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The mysterious goldmine.


Ladislav Kasvinsky, a Hungarian surveyor engineer of the Austro-Hungarian army who was invited in 1890 by Sultan Abdul Hamid to map the region of Macedonia, is thought to have found a large goldmine north of Kilkis, near Avret Hisar (Gynaikokastro).

„The mysterious goldmine“

Kasvinsky after the Thessaloniki's liberation in 1912, tried to persuade the Greek authorities to cede the exploitation of the goldmine. After tireless efforts of 25 years, Kasvinsky made it; in 1920 Greece's King Alexander signed Law 2414 by which the goldmine in Avret Isar was ceded to Kasvinsky. Before the approval, Kasvinsky in the late 19th century had been mining antimonium in the same region. As he had told the Greek authorities in 1912, he had discovered "large gold lenses" within the antimonium ore. As a surveyor he had made a detailed topographic chart of the area and the sites where he found gold. He had been transferring the minerals to the tower at Gerakarion or Gerakofolia (then Ntogantsa).
His activity had been considered as strange and soon rumours emerged that something else was going on, rather than antimontium excavation. Kasvinsky and his family had been living a luxurious life, offering lavish gifts to Turkish pashas to ensure their favor; so in just a few months was it widely known that he had discovered gold. Then the pashas of Thessaloniki put the goldmine under the jurisdiction of the TurkishaAdministration and began investigations, but the were not able to spot the mine's location. Kasvinsky then appealed to the Sultan Abdul Hamid who imprisoned the... bad pashas, but at the same time he ordered the demoltion of the tower in order to find the large pieces of gold that Kasvinsky was thought he had hiding. According to Kasvinsky the Sultan's men found about 250 kilos of gold. Intrigued and excited the Sultan took hold of the goldmine of Avret Hisar as personal property. He sent his own workers and mining crews, but they unable to find anything of importance.

„Gynaikokastro Castle is one of the most important Byzantine fortifications of the Palaiologan period.“

Then the Sultan proposed Kasvinsky the joint exploitation of the mine. But Kasvinsky provided a fake topographic map and flew to Germany and then Austria. There he tried to persuade the Kaiser and the Emperor of Austria to negotiate with the Sultan in order to cede the exploitation of the mine, with no luck. These are the stories that Kasvinsky told the Greek authorities in 1912. After 1913 Kasvinsky tried to succeed the characterization of the goldmine as a personal property of the deposed Sultan and hence not come into possession of the Greek State. Then he fought with the same tenacity to convince the Greek Government and King Constantine to give him the goldmine as his own property!

During World War I, the Germans considered Kasvinsky to be “suspicious” and exiled him to Egypt. When he returned to Thessaloniki after the war, he found that his house had been burned down during the great fire in 1917. The maps fo the goldmine had also been lost. He went to Avret Hisar, but the area was completely covered by the silting of Gallikos River and thus he was unable to locate the goldmine.
Afterwards he went to Athens to show Prime Minister Venizelos and the Minister of Finance his findings: samples of quartz with great proportions of gold inside. The Greek government was finally persuaded and by a law in 1920 Kasvinsky became the owner of the Avret Hisar goldmine.

But the next Prime Minister, Gounaris, refused to give permission for mining because it was “alien to the dignity of the State to deal with such adventurers”.

Kasvinsky managed to bypass the Prime Minister and convinced King Constantine that he was the rightful owner.
Funded directly by the Greek National Bank, Kasvinsky tried to locate the lost gold vein close to village Divounia (then named Kiose-Amortsali). After fruitless search of about a year about the Bank cut the funding.
Kasvinsky was never provided with new clearance to continue.
During the last century many Greeks and foreigners, asked from the Greek State to permit mineral exploration in the area, without any luck.