AMMOULIANI (Island) HALKIDIKI
Tel: +30 23770 51208
Fax: +30 23770 51108
Ammouliani is the only inhabited island with a permanent population (approx 600 residents) in Halkidiki. It is situated in the gulf of Mount Athos, at a distance of approx.130 kilometres from Thessaloniki and is connected to the mainland with a ferry boat service with the opposite coast of Tripiti. The itineraries of the boats are in regular time intervals throughout the day. It has an extent of 4,5 kilometres. There are lots of hills and small valleys on the island which have blended in with the olive trees and low vegetation but there are no systematic cultures so the ecosystem remains untouched. The coasts present a variety of small shaped creeks with splendid sandy beaches. Weather conditions are not characterized by intense and we should remark that although an island, there are no strong winds especially during the summertime.The residents occupy themselves mainly with fishing and tourism.
IERISSOS (Small town) HALKIDIKI
Tel: +30 23770 22216
Fax: +30 23770 22414
Ierissos is the oldest and biggest village of the Municipality with 3118 residents. It is reported by historians as the continuation of ancient Acanthus, which was a colony of Andros since the 7th century B.C and an important city of Macedonia. The local residents deal mainly with fishing and tourism. During the more recent years, important professional activity related to Mount Athos has also developed.
It constitutes an important harbour for Northern Greece with lots of fishing activity.The fishes found in the gulf of Ierissos are well known for their taste throughout all of Greece.
The sandy beaches as well as the live amusement offered in Ierissos make it a unique place for vacations. The impressive social and cultural activity of the residents roots go back centuries and a sample of this are the many traditional songs that remain alive and are still sang up to today.
A lot of associations have been founded with a variety of activities,incuding the cultural association "Kligenis", the association "Friends of Environment", and the music association "Acanthus". There are also lots of professional associations (fishing, trade, builders association etc).
NEA RODA (Village) HALKIDIKI
Tel: +30 23770 31023
Fax: +30 23770 31203
Nea Roda is the biggest refugee village in northern Halkidiki. It was founded immediately after the Asia Minor destruction in a place called "Provlakas" (= before the avlaki = before Xerxe's Canal ) by roughly 40 refugee families which, after a year of roaming, reached Halkidiki in the summer of 23' and came to this area.
They came from Roda in the area of Propontida near the Marmara Sea or "Sea of the Greek spirit". In 1901, about 700 Greek people lived in the village. According to tradition they were settlers from Roda. In the village at that time there were also about 100 Turks living here, who had come from Koutali in 1700, by a Turkish order.
The whole area but also the wider region is presented as paradise: Rich sea and fertile soil. They produced silk from silkworm cocoons, granite in blocks, fish, fruit, olives, grapes, onions and a lot of other products,which they promoted with boats to Istambul. They had three churches (biggest being the church of Saint Dimitris) and an upgraded level of school. Up to 1912 they lived happily. Then things started to change when new Turks arrived. In all the Greek Asia Minor villages, the fear of slaughter and exile prevailed, with the known conclusion of that black August in 1922. The people of Roda fled in two different ways : Two boats left for Mitilini, while most pass over to the island of Aloni and afterwards over to the island of Marmaras. After 20 days the ship called Propontis picked them up and took them over to an area in Thessaloniki called Karabournaki, in order to end up in an area called Saint Barbara in Ano Toumba.There they scattered in small teams.
In 1923 the team in Mitilini is the one that reached this region first, rejecting the place of current Ouranoupolis considering it small and narrow so it resided for a few months off-handedly in Ierissos. There they proposed for their new village to be established after the harbour of Ierissos, but the locals were opposed to this in fear of future union. So they finally selected the place "Provlakas" and gave it the obvious name "Nea Roda".
