3.000 years-old culture…

Halkidiki features in many Greek myths: it is said that the Giant Enceladus was buried in Kassandra, that Giant Olympus threw a rock forming Athos peninsula and that Sithonia took its name by Sithon, the son of the ancient Greek god Poseidon.

The remains of ancient extinct animal species found at Nikiti, Vrasta and Triglia, witness Halkidiki’s past. The findings at Petralona cave prove man’s presence in the region, 700,000 years ago –the findings include a human skull, dating back 200,000 years.

The first traces of a civilized human community appear in 4,000BC. The first inhabitants were Thracians and Pelasgians. During the 8th century BC new inhabitants arrived from Eretria and Halkida (hence the name Halkidiki). By the 5th century new city states have formed such as Aineia, Gigonos, Lipaxos, Potidea, Sani, Mendi, Skioni, Aiyai, Neapoli, Aphytis, Olynthos, Sermyli, Galipsos, Toroni, Sarti, Pyloros, Dion, Kleonai, Olofyxos, Akanthos, Stagira, Apollonia, Arnea and Anthemous. By the end of the 5th century the 32 most powerful cities founded the "federation of Chalkideans" under the leadership of Olynthos. The federation was later dissolved -in 379BC- by the Spartans.

In 348BC the area was incorporated to the kingdom of Macedons, leading to the formation of three major cities Kassandria and Ouranoupolis in 325BC and Antigoneia in 280BC. In 168BC the Romans conquered the area leading to its decay.

In 1430 the region was conquered again, this time by the Ottomans, incorporating Halkidiki into the administrative district of Thessaloniki. Halkidiki was divided into three areas -to fulfill certain tax-collecting demands. Kassandra, the first peninsula, Hasikohoria –as far as the bay of Toroni and Thermaic Gulf- and Mademohoria, while Mount Athos remained a separate area. The 18th century is a period of prosperity for Halkidiki, an element that explains why the coastal villages became a common target of pirate raids.

In May 1821, under the leadership of Emmanuel Pappas, Halkidiki joined the revolution against the Ottoman empire, unsuccessfully, leading to a second strike of the resistance in 1854 under the leadership of Tsiamis Karatasos.

During the early 20th century the people of Halkidiki joined the fight for the liberation of Macedonia. The long-awaited liberation arrived in October 1912. Ten years later the arrival of thousands of refugees from Asia Minor led to the formation of 27 new villages that contributed enormously to the region’s cultural and economic growth.

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