Ancient town Akanthos
A colony of the city of Andros, which was built around 650 BC, one of the biggest and wealthiest colonies in Halkidiki and the most powerful harbour of the region, with its own monetary unit (one of the most beautiful of its time). Its inhabitants joined forces with the Persian Army, then with the Athenians and last with the Spartans. In 199 BC the Romans plundered the town, divided it in smaller properties and gave them to the legionnaires. At a certain point the Romans were the only inhabitants of the area. They named the town Ericius (Erissos). The name later became Ierissos.
The ancient town Akanthos was built on the hills, covering an area of 140 acres. The ruins, that the visitor can see, are traces of the town’s walls and houses. A public building with two wells, both with marble openings, was excavated in the middle of the settlement. The excavation works in the area started before almost 25 years at the town’s cemetery. The today’s village Ierissos is built right on top of it. More than 9.000 tombs from the Hellenistic and Classic Time were excavated. Most findings are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Polygyros.
Ancient town Stagira
The birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle was a colony of Andros founded in 655 B.C. The first name of the city was Orthagoria. Ally, initially of the Athenians and later of the Spartans, the city was occupied by Philippos in 349 B.C., after the destruction of Olynthos. Philippos, however, rebuilt the city in order to honour the great philosopher, tutor of Alexander the Great. When Aristotle died, his fellow-citizens transported his bones to Stageira and set up a monument. To honour him, they organised each year a big feast, called Aristoteleia. Through the years Stageira was abandoned and depopulated. The excavations in the region began in 1990. The most impressive piece that was brought to light is the wall, at the top of the hill that was built in the classic years. The different ways of construction can be distinguished. The wall determines the western limits of the ancient city, surrounded by the sea. The powerful fortification supplemented round and square towers and ramparts that connected with heavy scales. At the top of the hill also appears the relic of the citadel. At the part behind, between the hills, exists the well-maintained remainder from some beautiful, spacious public building, with a gallery and a monumental facade with pillars. Each year, at summertime, cultural events are organised here, the “Aristoteleia”, within the archaeological space, continuing this age-old feast and developing a so much beautiful archaeological site.
Ancient town Toroni
Migrants from Evia inhabited Toroni in the 8th century BC. The town joined the Athenian Alliance, until the Spartans conquered it. King Philip II of Macedonia conquered the town in 348 BC and the Romans in 168 BC. Ancient Toroni was one of the biggest and wealthiest towns of Halkidiki. Its location is described by Thukidides, along with the siege of Likithos (the small and steep rocky peninsula on the south end of the beach, which was part of the walls of Ancient Toroni), by the Spartans during the Peloponnesian War. During the years of the Roman Occupation and the Byzantine Era, the walls of the town were reinforced to protect it from sea and land. They were built with the construction material that had been left from the ancient acropolis.
The excavation works in the area began in 1975 by the Australian Arhaeological Institute in Athens. The findings indicated that the area had been constantly inhabited since the Early Copper Age. Some very important vessels were found in the town cemetery. Among them a wonderful silver pitcher, which dates from the 5th century BC, with engraved Medusas on the handles, which is now exhibited in the Archaeological.
Ancient town Olynthos
The area was constantly inhabited since the Neolithic Age. According to mythology, the town was built by the brother of Olynthos, the son of the mythic King of Thrace Strymonas. Olynthos was killed by a lion and his brother built the town to honour his brother’s name. However, the linguists insist that olynthos is the name of the wild fig tree, which are in abundance in the area, and the town was named after it. Around 650 BC refugees from Pieria hunted by the Macedonian army, settled in the area and soon prospered. The Persian army destroyed the town in 479 BC. They slaughtered all the inhabitants and offered it to their allies from Evia (Halkida). Later, Olynthos joined the Athenian Alliance and afterwards the Community of Halkida (Evia). From this alliance the town gained great profits (mainly financial). So, it became the capital of the Euboan colonies in Halkidiki and was able to support a huge army (about 20.000 soldiers). During the Peloponnesian War it flourished even more, had its own monetary unit and provided all the Euboan refugees in Greece protection. When the Macedonian State faded, the army of Olynthos conquered its territories and reached until the ancient town Pella (389 BC). In 382 BC, after a three-year long siege, the Spartans captured the town and broke the Euboan Community. Nevertheless, the town quickly recovered and became wealthy and powerful again. In 348 BC the Macedonian Army under the command of Philip II captured and destroyed it. Those inhabitants, who weren’t slaughtered, were sold for slaves. The town was never again inhabited and its destruction is remembered as one of the most shattering of the entire antique world.