By Pierre Kosmidis
Photos submitted by Stathis Kouroupis and used by permission
The northern part of Euboea in Greece is full of History.
In Artemision a naval engagement between the Greeks and the barbarians, which spanned over three days during the second Persian invasion of Greece, took place simultaneously with the more famous land battle at Thermopylae, in August or September 480 BC.
The naval battles were fought off the coast of Euboea between an alliance of Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and others, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I.
The Persian navy was caught in a gale off the coast of Magnesia and lost around a third of their 1200 ships.
After arriving at Artemision, the Persians sent a detachment of 200 ships around the coast of Euboea in an attempt to trap the Greeks, but these were caught in another storm and shipwrecked.
Fast forward to the late 1930s, as the dark clouds of war were again gathering over Europe.
Greece decided to construct a series of fortified positions in roughly the same area, were the Greeks fought against the Persians 2,500 years ago, in what was designated the Naval Defense Area 4.
The fortress at Gouves belonged to the Naval Defense Area 4 of the prefecture of Evia, based in Chalkida, under the name “Fortress of Northern Euboikos”.
A concrete complex included artillery and anti-aircraft guns, in order to protect the entrance of the Euboikos Gulf and control the the Pagasitic Gulf in the north.
Recently, the Gouves Cultural Association “Gefyra” (meaning “Bridge” in Greek), with the personal work of the inhabitants, cleaned the Naval Fortress.
Their purpose is to make it accessible to all and to offer a glimpse of the past to the visitors of the area, with the support of the local Municipality of Istiea-Edipsos.
www.ww2wrecks.com has reached out to Mr. Stathis Kouroupis to find out more on this exciting project and discuss about the next steps.
Every time I visit the fortress I discover something new. It is impressive to see how well constructed these fortifications are, withstanding the elements of nature for so long!
The area seduces you with its hidden history.
We will continue cleaning up the area, but we have to convince the landowners, as the area was not expropriated by the State, that they will not lose their property.
There are 3 concrete 178 mm gun emplacements and we have already fully uncovered the first one and we still have to work on the other two, as the landowners are still not allowing us to proceed.
We are still just at the beginning, as the fortified complex is large and has underground constructions, which still remain hidden in the undergrowth or covered in debris.
We want to carefully map the whole area and put signs to explain the use and construction method of each concrete construction.
We believe that all the monuments of the history of the Second World War must be preserved and properly displayed.
Everything is done with the support and help of our Municipality.
We want our area to become a historical attraction, there are many visitors coming from Greece as well as all over Europe, as it is a pristine destination, with crystal clear waters and wonderful mountains nearby, truly a hidden Paradise off the beaten track for the masses.