A historical approach to the region of Nevropolis begins with an analysis of the name “Nevropolis”, which means the city of nevros (newborn deer).
According to tradition, the Virgin Mary went to Nevropolis to mourn the death of Christ. Where her tears fell, daffodils grew, also called dakrakia (small tears); when the wind blew, it was said that it carried their scent for miles.
In antiquity, “Drolapia” (the original name of the area) was independent during both the Roman and the Byzantine eras. Its independence was enshrined in the Tamasi Treaty of 1525, after the unsuccessful efforts of the Ottomans to subjugate the Agrafa region. The last battle took place under Murat II, in Mesochorion.
Around the plateau, which has been covered by the waters of Lake Plastira since 1957, lie the villages Ambelokomia and Moucha on either side of the dam, and the villages Kastania, Lampero, Krioneri, Kerasia, Filakti, Pezoula, Kalivia of Pezoula, and Neraida. Finally, there is Mesochorion, which has always been the capital of the Agrafa region and also the seat of the Diocese of Fanari and Neochori, enlightened by the bishop Saint Seraphim.
The review of the region’s history is completed with a necessary reference to the decisive role that the region of Agrafa played in the Resistance, during WWII. The region of Agrafa was at the heart of the fighting and the city of Karditsa was the financial center of the Resistance. The members of the Resistance needed to communicate with the Allied headquarters in the Middle East, and this required the construction of a secret, well-protected airport. It was constructed in the summer of 1943 on the Nevropolis plateau , across which run the Megdovas river – the present-day location of Lake Plastiras. The inspiration for the airport belongs to the then leader of the British mission, Brigadier General Andy Mayes. Captain Denis had the technical supervision, while the plans were drawn up by the engineers A. Samouilidis, G. Kouvarkis, A. Nikolaou, G. Vlahos, and Papageorgiou. Undoubtedly, the local inhabitants and the rebels assisted in the airport’s construction.
Landings and takeoffs always occurred at night and the airstrip was lit with gas lamps that were only turned on when the allied plane reported approaching the airport.
The first landing was made by a Dakota military aircraft on August 9, 1943; it brought the air-control expert Frida Rotherham. On that same night, with the same plane, a delegation of the Hellenic Liberation Front (EAM) composed of Sarafis, Svolos and Roussos departed for Cairo.
It is worth noting that the Nazi occupation forces had become aware of the airport’s existence but could not pinpoint its location, because during the day the airstrip resembled… a forest! The rebels cut trees and “planted” them on the airstrip to deceive them. As reprisals, the Nazi forces burned down the villages Vounisia, Mesenikolas, Pezoula and others. The airport was not discovered until the summer of 1943, when it was bombarded.
Reference should be made to the airport’s guard, which had been assigned to the 1/38 regiment of the Hellenic Popular Liberation Army (ELAS). D. Gordios from Vounisia was originally in charge of drops, and S. Podimatas from Mesenikola subsequently; Vasilis Krommydas was the liaison between the resistance fighters and the British mission.
The Nevropolis airport operated until the end of the war, and it undoubtedly contributed considerably in the victory of the Allied Forces.