Kea-Tzia Architecture

Kea island. Cyclades county. Greece. Europe.
George Detsis. 09/2005. Kea-Tzia - Architecture

The countryside of Kea is filled with terraces (solid stone walls). The fields are surrounded by high walls while a dense network of paved public roads runs through the entire island. The fields are filled with stables and other installations for material storage, animal housing and protection against bad weather. Larger establishments are called “kathekies” and when they comprise more buildings serving for the production activities of farmer families, they are called “kathentres”. They were traditionally built on mild slopes and flat areas, at the foot of hilltops and away from the ravines. A large concentration of such buildings is found in regions such as Astra, Ellinika, Kato Meria, Komi and Mylopotamos.

Slate has been used by the locals since the prehistoric period (Agia Irini settlement) to construct houses, solid stone walls, roads or pathways, which are called “stenes” and are part of the island’s ancient road network.

The urban and architectural development of Ioulida settlement has been quite different. It is characterized by the narrow cobbled alleys meandering through the settlement, the box-shaped houses with their ceramic tiled roofs and the close proximity of the buildings. It was originally developed where the ancient town used to be and then extended to the south along the roads leading to the interior of the island.

The fountains in Ioulida constituted an entire building complex; they consisted of the animal drinking troughs, the housed laundry room with the wash tabs (“plystres”), the fireplace and the shelter (“stegadi”) used for protection. They played an important role in the selection of the locations to which the settlement would expand and in the close surrounding area every family would cultivate lemons, oranges and vegetables.

Apart from the wealthy families of the island, every rural family tried to build a house in Kea’s capital in order to increase their social status. The same existed for the port and Bourkari.

A peculiar kind of settlement in Kea was the worker settlements. They were built under a single plan to house all those who worked in the steam-powered ship coaling and in the mines of Orko.

*Information were drawn from the Kea tribute published in “Kathimerini” newspaper (7 Imeres, 8/7/2001) with detailed information on Kea rural and urban houses, as well as from the website of the Foundation of the Hellenic World.


Typical examples of local architecture are the watermills in Mylopotamos.

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