Sanctuary of Ammon Zeus - Kallithea. 

Sanctuary of Ammon Zeus - Kallithea.

One of the most important ancient Greek temples discovered in Halkidiki is that of Zeus Ammon in Kallithea beach. Discovered in 1969, during excavation for a hotel construction. The archaeological excavation lasted until 1974. The sanctuary was built in the second half of the 8th century BC from residents of Afitos, who were settlers from Euboea. It was the sanctuary of Dionysus worshiped along with nymphs in a cave in the rock formation, southwest of the temple area. Believers reached the cave through carved scale and the cult lasted until the 2nd AD century.

Later, at the end of the 5th century BC the sanctuary of Egyptian god Ammon Zeus was founded. Initially, an altar was built, but about 100 years later, next to the altar was constructed a peripteros Doric temple with stone entablature (superstructure).

In the Roman period (1st - 2nd c. BC), the temple was reconstructed and with materials taken from it, two stands in the southern narrow side were constructed, and upon the older altar a new smaller one. In this outdoor space, believers should be watching seated some events.

The Roman phase, should be continued until the time of Constantine the Great's successors, when it was permanently destroyed. Remains of early Christian bath were unearthed at the northern end of the site, possibly associated with continuing to worship in the early Christian centuries, and even later in the Middle Byzantine period. After the complex was abandoned, the monks of the Russian Panteleimon monastery, which became a dependency of the region, they used many parts of the ancient construction to build their facilities.


Early Christian Basilica of Solinas - Kallithea.

Early Christian Basilica of Solinas - Kallithea.

A few kilometers south of Kallithea, at a location called Solinas lies the early Christian church, dating to the 5th century AD, a period of flourishing Christian art in Halkidiki, but seemingly depending of the artistic workshops of Thessaloniki.

It is characteristic that the central theme of the mosaics, a couple of deer in a paradise landscape, is seen both in the Basilica of Solinas and the Basilica of Sophronios, at the opposite peninsula of Sithonia, in Nikiti.

Archaeological excavations have brought to light a cruciform baptistery, which is attached to the narthex and tombs with pottery. The nave is occupied by an earlier 13th-century building, which seems to have been a tower.


Sanctuary of Poseidon - Possidi.

Sanctuary of Poseidon - Possidi.

The temple, which is the most ancient temple of Poseidon, located in Possidi, in the area which in antiquity was called ancient Mende. The church operated for more than 1000 years, and there are references to it even by Thucydides and Athos documents of the 14th century.

Probably built by settlers from Eretria, who colonized the Mende and had Neptune (Poseidon) as their protector. The excavations have brought to light four major buildings: the main church, two buildings on either side of the temple and a vaulted building in the eastern part of it. The latter, which is the oldest, dating from the Geometric period (11th-10th c.). The floor is terracotta and the walls are made of large pebbles.

The other buildings dating from the 7th-6th BC c., while the nave from the 5th BC c. All buildings had cult character and everywhere there are altars for sacrifices and places for sacred ceremonies. In 1864 a lighthouse was built on the edge of the cape and remains until today.


Ancient Mendi.

Ancient Mendi.

Established in 1000 or 1100 BC in the middle of the Kassandra peninsula, from the side of the Thermaikos gulf. Ancient Mendi took its name from the mint plant (minthi in ancient Greek, mentha in Latin, hence the mint) that flourished in abundance in the area. About Mendi name, the medieval lexicon Suidas refers to the Egyptians, that used this name for the goat-footed god Pan, in fact there was sanctuary “of Mendes by Aigyptiis”.

Thucydides also mentions that the Mendisio Horn was the delta of the Nile River. Here flourished the timber trade and the famous wine known as Mendaios wine. Ancient shipwreck of the fifth century BC. Has been found in 1992 on the coast of Alonissos a depth of 30 m. It carried about 3000 amphorae of Mendaio wine from Mende. Archaeological excavations have brought to light finds from continuous habitation of the area from the 9th to the 4th century B.C. Large deposits of gold and silver that were in the area confirmed the great circulation of ancient coins found, and led the ancient Mendi flourishing.

From the Hellenic Greek history we learn that, Mendi actively participated in the Delian League, the Peloponnesian War and later during the Macedonian years, was absorbed by Kassandria, after its establishment in 315 BC. Sculptor Peonios, creator of the famous Nike, was from Mendi. The site covers an area of 1200 by 600 meters, on the hill above the sea, ending near the Mendi hotel.


Ancient Skioni.

Ancient Skioni.

Ancient Skioni was built after the Trojan war and is referred to as the first colony in Halkidiki, established by southern Greeks. Warriors from Pellini of Peloponnese after the fall of Troy returned home with their ships, loaded with slaves and booty. Sailing around Halkidiki lounged on the SW coast of Kassandra, to procure food and water or to overwinter.

Then, the enslaved women from Troy, took the opportunity when Pelleneans men were ashore, to burn the ships and thus, forced the combatants to remain forever in Kassandra, marry them and find the settlement, named Skioni.

