Ancient sites of Southern Pelion
Ancient sites of Southern Pelion
Historical and archaeological research in South Pelion is limited and has been activated mainly on the occasion of salvage excavations and antiquities looting incidents. Available data describe an area with scattered rural settlements, without major cities or sanctuaries and with local defense equipment. In fact, the role of the region in the wider context is referring mostly to its strategic position and less to its cultural or economic product - an image that is still reflected in todays situation.
The main strategic role of South Pelion is related to its position in the entrance of Pagasitikos Gulf. Thus, any intensity of residential and naval activity was limited in the area of Trikeri village, Mylos, Kottes and the Trikeri Island, the ancient Kikynithos. Respectively, main defense and control points are limited to two small forts in Mylos and Diakopi.
On the east coast, between Lyri and Katigiorgis, near a beach named today Theotokos - from an old chapel of the Virgin - a part of a mosaic floor has been discovered. The mosaic allegedly belonged to the sanctuary of Artemis Tisaia, which in turn was one of the temples of the ancient city of Sepiada.
Other signs of inhabitation, referring to settlements of the prehistory, the classic antiquity or the Byzantine period, have been found in a place near Chorto, in a place between Argalasti and Xinovrisi, as well as near Lefokastro and on the beach of Platanias. Fortifications have been found in Agios Taxiarchis of Paltsi and in Evreokastro of Agios Dimitrios, while it seems that the sanctuary of Koropeos Apollo has been found in Boufa (which of course was renamed to Koropi).
Wall in Diakopi
Between the costal location Diakopi and up to the ridge of Mt Tisseo, there is a long dry-stone wall. The wall is very close to the col between Trikeri and Mt Tisseo, a place that is both the lowest point of the mountain range and the narrowest point between the Aegean Sea and the Pagasitikos Gulf. The main part of the wall extends perpendicular to the axis of the peninsula and completely closes the passable zone.
The wall is width and height enough and is reinforced with rectangular towers every 150 meters (a total of 7 towers can be seen). At the end of its highest part, which follows Mt Tisseo crestline, the remains of a larger tower and/or an auxiliary building can be seen.
It is obvious that the fortification aimed at controlling the low passage to the Trikeri peninsula, covering both the coastal road and the mountain trail of Mt Tisseo.
The locals believe that the construction of the wall took place during the late Turkish occupation period. Although the geometry of the fort and the method of construction cannot be dated, it is obvious that the planning and workload neede refer more likely to an ancient construction.
The quadrilateral that is enclosed between Mavri Petra and Marathias in the west and the beaches of Vromopigado and Chondri Ammos in the Aegean coast, covers a large and quite level area with interesting agricultural resources. The hilly part of the area is covered by olive groves, while the Xerokambos polje is better suitable for arable crops.
In this area, which has access to the two great seas of Magnesia peninsula, the Pagasitikos Gulf and the Aegean Sea, it is presumed that was inhabited by the ancient settlement Olizon. The citadel of Olizon could be located on one of the low hills of the zone. The shallow bay to the west would be - just like today - an exquisite port. An also well protected harbor can be found in the Chondri Ammos bay.
The only evidence that confirms the inhabitation of this area are small findings from the end of antiquity and so at present no safe conclusion can be drawn about the size and structure of Olizon.
Sepiada: Artemis temple
At the mouth of a small stream, in the center of the beautiful beach of Theotokos, near Lyri, an ancient building was found. The building was partially excavated and it is considered to be a part of Artemis Tissea sanctuary, a temple of the ancient settlement of Sepiada.
The sanctuary was later covered by an early Christian basilica, were apparently building material of the temple were used. Today a mosaic can be seen localy, being part of the paved floor of the temple.
The city of Sepiada is known to have been isolated from the rest of Magnesia; contact with other cities was possible only by sea.
Southern Pelion topoguide
Photos and descriptions for thw most important monuments of Southern Pelion are included in the hiking guide Southern Pelion topoguide.
Southern Pelion topoguide is available for Android devices as an in-app purchase via the topoguide Greece in Play Store.
Southern Pelion topoguide is also available for iOS (iPhone και iPad) devices as an in-app purchase via Topoguide Greece app, found in App Store.
Southern Pelion topoguide is a member of Central Greece region.