The Sanctuary at Flerio (Melanes)

Near the well-known Koúros of Flerió (Mélanes) an ancient sanctuary has been excavated, in which the patron gods of the marble quarry and the nearby springs were worshiped. It is one of the oldest sanctuaries of the island, dating back to the Geometric period.

The valley near the sanctuary is rich in water and huge plane trees and oleander thrive here.

The sanctuary of Flerió was dedicated to the goddess of the nearby springs, a fertility goddess. Also the two most important heroes of the island, the demigods Otos and Ephialtis, were worshiped here as guardian deities of the marble quarries. Near the sanctuary an ancient inscription with their names has been found.

view of the excavated sanctuary from the opposite hill

The site of the sanctuary was an olive grove before its excavation. Many of the olive trees have been preserved.

A large marble block on the site was apparently considered to be particularly sacred; it symbolized the chthonic powers of the heroes Otos and Ephialtis who were able to move rocks. Next to this rock in the 8th century BC (Geometric period) a first temple building was erected. It was made of roughly carved stones and had a size of 5.4 x 6.4 meters with a flat roof supported by two wooden pillars; these stood on carefully crafted marble bases, which are the first known pillar bases of such kind. To the west of the temple building lay an open terrace where the sacrifices were made. To the north the territory was surrounded by a wall. In the southern part of the site lay another small building with three rooms that was used to prepare the ritual meals.

The holiest place of the sanctuary was this marble block. To the left and to the front one can see the eastern wall of the first temple building; on the left in the back the enclosure wall.

Directly next to the sacred rock a small building from the 8th century BC served as a temple. The building was damaged in the 6th century, when the upper part of the marble block slipped towards it, and was repaired provisionally. The easternmost part of the building was then separated by a wall that is visible in the right part of the picture.

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