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Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO)

 

Chalkidiki Travel Guide

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General

Chalkidiki, also Halkidiki or Chalcidice, is a peninsula in northern Greece. It is located in the southeastern portion of Central Macedonia. The Cholomontas mountains lie in the northcentral part. It consists of a large peninsula in the northwestern Aegean Sea, resembling a hand with three "fingers" (though in Greek these peninsulas are often referred to as "legs") – Pallene (now Kassandra), Sithonia, and Agion Oros (the ancient Acte), which contains Mount Athos and its monasteries.

The first Greek settlers in this area came from Chalcis and Eretria, cities in Euboea, around the 8th century BC who founded cities such as Mende, Toroni and Scioni; a second wave came from Andros in the 6th century BC. The ancient city of Stageira was the birthplace of the great philosopher Aristotle.

The capital of Chalkidiki is the main town of Polygyros, located in the center of the peninsula. Its most populous municipalities are Moudania, Kallikrateia, Polygyros, and Kassandra. Its largest towns are Nea Moudania, Nea Kallikrateia, and the main town of Polygyros.

There are many summer resorts on the beaches of all three fingers where other minor towns and villages are located, such as at Yerakini (Gerakina Beach), Neos Marmaras (Porto Carras) Ouranoupolis, Nikiti, Psakoudia, Kallithea (Pallene/Pallini, Athos), Sani Resort and more.

In June 2003, at the holiday resort Porto Carras located in Neos Marmaras, Sithonia, European Union leaders presented the first draft of the European constitution.

Sithonia

Sithonia is a peninsula located south of the central part of Halkidiki which is also in the south-central part of the Halkidiki peninsula. The Kassandra Peninsula lies to the west and the Mount Athos peninsula at the east. Sithonia is also a municipality, with population 8,891 (2001).

Gulfs that surround the peninsula are the Singitic Gulf to the west and the Toronean Gulf to the east. The mountain Itamos or Dragountelis is in the center of the peninsula. Amongst the many places in Sithonia is the ancient city, the castle and the church of Agios Athanasios in Toroni, the windmills in Sikia and the 16th century church in Nikiti. Porto koufo, is the largest and safest natural harbor in Greece, which is mentioned by Thoukididis as "hollow harbor" it appears to be the fishing spot in the area. South, from the harbors exit you will find Kartalia, the most southern part of Sithonia, a very impressive area which puts its visitors under a spell with its rocky secluded beaches. Known for their natural beauty are the beaches Azapiko, Tristinika, Korakas, Marathias, Kalamitsi, Kriaritsi. All the villages cover the peninsula mainly in the central and the southern portions.

In the middle of Sithonia peninsula, near the village of Neos Marmaras, there is the famous holiday resort of Porto Carras; the place of the 2003 European Union leader's Summit.

The landscape are covered with forests, grasslands, and mountains.

Kassandra

Kassandra was once one of the most important cities in Ancient Macedonia founded by and named after Cassander in 316 BC located on the site of the earlier Ancient Greek city of Potidaea. The fact that Cassander named it after himself suggests that he may have intended it to be his capital, and if the canal which cuts the peninsula at this point was dug or at least planned in his time, he may have intended to develop his naval forces using it as a base with two harbours on the east and west sides. The territory also at one time comprised the areas of Olynthus and Mekyberna to the northeast, Bottiaea to the northwest and the small peninsula of Pallene (now Kassandra) to the east. At the end of the Roman Republic, a Roman colony was settled around 43 BC by the order of Brutus, by the proconsul Q. Hortensius Hortatus. The official colonial name was Colonia Iulia Augusta Cassandrensis. The colony enjoyed ius Italicum. It is mentioned in Pliny the Elder's encyclopaedia (IV, 36) and in inscriptions.

During the Byzantine period it was briefly important in the 1423–30 period, when the Venetians captured it from the Turks and used it as a naval base. They also captured the castle of Platamon on the western shore of the Thermaic Gulf, and so had complete control of the approaches by sea to Thessalonica, which they had taken over after it had been offered to them by the ruling Despot. Like Thessalonica, it fell to the Ottomans in 1430.