The new village began to attract more refugees. A signifant number of them reached in privately-owned boats from Skopia ( or Skoupia), an area on the island of Aloni, opposite and very near Roda. The residents were mainly seamen and tradesmen. Religious as they were, they first took with them the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, who today is the protectress and pride of Nea Roda. Families from Eastern Thrace, but also from Haraki and Gonia of Kizikou also arrived. In the meantime the other people of Roda residing elsewhere were informed of this new found land and most of them, correspond to the call, and also come to Nea Roda.
On the 14th of June in 1924 the exchange of populations began. The last Greeks of Asia Minor were eradicated and entered Greece seeking a new homeland. A big team from Kappadokia in 1926 arrived in Nea Roda, and the village takes its final form. Antaval ( "Antavali's" or "Antivalon") from the region of Nigdis in Kappadokia, was the homeland of this team. The new village although turkish spoken, is completely greek with approx 1800 residents. The church of Saint Konstantine was built in the year 500 A.C. and its ruins are preserved up to today. The name of the village emanates very probably from the verb "antivallo" (= I oppose), because of the permanent litigation with the turks. A place rocky, poor and barren, with marginal production, often led the men for periodical work to Istamboul. Specifically in 1913-1923 they suffered from Turkish pillages and lived in fear for their lives. When the command of abandonment was given, with head leader their priest Agathaggelo, they left on their horsewagons for Nigdi-Oulougousla and down to Mersina. After 1-2 months travelling north, they reached the area of Saint George in Piraeus and after Thessaloniki. From there, a big part passed from Pirgadikia, Ouranoupolis and Orfani but due to malaria and misfortunes they finally reached this region. For roughly 5 years they resided in the surrounding area, and then, with the little help of the greek government, they installed themselves and gave the village its current form.
Difficult years followed for all the residents. The nostalgia for the homelands was expressed continuously with the wish "ante gia mas ke kali patrida!" meaning 'to our health and a good return back to the homeland'. However there was also the will for a new start. They opened upto the sea, they cultivated the ground, and slowly - slowly progressed considerably.
There are barely any representatives alive of first generation of refugees that may recall any of this however the knowledge of our history, is precious for us, the younger generation.
OLYMPIADA (Village) HALKIDIKI
Tel: +30 23760 51275
Fax: +30 23760 51275
Olympiada is located on the N.E. side of Halkidiki, in the Strimoniko gulf at a distance of 95 kilometres from Thessaloniki via Stavros (80th kilometre on the National road Thessaloniki - Kavala there is the exit for Stavros).Olympiada is 12 kilometers away from Stavros.
Olympiada is a beautiful village of 700 residents, built along a sandy beach which stretches out to the edge of a natural harbour and is surrounded by evergreen mountains (the beach of Olympiada has been rewarded with the "blue flag" continuously during the last years). Everything has blended in splendidly, attracting visitors from all over Greece and abroad. It combines the atmosphere of a village with the comfort of the modern world, offering a complete tourist infrastructure. In the region there are 3 hotels with a capacity of 120 beds and a lot of rooms to rent with a capacity of more than 400 beds.There are also 2 camps.
Olympiada offers to visitors who would like quiet holidays, a clean sea, fishing, walks in the around area and in the Archaeological places, without however missing something from night life for those who wish to combine both. For those who have small children, Olympiada is the most suitable place for holidays because the waters are shallow, hardly 30-50 cm depth for at least 50 metres distance from the coast.
OURANOUPOLI (Village) HALKIDIKI
Tel: +30 23770 71216
Fax: +30 23770 71460
Ouranoupolis is the threshold of Mount Athos. It is the last village just a kilometre before the border of the Holy Mountain and where a visitor who intends to visit the monastic state must go to. Every day, from the small harbour under the shade of the Tower, you will see the boats which take the pilgrims (after they have previously aquired the visa pass they will need to enter) to the Monastic Republic.
