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Kouniadoi - Vrakades - Proespera - Laggada

Kouniadoi village in the north lies west of Christos Raches and has about 45 residents. The name comes from the first settler named "Kounias". It’s amphitheatrically built on the slope of Mount Atheras and has scattered old and new houses in the old architectural style.

The village is dominated by the twin-tower church of Agia Irini, built in 1958 in place of an older church and the church of Saint John the Theologian. There are also foundations of a pagan temple, associated with the cult of the goddess Artemis. The traditional village fair takes place on August 15th.

Vrakades, a few kilometres south of Kouniadoi, is scattered among dense vegetation. Its traditional setting comprises the central square, cafés and a cultural centre. In the main square is a monument of the Ikarian mother holding her child expressing hope for liberation of the island from the conqueror. This always reminds locals of their struggle for survival. Worth visiting is a folklore museum.

It was founded on the initiative of Ikarian scholars of Athens and contains a wealth of folklore exhibits highlighting island history and traditions, such as traditional utensils, old farming and beekeeping tools. Visitors can explore old records and documents, dating from the revolution of the island. Also kept there are great religious artifacts from the church of Prophitis Elias in Vrakades and the Evaggelismos Monastery in Mavrianos.

Don’t miss the old stone house of Mikis Theodorakis, known as the "house with scorpions". The old farmhouse hosted the famous music composer and his companions, sent into exile on the island in 1947 during the Greek civil war. The house is now a museum officially recognised by the Greek state as a listed building.

The village Proespera lies in the west, a few kilometres north of Kouniadoi. Etymologically the word 'pro+espera' means 'to the west'. Old traditional houses are scattered throughout. Kato Proespera is a newly-built coastal village with new houses and a small church dedicated to Theologos. The traditional architecture of the houses is largely maintained, including large storage jars buried underground and large fences out front. Proespera is widely known for its vineyards, a source of the famous Ikarian wine.

The settlement of Laggada lies a few kilometres from the village Vrakades. The area is known as a place of survival for Ikarians during the 'century of obscurity' on the island. It forms a very fertile and cultivated green valley. In terms of history and culture it is a glorious and important place for Ikaria. Also known as 'Ark of survival' for Ikarians it was an important settlement during the early Byzantine period and flourished in the early 16th century.

During that period much of the island population moved to Laggada because it was hidden from the sea and formed a natural refuge from pirates. Ruins of houses, churches and settlements testify to the past presence of people in the area, while in the central square a marble statue is dedicated to the heroes of the fight.

Laggada is an officially proclaimed traditional village, where building codes are strict in order to keep the area’s style of architecture intact. Noteworthy is the church dedicated to Koimissis Theotokou (=Assumption), which has a carved iconostasis and old pictures. August 15th is the day of the traditional village fair and includes events commemorating the struggle of ancestors.