The modern settlement of Kassandra (Kassandreia) lies to the south of the ancient site. The ancient site of Cassandreia (renamed Nea Potidaia) is not excavated. The peninsula of Pallene, now generally known as Kassandra, stretches to the south. This was the westernmost of the three peninsulas of Chalkidike, the middle one being the Sithone/Torone peninsula and the easternmost Mount Athos. Its southernmost point is near Paliouri which is also the prefecture's southernmost point; the promontories include the Kassandreia to the west and the Kanistro to the east. Except for Kanastraio, none of these capes marks the extremities of the peninsula except for the eastern part.

The canal on the northern side of Nea Potidaia to the north divides the peninsula from the rest of Chalkidiki.

The peninsula of Kassandra features picturesque villages, beautiful green nature filled with grasslands and forests, beaches and tourist attractions.

History

Kassandra was one of the places that rebelled against the Ottomans in 1821. Because it managed to stop the Turkish army from fighting the south Greece rebels it was burnt from edge to edge. The refugees moved with fishing boats to the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Evoia. Nobody lived in the peninsula for more than 30 years. Then the population started to gather again. In 1912 it became a part of Greece.

The peninsula was lined with paved road in the mid-20th century. Tourism also arrived beginning after the war period of World War II and the Greek Civil War. More paved roads were added in the 1970s and the 1980s and tourism popped out. Agriculture shifted to tourism and other businesses as its primary industry in the 1980s.

On August 22, 2006, the peninsula was struck by a major forest fire that affected the central and the southern parts of the peninsula, the day of the heatwave when temperatures soared nearly 40 °C. Several houses were destroyed including villas, hotels and one campground disappeared as the natural beauty was to be erased. It burnt about 1,000 to 20 square kilometres of forests including some farmlands. Aerial pictures were reported near Sani Beach inland to a point where pastures and mountain roads are located and saw smoke throughout the peninsula. It can be seen across the gulf. The cause of this tremendous fire was dry lightning occurred throughout the evening. Power were cut to all affected villages. The forest fire lasted nearly five days and devastated the economy and the peninsula. All roads in the southern part were closed. Villages that were affected were Chanioti, Nea Skioni, Polychrono, Pefkochori, Kriopigi, Kassandrino and near the coastline.

 

Ancient Sites

Athos (Acanthus)

Acanthus or Akanthos (modern town of Ierissos, also Erisso) was an ancient Greek city on the Athos peninsula. It was located on the north-east side of Akti, on the most eastern peninsula of Chalcidice. Strabo and Ptolemy erroneously place Acanthus on the Singitic gulf, but there can be no doubt that the town was on the Strymonic gulf, as is stated by Herodotus and other authorities: the error may have perhaps arisen from the territory of Acanthus having stretched as far as the Singitic gulf. The name of the ancient city (derived from the acanthus bush) is due to the thorny nature of the area or to the thorny nature of the town's foundation.

History

Foundation

It was founded by 7th century BCE (the archaeology suggests 655 BCE) by colonists from Andros, according to Thucydides. Plutarch, on the other hand, referred to it as a mixed colony of Andrians and local Chalcidians, which was founded on the "Coast of Drakontos", in place of a preexisting civilization. He writes that settlers from Andros and Chalcis arrived on the shore at the same time. The natives of Acanthus, seeing the crowd of settlers, became frightened and left the city. The settlers sent an explorer each to see what had happened and, as they approached the city and realized it was empty, ran to be the first to take over the land for their fellow countrymen. The Chalcidian was the fastest but the Andrian, seeing he was losing, stopped and threw his spear on the wall's gate, before his opponent arrived. A court case followed, which was won by the Andrians, because as they protested, they had just about taken over the city first.

Growth

Its growth during the Archaic period is reflected by the wide circulation of its currency, first minted around 530 BCE with the distinctive emblem of a lion killing a bull – an allusion to Herodotus's account (vii. 125) that on the march of Xerxes from Acanthus to Therma, lions seized the camels which carried the provisions - at least 92 different types of coins have been found. Its economic resources emanated from the mining and wood from the nearby forests, but also through agricultural and vegetable goods that were transported through the sizable harbor.

The first historical reference, in Thuycidides, from mid-6th century BC, connects the city with the Persian Wars, during which the townsfolk officially welcomed the Persians and willingly helped with the digging of the canal for Xerxes, 480 BCE, for which Xerxes richly rewarded them. They declared one of his relatives who died in the area, named Artahei, a hero, and willingly took part in the expedition against Greece. After the Persian wars Acanthus became a member of the Athenian Alliance, paying tribute of three talents. In 424 BCE, after a short siege and oratory by Brasidas, the city was convinced to ally itself with the Spartans, although Thucydides remarks the greater likelihood that it was the threat to destroy their profitable vineyards, rather than Brasidas's rhetoric, that truly moved the Acanthians.

