Island Ikaria Travel & Tourism Guide

Langada


Langada lies in the western part of the island and belongs to the community of Christos-Rachon and has about 15 inhabitants. This lush green valley almost completely hidden from view was once the sacred ground of the Ikarian people's survival during the century of obscurity. Now desolate, it is cultivated agricultural area and a popular excursion for the inhabitants of the village of Karkinagri. The few devoted settlers preserve the history of their land which is very important to them. Langada is a shrine, a place of worship. It is of particular historical and cultural interest. Throughout this glorious valley survives structures and symbols of the historic and autonomous "Free State Of Ikaria."

According to the historian Ioannis Melas, Langada existed as a settlement during the early Byzantine years and flourished at the beginning of the early 16th Century after the Franks had left. During that time period the population of Ikaria moved to the natural refuges of western Ikaria, one of the primary ones being the valley of Langada because it was hidden from the sea by the surrounding mountains. The very old churches, the ancient jail of the settlement, the ruins of the government house, and most of all the local traditions, are the unerring witnesses of the glorious past of the settlement of Langada which served as the "Arc" of the Ikarians' survival and the preserver of the customs and dialect of the island's ancient settlers.

On the day of the "Langadia Festivities" on the 15th of August each year at the traditional village feast the valley of Langada comes to life starting in the morning. Since 1988 the Langadia Festivities have been organized and are comprised of a drama series which pays homage to the sacred hearth of the ancestral Ikarian struggles for survival. The festivities include a "tay dayum" speech, theater, and then a "panagiri" (feast) in the shade of the towering trees of the square with delicious local food, Ikarian wine and dancing. Langada's parish church is dedicated to Kimisi tis Theotokou, the Assumption. It is an old church with a beautiful wooded carved iconostasis and has many old icons. In the village square, next to "Kimisi tis Theotokou" stands the marble war memorial which is reminiscent of the great historical importance of Langada. There is also a taverna located in Langada, the only one in the surrounding area.




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