Ouranoupolis took its name from the Alexandrian city that was founded in 315 B.C. by Alexarhos, the son of Antipatros and brother of Kassandros. This city was built on top of the ruins of Sanis an Andrian colony, which Phillipos the 2nd had previously destroyed from its foundations. Ancient coins found bring the sign "Ouranio Poleos" meaning city in the sky and it also had the representation of Ouranio Afrodite seated on a ball on one side and on the other the sun shining with eight beams.
The first monasteries were founded in the 10th century on the peninsula of Athos. One of these was also the "Abbey of Zigou" or "Fraggokastro" which was discovered near Ouranoupolis. In this monastery, Osios Athanassios the Athonite and founder of Megistis Lavras practised for some time. This Abbey is still at the stage of excavation from which important discoveries have been revealed and it possesses the important privilege of being uniquely positioned outside of the border of Mount Athos, so consequently it can be visited by women.
In the beginning of 14th century the Abbey of Vatopedi built the Byzantine Tower that dominates untill today the S.W end of the village for the protection of the metohi (property). This tower is the biggest and the best maintained (particularly after its recent restoration by the 10th Inland Revenue of Byzantine antiquities) in Halkidiki. An earthquake in the 19th century which completely destroyed the top floor made repairing necessary and so it then took on its final form. During the same time its accompanying buildings were built. One of them accomodates nowadays the local municipal office.
After the Asia Minor destruction, refugees from the Marmara islands in Propontida reached this area and found shelter in the Tower, its accompanying buildings and in tents. In 1926 a German company built the first houses of the village, some of which still stand today. Later the residents built the Church, the School and so began the organised community with the name Prosforion. Later the village took on the name Pirgos meaning "Tower" and in around 1960, it took on its final name "Ouranoupolis". In 1928 the Lock couple from Australia came to the village and connected themselves to the life of the village. They lived in the tower and in collaboration with the residents who knew the art of carpet making used drawings copied from monastic codes and put the foundations of a local manufacture which gave work and income to a lot of families.
The first tourists arrived in the 60th decade . At that time roads were built, streets in the village were finally completed and last but most important electricity came. Also the first hotel was built and named Xenia.
Today Ouranoupolis is considered to be one of the most important resorts in northern Halkidiki. There are many restaurants and Hotels that offer the visitor good food and a comfortable stay. During the summer months there are daily cruises to Mount Athos from the harbour of the village. A must for those who choose this unique and beautiful village and a chance for one to see all the monasteries on the western side of Athos. One may also enjoy the sea and the beautiful and clean coasts or go opposite to the islands called Drenia.
For those who love nature, there are lots of walkingpaths through the olive and pine hills. One may also visit the "Serbian" region on the Northern side of the peninsula and ofcourse the "Zigou Abbey" just a kilometre away from the village.
In the village one can visit the exhibition in the Byzantine tower with Byzantine antiquities and icons. In the souvenir shops you may find famous hand made carpets with Byzantine drawings, goat hair rugs,Byzantine icons or jewels made with natural raw materials. You may also find local products such as oil, wine, honey, raki (tsipouro), oregano and various teas. In the evenings you may dine in one of the picturesque taverns,taste the fresh fish and enjoy carefree moments. One might also be lucky and be in the area when cultural events and religious holidays take place.
STAGIRA (Village) HALKIDIKI
Tel: +30 23760 41335
Fax: +30 23760 41335
Stagira is the birthtown of Aristotles and the entrance to the Municipality of Stagiron - Akanthou. It is found built on the foot the Stratoniki Mountain (Strempenikos), at an altitude of 500 roughly metres. At the entrance of the village, visitors can visit the park in which the Statue of Aristotles stands proudly surrounded by monuments such as towers, public baths and the tower of Madem Aga, from the period of Sidirokafsia. Sidirokafsia was the administrative centre of the region,and had its own mint.