Situation

4th to 2nd centuries BCE

In the initial phase of the establishment of the Chalcidice League, it was mainly smaller towns and cities in Macedonia that were enrolled. Only when it was firmly established was an offer made to Acanthus. When this was refuse a second offer was made but with the threat that force would be used should Acanthus refuse to join the federation. The townsfolk refused to join it, in part due to the old quarrel with the Chalcidians. Under threat from the Chalcidians, Acanthus called in Sparta's help, which came in 382 BCE when the Spartans and Acanthians captured and destroyed Olynthos and the alliance, at least temporarily. Acanthus's staying-out of the alliance meant that in 350 BCE, when it was conquered by Philip II of Macedon, it was not destroyed. Later it was incorporated to the region of Ouranoupolis, a new city that was founded by Alexarchos (Cassander's brother), in the isthmus, between the Strimonic and the Singitikos gulfs.
According to Livy, Acanthus was attacked by a Roman-Pergamene fleet in 199 BCE during the Second Macedonian War and then besieged, captured and sacked by Rome in 168 BCE. A little later, it was reestablished as a Roman colony of legionary veterans.

Roman period

The Romans later exploited all the natural sources of wealth and its harbor, and the town continued through the Roman and Byzantine period. Around the start of the 1st century, Acanthus's renaming began, with its name translated into the Latin Ericius, from which was derived its Byzantine and modern name of Ierissos or Erissos.

As Ierissos

During the Byzantine era Erissos was the seat of a bishopric, evidenced from 883. From the 10th century onwards, the town's history is indissolubly linked with that of Mount Athos. In 942 there were disputes between Ierissos and the monks of Mount Athos over the borders between Ierissos and the monastic community's lands and, the following year, the differences were settled in person by a large commission of major politicians and church officials.

In the summer of 1425 Ierissos came into the hands of the Turks. During that time the Venetians, starting from Cassandreia, landed on the coastline of Ierissos, burnt down Ierissos (by then only a large village) and its surroundings and (on departure) set alight the castle and five towers. In 1821 Ierissos took part in the Greek War of Independence and during the repression the village was burnt down by the Turks and a large number of residents killed.

In 1932 the village was destroyed by a powerful earthquake, with 121 people killed and approximately 500 injured. After the earthquake the new Ierissos was built in its current position, a little north west of the ancient city.

Description

The ancient city extended along a sheer hillside, about 0.6 km (2,000 ft) south-east of modern Ierissos. Remains of walls, an impressive citadel, and Hellenistic buildings survive, along with a deserted Byzantine church and two post Byzantine churches.

Necropolis

The city itself has not been excavated, but the necropolis (graveyard) has, starting in 1973, since when more than 600 graves have been discovered. Particularly extensive is the sight of the cemetery along the seaside of Ierissos.

The graveyard seems to have been used for a long period, starting from the Archaic period (or perhaps even the 17th century BCE) right up to Roman times and later, perhaps with certain intervals in between each period of time. The graves occur in at least two or three layers, either shallow in the earth, or deeper in the sand, usually parallel with the line of the seashore. The orientation of the dead (that is, skulls of the dead - and the tops of jugs) is, in most cases, southeast.

In Acanthus both adults and children were buried in the same area according to ancient burial customs. Various grave types have been discovered - some are simple dirt holes, others coated with clay or undecorated or painted clay urns, yet others are shaped like boxes, covered in clay or jug-shaped (jug-shaped most probably constituted the majority of infant or child burials). The grave goods, usually placed in the graves next to or above the dead, are varied and sometimes in earthen containers. Often they were personal or related to their occupation (such as jewels, pins, buckles, mirrors, weapons - though these are rare - , needles, hooks, bill-hooks, knives or - very often in female and child graves - clay figurines representing various animals, foodstuffs, or human forms, such as actors). Some of the goods are locally made whilst some are from other commercial centres and workshops of the ancient world. Burial customs, and similar types of graves which have been discovered, resemble many other cemeteries in other ancient cities of Macedonia and Thrace, revealing the connection through trade to so much of the Greek-speaking East as well as to other well-known centres of the Peloponnessus (especially Euboea, Athens, Corinth and Boeotia).

