AMFISSA

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Thousands of visitors Delphi bypass the seemingly indifferent town of Amfissa without a second thought. But this small quiet town exudes a sense of midday Provincial leisurely, resting in the ruins of its old glories.

Amfissa, the ancient Locris, the La Sole Franks or Salona during the Ottoman rule, left diamond traces in the organisation of the modern city. The castle, which crowns the superimposed traces of the ancient Cyclopean walls, the Byzantine and Turkish fortifications, the old houses of the captains of Roumeli , the " Harmena " the old suburb of tanners, Turkish fountains , the Byzantine church of the 11th century of the Transfiguration , just outside the city, are still here to travel the mind in the glorious past.

 

The Ghost of Harmena

Once upon a time, a lad lived in Amfissa, handsome and proud Konstantis. He worked in his uncle's tannery in Harmena. He worked hard, from early dawn until the sunset, to earn a living, but he did not care neither for the hard work nor the poverty. He loved a girl called Lenio and he was happy.

Lenio was a beautiful, kind, only daughter. She too loved Constantis and longed to meet him in the Castle of Oria. The two young people were in love and made dreams for their future. They believed that nothing could steal their happiness.

One day, Konstantis loaded the cart with brand new skins and left for the city. He toured from city to city and from village to village for weeks and his orders for new skins. His efforts did not go down the drain and after a while he returned to Amfissa with a ring for his beloved. He ran eagerly to her house to her father’s permission to marry her. As he was approaching he felt chills down his spine because the house stood there looking bizarre. It was locked and a shadow of death lured in the air.

He learned from their neighbors the unexpected death of his loved on. Lenio, had gone to the Fountain of Harmena to fill the pitcher with cold water. Suddenly, the weather broke down and rain began to fall with lightning. A torrential rain flooded the dirt. The wind was blowing furiously and nothing was left standing. She did not manage to leave. A bolt of lightning struck her and she collapsed there, next to the fountain of Harmena.

Lenios’ parents dipped in deep sorrow. Unable to withstand the death of their beloved daughter, they left the city.

Sorrow and pain creeped to the depths of Konstantis’ heart. He could not withstand the unfair loss of his beloved and his heart was broken. The next day, they found his body underneath the Castle. Since then, Konstantis became a ghost and nested in the Source of Harmena. Crying for the youth he did not live, weeping for the love he lost.

The ghost of Harmena was an anthropomorphic monster, tall, with long hands. It had a wild and horrible appearance. It guarded the fountain of Harmena and the people working there, protecting them from all evil and other ghosts in the area. It loved tanners, it felt them as its own people. And when one of them was dying, it would go outside his house and begin a pitiful howl of pain.

When it felt loneliness, the ghost would come out from its hermitage and would wander from alley to alley, taking off wild shrieks and groans. Along with its screaming came sounds and strange noises from dragging of chains.

When the years passed and reached three times the age of Constantis and Lenios together, the ghost of Harmena, quieted, calmed. It stopped to frighten people. It seems that God forgave it.

Even today, in the Carnival of Amfissa, the ghost of Harmena is in the center of the city’s carnival customs.



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