Further down going to the village, we see the central temple dedicated to the "Birthday of the Virgin Mary". It is of great historical importance, and was built in 1814 with the help of the Hilandari Monastery on Mount Athos. Also very interesting is the small chapel dedicated to the "Virgin Mary the Spilotissa" built in rock. In this area the big village feast takes place , on the 8th of September. Visitors can walk in the everygreen paths with a panoramic view. There are about 500 residents that live in the village today and they deal mainly with the exploitation of mining wealth and forests.
The beautiful and historical village of Stagira is located above the central road of Thessaloniki - Ouranoupolis approximately 8 kilometres from the sea.
STRATONI (Port) HALKIDIKI
Tel: +30 23760 22222
Fax: +30 23760 22577
Stratoni, a coastal village built in the gulf of Ierissos, numbers today approximately 1000 residents. In this region, ruins of the Roman Period have been found. Most important would be considered the "Iroou" (burial monument) which dates back to the end of the 1st Cent B.C.. From this, two statues clearly stand out, a man's and a woman's (the woman has been named "Lady of Stratoni"), which are kept in the Museum of Poligiros.
The foundation of Stratoni as a constituted settlement dates back to the mid 19th century but has always had an unbreakable tie with the mining activity. The rich layers of mixed sulphur minerals, known from the ancient and Byzantine years, constituted the basic wealth-producing source for the village. Since then many people assembled in Stratoni from the around regions but also from a lot of parts of Greece in order to join the workforce in the Mines. The population also increased considerably with the refugees that resorted here after the Asia Minor destruction. In 1932 the village was extensively damaged by the earthquake that had an epicentre the gulf of Ierissos and unfortunately there was a big number of victims. In the immediate following years, the village was almost entirely rebuilt from start.
The residents of Stratoni, although a big percentage has come from different regions, have always constituted a single, harmonious total with a high standard of living. They have proved to be hard working and hospitable and they have always stood out for their culture. During all of its historical course, Stratoni has always been a rich source in artistical and local events. Among them stand out the amateur theatrical representations - even during prewar times,the foundation of a music school during the 5th decade, icon painting, music band, dance group, organisation of impressive carnival events, concerts with popular greek artists, all of which are just samples of the cultural tradition which Stratoni has offered and that is continued untill today through the activities of the Local Associations.
STRATONIKI (Village) HALKIDIKI
Tel: +30 23760 41217
Fax: +30 23760 41469
Stratoniki is one of the mountainous villages within the Municipality, with a panoramic view towards the gulf of Ierissos and the peninsula of Athos. It is one of the mademohoria and the locals - mainly during the old days - had as main occupation mining. It is believed that the village was built by the king of Macedonia Perdikas,in honour of his brother Stratonikis.
Stratoniki's big acne began in 1530 during the reign of the sultan Souleiman the 1st. He reorganized the mines of the Ottoman empire, that were known in the region since the Byzantine period such as Sidirokafsia and Siderokava. During that time apart from Greeks, workers of many other nationalities (Bulgarians, Serbs,Turks, Albanians, Jews, and even German as technicians) came to the area in search of work. The acne of the mines turned Stratoniki into a big and flourishing centre, as there were more than 6.000 workers, in the 500-600 furnaces, scattered in the mountains. All this constituted a small Babel, as many languages were spoken by the the workers of various origins. Greek, Spanish-Jewishand a lot of Balkan languages.
The Jews practised mainly the money-changing profession and it seems that there were many of them because they dominated the market. The Jewish money-changers and Turkish tenants of the mines bought from the miners silver at state prices. It is not therefore by no means strange if Spanish was imposed as the common language of agreement. In any case, Greek and Serbian were spoken by the villagers in the market where they came to in order to sell their products. Thus, when the Jews kept their shops closed, the market would die down so consequently the days off in Sidirokafsia were two, Saturdays for the Jews and Sundays for the Christians.
It has been determined that by the mid 16th century, the sultan took from the mines, minerals valued about 20.000-30.000 golden coins. In Sidirokafsia it is believed that a mint functioned since the period of Murat the 2nd ! (1421-1451).
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