Mende (Chalcidice)

Mende was an ancient Greek city located in the western coast of Pallene peninsula in Chalkidiki facing the coast of Pieria across the narrow Thermaic Gulf near the modern town of Kalandra.

Ancient History

Mende was probably built during the 9th century BC by Eretrian colonists. The city owes its name to the plant minthe, a species of mint that still sprouts in the area. The large quantities of lumber that produced, the silver, gold and lead mines that possessed led Mende in rapid development and from the 6th century BC was one of the cities that controlled trade routes in the coast of Thrace with confirmed dealings even to the Greek colonies in Italy, specially cause the exports of the famous local wine Mendaeos oinos.

During the 5th century, Mende became one of the most important allies to Athens by participating in the Delian League paying a tax that varied from six up to fifteen Attic talents per year. However, in 423 managed to acquire its sovereign, nevertheless this situation did not last long for the Athenians quickly suppressed the revolt (Thuc. iv. 121). During the Peloponnesian War, Mende, Toroni and Skione were the main goals of the two combattants, Athenians and Spartans, in the area, specially after Brasidas,the Spartan general, raised an army of allies and helots and went for the sources of Athenian power in north Greece in 424. After the end of the war, Mende reacquired its independence.

The city tried to avoid Olynthian rule in the 4th century, when the Chalkidician League was established and later the Macedonian hegemony, but in 315 its population, among with other Chalkidicians, was forced to resettle in Cassandreia, after this new city was built were Poteidaea stood by king Cassander.

In Mende was born the sculptor Paeonius who made the statue of Nike which was put on top of the victory pillar in Olympia, and is presented in the Archaeological Museum of Olympia.

Topography and archaeology

The location of Mende was identified with the area of the modern town of Kalandra by William Martin Leake already from 1835 but systematic excavational research was condacted from 1986 to 1994 by the XVI Ephorate of Classical Antiquities.

The main archaeological area covers a range of 1200 to 600 meters and lies to the open and flat place of a hill by the sea, that sequential periods of inhabitation from the 9th to the 4th century were revealed. The acropolis of the city is located to the south uppermost point of the hill, where large storage buildings among with pottery dated from the 11th to the 4th century, were found.

The Proasteion (Suburb) of the city, which is also mentioned by Thucydides, occupies the waterfront area between the beach and the hill of the main city, were the harbour was located. Excavations revealed part of the main avenue, paved with pebbles, along with foundations of buildings with storage pottery, possibly shops or harbour buildings.

The Necropolis of the settlement was found south of the city, near a modern hotel. Excavations were made in 241 tombs and revealed mostly burials of children inside engraved ceramic vases.

Those excavations are considered important mainly because they proved that a heavy Euboean influenced settlement was established already from the 11th century.

Olynthos

Olynthus (Greek: Olunthos, a fig which ripens too early; the area abounded in figs) was an ancient city of Chalcidice, built mostly on two flat-topped hills 30–40m in height, in a fertile plain at the head of the Gulf of Torone, near the neck of the peninsula of Pallene, about 2.5 kilometers from the sea, and about 60 stadia (c. 9–10 kilometers) from Poteidaea.

History

Olynthus, son of Heracles, was considered the mythological founder of the town. The South Hill bore a small Neolithic settlement; was abandoned during the Bronze Age; and was resettled in the seventh century BC. Subsequently, the town was captured by the Bottiaeans, a Thracian tribe ejected from Macedon by Alexander I. The town of Olynthus remained in their possession until 479 BC. In that year the Persian general Artabazus, on his return from escorting Xerxes to the Hellespont, suspecting that a revolt from the Great King was meditated, handed the town over to Kritovoulos from Toroni and to a fresh population consisting of Greeks from the neighboring region of Chalcidice (Herod. viii. 127). Though Herodotus reports that Artabazus slaughtered them, Boetiaeans continued to live in the area.

Olynthus became a Greek polis, but it remained insignificant (in the quota-lists of the Delian League it appears as paying on the average 2 talents, as compared with 6 to 15 paid by Scione, 6 to 15 by Mende, 6 to 12 by Toroni), and 3 to 6 by Sermylia from 454 to 432 .

