THE SANCTUARY OF ZEUS AMMON AND DIONYSUS
The Sanctuary of Zeus Ammon is one of the most important temples in Halkidiki. The Sanctuary of Dionysus was founded in the second half of the 8th century B.C. by Euboean who settled in Afitis and was worshiped with the Nymphs in the cave beneath the rock on the southwest side of the site. The sanctuary of the Egyptian god Zeus Ammon was built at a small plateau on the northern side of the site. In the late 5th c. B.C. an altar was constructed, but later, during the second half of the 4th century, a peripteros temple of Doric order with stone entablature (superstructure) was built next to the altar. In the late 3rd or early 2nd century it was replaced with another one made of marble, while the roof was decorated with embossed and colored clay tiles. The restoration of its design is possible based on the architectural parts found dispersed. The sanctuary was retrofitted during the Roman period (1st-2nd c. A.C.) and its material was used to build two terraced constructions (stands) on its short south side and, between them a new small altar was built over the older one. There the devotees would participate in the rites.According to the findings, the Roman period of the temple lasted until the era of the heirs of Constantine the Great, when it must have been destroyed completely. Part of anEarly Christian bath installation (balneae), which was excavated on the southern part of the site, is probably associated with the continuance of worship during the Early Christian centuries and even later, during the Middle Byzantine period.
Ancient Mende, which flourished due to the exports of the prominent Mendean wine, was one of the colonies of Eretria founded in the peninsula of Pallini in the 8th c. B.C. The main archaeological site covers an area of 1200 by 600 meters and lies on a verdant hill covered in pine trees, which descends to the sea. Underneath the acropolis, or Vigla, which is located on the highest southeastern part of the hill, underground storage facilities with pottery were discovered (clusters of storage pits) that date from the 12th to the 7th c. B.C. In the plateau, also known as Xefoto, a trial trench revealed part of the classical city wall. In Proasteio (means “Suburb” in Greek), which is also cited in Thucydides, covering the coastal area outside the ancient city wall, various settlement phases from the 9th to the 4th c. B.C. were investigated. In the coastal cemetery, located on the beach of Hotel Mende, 241 burials, mainly of infants and young children, inside big pots were investigated which date from the late 8th to the early 6th c. B.C. These pots were mostly painted, with floral and geometric decorations, or engraved and are considered typical samples of the pottery in Halkidiki.
Tower of N. Fokea or St. Paul
Hallmark of the village, this Byzantine Tower holds a dominant position on the hill at the right side of N. Fokea’s port. It is made of stone, is 28 meters high and it’s the only one to have survived up to its crenellations.It is speculated that it was built in 1407 on a prehistoric site to protect the monastic metochion of St. Paul’s Monastery. In 1821 it was set on fire, but its roof was reconstructed in 1976. Around the tower, there are ruins of the east and south wing of the metochion, as well as a small temple from 1868. This tower hosted in 1821 the headquarters of Emmanouil Papas, the leader of the Greek War of Independency in Halkidiki.
Tower of Sani
The Tower of Sani, also known as Tower of Stavronikitas, is located on the hill of Sani Hotel, where the acropolis of the ancient town probably was, a town that was founded by settlers from Eretria and until the Roman period was one of the most economically powerful cities in Halkidiki. The wider area is known under the name Pirgos (Greek for Tower) since 1346. This area used to be a metochion of the Monastery of Stavronikitas. The tower was built in 1543 protecting the metochion, is 8 meters high and remains in a very good condition until today.
Roman country house
Acountry house of the Roman period, with mosaic flooring and many marble architectural parts, was found in 1972 by the seain the beach of MegaliKipsa. In the same area an Early Christian temple was built later, which, according to archeologists, had many similarities to the architecture of the Roman-era buildings.
Early Christian Basilica of Solinas
Only a few kilometers outside Kallithea, at the location ofSolinas, one can find the Early Christian church of Solinas which dates to the 5th c. A.C. It is worth mentioning that the main theme of the mosaic ―a couple of deers in paradise― is very common in the Basilica of Solinas. The archaeological pickaxe brought into light the cross shaped baptistery, connected to the temple’s narthex, and graves with ceramic pots. The middle aisle is occupied by an older building of the 13th century which seems it was a tower.
The oldest temple of Poseidon is located in Poseidi, an area that in antiquity was called Ancient Mende. The temple was active for more than 1000 years, while it is cited even in Thucydides and in documents of the Holy Mount Athos from the 14th century. It was probably built by settlers from Eretria who considered Poseidon their patron god. The excavations revealed four large buildings: the main temple, two buildings on each side of the temple and an arched structure on its eastern side. The latter, which is also the oldest one, is dated to the Protogeometric Period (11th - 10th c. B.C.). It consists of a tiled floor, while the walls are made of large pebbles.
Port of Archaia Skioni
Ancient Skioni is located on Mytikas, between NeaSkioni and Agios Nikolaos. It is a rather inaccessible hill dominating the area over the sea. Since the slope facing the sea is steep, the access from the South is impossible.
The ancient city was built on the hill in front of the sea, while the northern hill corresponds to the one in front of the town mentioned in Thucydides. It seems that the town was well fortified, since it had been under siege by the Athenians for two years. In the early 20th century parts of a tower on the hill were visible over the fortification. This is where Thucydides locates the acropolis.
A coin from ancient Skioni (approx. 500 B.C.) has an effigy of Protesilaos, the Homeric hero, who is considered the founder of the city. The port of Skioni was a very important factor for the town’s prosperity. Skioni became a member of the Athenian Confederacy in the 5th century B.C., but acceded to the demands of the Spartans during the Peloponnesian War. However, Skioni paid this defection; the Athenians occupied Skioni, slaughtered the citizens or took them slaves and populated the city with Plateans who were forced to leave their homes.
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