A coin of ancient Skioni (estimated at about 500B.C.) depicted Protessilaos, a Homeric hero, who is referred to as the founder of the city. The port of Skioni was very important and contributed to the city flourishing. In the 5th century, Skioni joined the Athenian Alliance, but during the Peloponnesian war, changed side and joined the Spartans. Skioni paid dearly for this apostasy, since the Athenians conquered it, massacred or took slaves residents and settled in this people from Plataea, who had been forced to leave their homeland.


Ancient Sani.

Ancient Sani.

The construction of a modern hotel complex, right beneath the Byzantine tower and the marina construction in Stavronikita bay, were the reasons for carrying out excavations in the years 1971-1974. The latest, uncovered part of the ancient city and the sanctuary. Part of the settlement, which probably extends on the hill, with the Byzantine tower revealed in the space, is now occupied by the hotel “SANI” installations. A total of 8 buildings was unearthed, which certainly set the position of antiquity installations, but after being buried underneath contemporary constructions, no more information can be derived from them.

Archaeological research revealed an undisturbed layer of the Archaic period (7th-6th c. BC), without architectural remains, with only small circular or oblong on earth grids, length and diameter of 0.50-1.50 m., constructed casually with plain stones or layers of roof tiles. The intense burning, the number of bones, which eventually seem to belong to animals and not humans, as firstly estimated, the numerous and excellent quality shells and figurines, and numerous lamps - scattered throughout the space around of the grates - advocate the existence of an open worship of an earthly God. It should be considered a certainty, that during the nights, sacrifices and other rituals took place, under the light of the lamps, which gave the whole scene a sacramental character. The picture is completed by a stone built structure. It is a small reservoir (0.60 x 0.60 m.), and 1,00m deep. Founded on unstable subsoil with a muddy bottom, it was approached by three steps. It has been interpreted as a reservoir for the purifying bath of the cult wooden statue.

The sanctuary ownership problem, which arose with the first revelation of the grille and the collection of the finds, found its solution after careful consideration and review of all excavation data. Having in mind the position of the sanctuary, in a limited marshy area, Dionysus, the nymphs, Artemis and Aphrodite came to claim the ownership. Being Gods of vegetation and fertility of nature, worshiped in places wet with plenty of water, without having necessarily need for a temple (in the case of the sanctuary in Sani, scanty archaeological evidence suggests the existence of a building, but this is not fully documented).

The male deity worship in the bay was excluded almost from the beginning, and also the possibility of two deities sharing the same space - Artemis and Aphrodite – is diminished by the findings. The figurines depict women only forms, mainly the type of upright daughters and enthroned forms of Ionic or Corinthian workshops. Many, in an upright position, clearly attribute of Artemis, as depicted with bow, deer or other symbols, such as fruits, flowers or a small bird. A variety of such figurines and the complete absence of findings that characterize worship of Aphrodite or other chthonic deity, give the sister of Apollo - Artemis - the scepter of the sacred property.

Three clay capes of the temple of Apollo, are exhibited in the area of the colony. These three Nikes with painted decoration, two upright and one on “the road gounasin” position, are dating to the late Archaic period.


Ancient Potidea.

Nea Potidea kassandra halkidiki


Ancient Potidea was founded in 600 BC on the northern edge of the Kassandra peninsula, from Corinthians at the same site, where a city already existed under the name "Pallini". As is clear from the name of the town, its patron was Poseidon. During the campaign of Xerxes against Greece in 480 BC, the city was defeated after a siege. But a year later regrouped and resisted the siege Artabazus. That same year, Potidea was the only city of Macedonia which, along with other Greek cities, participated in the Battle of Plataea and its name was written on the Bronze tripod dedicated by the victors to the Gods.

In 349/8 BC, the city follows the fate of other cities of Halkidiki and is incorporated in the Macedonian Kingdom. After dropping about 40 years, in 316 BC Kassandros builds, on the position of Potidea, a new city which gives its name: Kassandria. In the time that followed till the occupation of Macedonia by the Romans (168 BC), Kassandria evolved into one of the strongest cities of Macedonia. During this period, takes place the opening of the canal, which facilitated navigation and boosted trade and economic development.

In 168 BC, Potidea was subjugated by the Romans and met new prosperity. The decline of the city is associated with the invasions of the Huns, who, in 540 AD, invaded Macedonia. Thus, despite the efforts of Justinian in the 4th century AD, sources speak of complete desolation. Its castle, important for the security of the whole peninsula, was repaired by Ioannis VII Palaiologos in 1407, and later the Venetians. In 1430 the city was surrendered to the Turks.

With the revolution of 1821, the old fortifications were repaired and reused, while at the same time starts the new opening of the channel. In 1821, the rebels of Halkidiki, fortified in the walls of Potidea, in their struggle against the Turks, until their heroic fall and the consequent "destruction of Cassandra", known as the "holocaust", the anniversary of which is celebrated with great solemnity every year on November 14th.

Contact us

Polichrono Halkidiki

63077 Greece

+30 6978099854