In 432 King Perdiccas II of Macedon encouraged several nearby coastal towns to disband and remove their population to Olynthus, preparatory to a revolt to be led by Potidaea against Athens (Thuc. 1.58). This synoecism was effected, though against Perdiccas's wishes the contributing cities were preserved. This increase in population led to the settlement of the North Hill, which was developed on a grid plan. A 423 Olynthus became the head of a formal Chalkidian League, occasioned by the synoecism or by the beginning of the Peloponnesian War and fear of Athenian attack. During the Peloponnesian war it formed a base for Brasidas in his expedition of 424 and refuge for the citizens of Mende and Poteidaea that had rebelled against the Athenians (Thu. ii, 70).

After the end of the Peloponnesian War the development of the league was rapid and ended consisting of 32 cities. About 393 we find it concluding an important treaty with Amyntas III of Macedon (the father of Philip II), and by 382 it had absorbed most of the Greek cities west of the Strymon, and had even got possession of Pella, the chief city in Macedon. (Xenophon, Hell. V. 2, 12).

In this year Sparta was induced by an embassy from Acanthus and Apollonia, which anticipated conquest by the league, to send an expedition against Olynthus. After three years of indecisive warfare Olynthus consented to dissolve the confederacy (379). It is clear, however, that the dissolution was little more than formal, as the Chalcidians appear, only a year or two later, among the members of the Athenian naval confederacy of 378-377. Twenty years later, in the reign of Philip, the power of Olynthus is asserted by Demosthenes to have been much greater than before the Spartan expedition. The town itself at this period is spoken of as a city of the first rank, and the league included thirty-two cities.

When the Social War broke out between Athens and its allies (357), Olynthus was at first in alliance with Philip. Subsequently, in alarm at the growth of his power, it concluded an alliance with Athens. Olynthus made three embassies to Athens, the occasions of Demosthenes's three Olynthiac Orations. On the third, the Athenians sent soldiers from among its citizens. After Philip had deprived Olynthus of the rest of the League, by force and by the treachery of sympathetic factions, he besieged Olynthus in 348. The siege was short; he bought Olynthus's two principal citizens, Euthycrates and Lasthenes, who betrayed the city to him. He then looted and razed the city and sold its population - including the Athenian garrison - into slavery. According to the latest researches only a small area of the North Hill was ever re-occupied, up to 318, before Cassander forced the population to move in his new city of Kassandreia.

Though the city was extinguished, through subsequent centuries there would be men scattered through the Hellenistic world who called them Olynthians.

Topography and archaeology

The city of Olynthus lies in the hill named Megale Toumba near the village of Myriophyto. The probable site of Olynthus was identified as early as 1902. Between 1914 and 1916 plans were made for an excavation by the British School at Athens, but these fell through.

The ancient city extends in two hills that detach from a small coulee and possess an area with 1500 m long and 400 m in width. Excavations began in 1928. Prof. D. M. Robinson of Johns Hopkins, under the American School for Classical Studies at Athens, conducted four seasons of work: in 1928, 1931, 1934, and 1939. The results of the excavations were digested into fourteen folio volumes. The excavation had uncovered more than five hectares of Olynthus and a portion of Mecyberna (the harbor of Olynthus). On the North Hill this hurried pace proved relatively harmless due to the simple stratigraphy of an area of the city occupied only for 84 years and subjected to a sudden, final destruction; but the data from the South Hill was badly muddled. Nonetheless the work was excellent for its time, and remains supremely valuable. Much of the stratigraphy of the North Hill has been reconstructed by Nicholas Cahill. The site is now in the charge of Dr. Julia Vokotopoulou, and the XVI Ephorate of Classical Antiquities.

The Neolithic settlement is located in the edge of the southern hill and was dated in the 3rd millennium BC. The houses were built by stone blocks and had one or two rooms. The pottery that was found was the typical of that period comprising monochrome ceramic vases. The end of this rural settlement was abrupt and is placed around the first millennium.

The archaic city was built under a provincially urban planning and extended throughout the whole south hill. Two avenues were revealed along the eastern and western edges of the hill that intersected with crossing streets. Along the south avenue shops and small houses were found while the administrative part was located in the north part of the hill, where the agora and a deanery were found.

The classical city was established on the must larger north hill and to its western slope. The excavations, which cover only the 1/10 of the city's total area, have revealed a Hippodamian grid plan. Two large avenues were discovered, with an amplitude of 7 meters, along with vertical and horizontal streets that divided the urban area into city blocks. Each one had ten houses with two floors and a paved yard. Very important for the archaeological research are considered the rich villas that were excavated in the aristocratic suburb of the city located in the eastern part of the north hill since there was found some of the earliest floor mosaics in Greek art.

