first been careful to cover the inside with straw. When sufficient grain has been piled up to form a sort of cone-shaped mound they cover the whole with straw, and put on the top of this some of the stiff native brushwood, and then they cover their mound with earth. Rain never penetrates these storehouses, and if it does it is sucked up by the brushwood and the straw before reaching the grain. This is, of course, a very ancient method of storing grain . . . by the side of every threshing floor, we saw two or three lakkoi which the ancient husbandmen of Greece called siroí”.
Parts of the perimeter wall of the threshing floor look to have come from the ancient buildings of Katalyma, one in particluar, which appears to be part of an intricately-carved marble frieze, used purely as a piece of convenient building material with no consideration for its beauty or workmanship.
There is an interesting structure which looks as though it’s a well, just by the threshing floor, with an engraved stone cemented in an almost ‘headstone-like’ manner. The inscription on the stone is quite worn and difficult to determine. Given the nature of the ground, it would seem likely that it’s a well rather than a cistern – the age-old boy scout trick of throwing a stone down a gap in it rusted cover proved nothing.
Rising behind the katikia on a mound, there appears to be another former dwelling. On the opposite side of this mound, there are some ancient marble blocks which have been involved in a collapse.
The katikia is complemented by the nearby terraces where the grain for the threshing floor woud have been grown and harvested.
Further on, past the katikia, is a small chapel having ancient blocks of marble built into its walls and a boundary wall composed almost entirely of ancient blocks.
The remains of Katalyma
Walking on further from the chapel, I came to an area with random blocks of marble spread over a large area. There are no discernible buildings and one wonders whether anything would have remained given the plundering of the town for building material over the centuries. Walkers, and possibly those searching for the ancient harbour town, have raised many stone cairns in the area to mark the significance of the spot.
VC writes “We came away from it down the hill-sides, covered with brushwood and wild thyme, and coloured with wild flowers; each footstep carrying us nearer to the sea and its ancient harbour, with the stairs that went down to its waiting ships.” However, I could find no trace of any steps leading down to the sea and had to scramble down the rocks to get to Roukounas Beach.
The Terrain Editions map shows another antiquity further up the river bed from the beach but I could find no trace of those remains, although I’m sure there must be something there if such a recent map has included it.
Maybe some other follower of VC might have more success in finding the steps to the sea and the other antiquity shown on the map.