Both the archaic and classical city were protected by an extended land wall. Parts of the foundations of the wall were revealed in the north hill and elsewhere, but they are not enlightening on which method was followed for their construction. Archaeologists suppose that it was built with sun-dried bricks with a stone base, but it's difficult to tell since the city was literally leveled by Phillip.

As it concerns the public buildings, the Agora is placed in the south edge of the north hill, near the eastern gate, along with a public fountain, an arsenal and the city's parliament building. There is a small museum featuring artifacts recovered from Olynthus, and the whole archaeological site is open to public tours during daylight hours.

Palaiochori

Palaiochori (old form Palaiochorion) is a village in Chalkidiki, Greece, part of the municipality Arnaia. It is situated between the villages Neochori (3 km, E), Megali Panagia (7 km, N) and Arnaia (5 km, W).

History

Neposi Castle (5th century )

The village is mentioned in a text from 1320 and 1441 (Actes de Xeropotamou, Archives de L'Athos III, ed. J. Bompaire.-Paris:1964). From 1478 to 1568 the population increased from c. 24 to c. 100 families.
In 1793 the French ambassador in Thessaloniki Esprit-Marie Cousinéry visited Palaiochori as is documented in 3 pages of Voyage dans la Macédonie (ISBN 1421208806).

In the Greek war of independence the village was destroyed by the Turks. In the civil war the village was destroyed 14 August 1948 by the communist rebels.

Churches
  • Pammegiston Taxiarchon with wallpaintings , a copy of the icon Panagia Gorgoepikoos (the original in the monastery Docheiariou in Athos) and an icon from the 16th century of Taxiarchis Michail, near the church also is the statue of Ioakeim III Megaloprepis
  • Agios Athanasios Athonitis church, festival 5 July each year
  • Archangelos Michail church with a wallpainting

Potidaea

Potidaea (Greek: Potidaia, modern transliteration: Potidea) was a colony founded by the Corinthians around 600 BC in the narrowest point of the peninsula of Pallene, the westernmost of three peninsulas at the southern end of Chalcidice in northern Greece.

While besieged by the Persians in 479 BC, the town was saved by the earliest recorded tsunami in history. Herodotus reports how the Persians attackers who tried to exploit an unusual retreat of the water were suddenly surprised by "a great flood-tide, higher, as the people of the place say, than any one of the many that had been before".

During the Delian League conflicts occurred between Athens and Corinth. However, the Corinthians sent a supreme magistrate each year. Potidaea was inevitably involved in all of the conflicts between Athens and Corinth.

The people revolted against the Athenians in 432 BC, but it was besieged during the Peloponnesian War and taken in the Battle of Potidaea in 430 BC. The Athenians preserved the city until 404 BC, when it was passed into Chalcidice.

The Athenians retook the city in 363 BC, but in 356 BC Potidaea fell into the hands of Philip II of Macedon. Potidaea was destroyed and her territory handed to the Olynthians. Cassander built a city on the same site which was named Cassandreia, perhaps a sign that he intended it to be his capital. Cassandreia, much reduced in size, was used to establish a home for refugees from Asia Minor after the first world war, and at that time was renamed 'New Potidaea' (Nea Potidaia). A modern village nearby on the peninsula preserves the name of Cassandreia.

The modern settlement of Nea Potidea is near this ancient site.

Stageira

Stageira (more properly Stagira) was an ancient Greek city on the Chalkidiki peninsula and is chiefly known for being the birthplace of Aristotle. The city lies approximately 8 kilometres north northeast of the present-day village of Stagira, close to the town of Olympiada.

Stageira was founded in 655 BC by Ionian settlers from Andros. Xerxes I of Persia occupied it in 480 BC. The city later joined the Delian League, led by Athens, but left in 424 BC: as a result, the Athenian demagogue Cleon laid siege to it in 422 BC. However, Cleon was a poor strategist and his conduct of the siege was very inefficient: so much so that the ancient Greek comedy writer Aristophanes satirised him in the play The Knights. Cleon died in the same year, in the battle of Amphipolis.

Philip II of Macedon later had more success, occupying and destroying the city. As payment for Aristotle's tutoring of his son, who became Alexander the Great, Philip later rebuilt the city and resettled the old city's inhabitants, who had been enslaved, there. Many new structures were built at this time, including an aqueduct, two shrines to Demeter and many houses.

Toroni

Toroni is an ancient Greek city located in the southwest edge of Sithonia peninsula in Chalkidiki, 20 km after Neos Marmaras and 3 km before Porto Koufo), one of the largest natural harbours of Greece.

History

According to mythology, Toroni was wife to Proteus, son of Poseidon. The ancient city was founded by Chalkidian settlers probably during the 8th century BC. Its strategic location and rich resources developed Toroni into one of the most significant cities in Chalkidiki, giving its name to the gulf that forms between Pallene and Sithonia peninsulas. During the Greco-Persian Wars it allied with the Persians, who as a reward gave Olynthus to Kritoboulos, a local ruler, in 479 and later became part of the Athenaean League, contributing one of the highest taxes that reached 12 Attic talents per year, giving an indication of its prosperity. When the Peloponnesian War broke out, the Athenians, fearing a revolt against them, placed a garrison in the city but that did not stop Brasidas, the Spartan general from seizing the city with a surprise attack during the night, before he came to an understanding with the Toronaeans in 423. He then tried to expand the city's walls by including the harbour suburb, before leaving to attack Amphipolis. However, the Athenians recaptured Toroni under Nicias, just before the return of Brasidas, who was 2 miles away. When war ended, Toroni, a leading member of the Olynthian synoecism, became part of the Chalcidian League, which included most of the peninsula's cities.

After 348, and the abolition of the league by Phillip, Toroni became part of Macedon. In 168 the Romans invaded and the city decayed, but did not cease to exist, as indicated by the harbour fort, Lecythus, which was rebuilt during the Byzantine era. It is also a titular see in the Roman Catholic Church. The site continued to be occupied up to the 17th century, when the population abandoned the old city and moved to the modern town of Toroni, about one km north of the ancient city. Its strong walls and other buildings were destroyed in 1903, when the Ottomans used the city's granite stones to cover some central roads of Constantinople and Thessaloniki.

Topography - Archaeology

Traces of prehistoric settlements of the 3rd century BC and many other ancient remains, including early Christian and Byzantine temples, and castles are evidence that the area was inhabited continuously from the Neolithic era. Surveys were conducted by the XVI Ephorate of Classical Antiquities in 1975. The harbour port, Lecythus, is being refurbished. The ancient city extends in three main areas: the Acropolis located to the rocky and extremely bluff hill between Porto Koufo and Lecythus, which was connected with the city via long walls; the main ancient city, in the plateau southwest of acropolis up to the coast, that includes Lecythus fort; and the Proasteion (suburb) of the city, in today's narrow, but in antiquity much broader neck of land that connects Lecythus and the city.

In the Acropolis and the main city, parts of the fortification are clearly visible along with dispread stone blocks, ancient pantiles and broken pottery which are found everywhere. Unfortunately, most of the city's buildings were destroyed in the beginning of the 20th century, when the Ottoman authorities hired an Italian engineer in order to collect the stone blocks to use them as paving in roads. The Lecythus fort, next to the harbour, was rebuilted during the Byzantine era, along with cinsterns and a small early Christian temple.
Parts of the ancient city, including most of the Proasteion, the agora and the ancient harbour are nowadays sunk 35m from the coast, as the underwater surveys have proven, since a large 60m long and 2m wide foundation was found, probably the ancient seawall. The whole area between this foundation and the modern coastline is scattered with stoneworks and large amounts of pottery, which indicate the presence of large buildings. All these are concluding that this is the area that the Athenaean garrison fortified when Brasidas seized the city, according to Thucydides' accounts.

Special emphasis was given by the excavators to the cemetery during the inhabitance of the Iron era. Its duration is approximated to be from the end of the 2nd century till the middle of the 9th century. In this cemetery 134 tombs were discovered with 118 being cremated and 16 simple burials. There were 500 pots discovered which were used either as burials or as cremators for the dead.

Modern Toroni

Modern Toroni is a municipality in Sithonia, Halkidiki, Greece with a population of 4,036 (2001). The seat of the municipality is in Sykia, 20 km away. Its 2.5 km long curved beach of thick yellow sand is considered as one of the best in Sithonia, the second peninsula of Halkidiki, and comprise one of the most popular summer resorts of Sithonia. The 40th parallel is only about two kilometres to the north. Municipally the municipality is surrounded with Sithonia to the northwest.

 

 

 
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