Tradition & Culture


Tradition & Culture

In 1430, following a glorious ancient and Byzantine history, the region was conquered again, this time by the Ottomans, incorporating Halkidiki into the administrative district of Thessaloniki. Halkidiki was divided into three areas in order to fulfil certain tax-collecting demands. 1) Kassandra, the first peninsula, 2) Hasikohoria which extended to the bay of Toroni and the Thermaic Gulf and 3) 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 unsuccessful revolution against the Ottoman Empire, 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.

  • Museums
  • Traditional Villages
  • Byzantine Towers



Archaeological Museum (Polygyros)

The Museum has a fascinating collection of archaeological findings from all over Halkidiki. Exhibits include clay figurines and coins from Olynthos, vases from Toroni, parts of the roof of the temple of Zeus Ammon from Kallithea, reliquary chests, fisherman’s equipment, lamps, jewels and amphorae from Akanthos, now the town of Ierissos, and funerary steles. The museum also hosts the statue of a woman from the 1st century BC, found in a sanctuary of a deified hero in Stratoni village.


Museum of Fishing Vessels and Equipment (Nea Moudania)

The Museum is largely the result of forty years of untiring efforts by Stavros Kovrakis, a passionate collector of the treasures hidden in the seas of Greece. It also enjoys the support of the Moudania Yacht Club. The Museum has an educational and research role, making efforts to promote the local identity and keep alive the links with its history. The items on display include ancient anchors, fishing nets, fishing rods and hooks, compasses, beacons and lamps and many other intriguing exhibits. There are 3D recreations of a variety of fishing techniques, demonstrating how the different kinds of vessel and net are used, with replicas of fishing boats and a rich archive of documents and illustrations. One of the most fascinating items is the bouyiandes, a traditional fishing vessel formerly seen in the Sea of Marmara, introduced to Greece by the refugees from Asia Minor. The Museum also offers a thrilling insight into the strange and magical world beneath the sea, with its vast range of plant and animal life.


Folklore Museum (Arnea)

The Museum is housed in the building known as the Yiatradiko, one of the oldest buildings listed in Halkidiki (1750-1755). It is a two-storey structure, built in Macedonian style with a tower and projecting balcony. The ground floor has an exhibition of agricultural artifacts, photographs from the period 1880-1950, various items used in the daily lives of the local people, as well as installations used in beekeeping, building, baking, etc. The mezzanine floor houses a collection of carpenter’s tools and items from the traditional coffee house. On the upper floor the visitor can inspect a loom and various pieces of equipment used in weaving, as well as an old fireman’s pump, local costumes, weights, a brazier, washing boards, etc. There is also a special room which recreates a traditional Arnea domestic interior.


Traditional villages

The vernacular architecture of Halkidiki is a local version of the familiar Macedonian style. The region offers a wide range of interesting buildings, from simple one-room dwellings to fine mansions. There is also the distinctive mix of buildings with narrow, broad facades, the area’s main characteristic.



The mademohoria take their name from the Turkish word for mine, and they are the mining villages which enjoyed great prosperity during the years of the Ottoman Empire, exploiting the lead and silver deposits of the region. The men of those villages had extracted silver for the sultan from the deposits in Mt Stratonikos. Many of them were fine workers in metal, as well as miners. These villages enjoyed special privileges and a certain amount of autonomy; although there was a local Turkish governor, he gave the villagers great leeway to run their own affairs. The villages set up a sort of federation, administered by twelve vekilides or representatives of the mademohoria. The individual mining villages were as follows: Galatista, Vavdos, Kazantzi Mahalas (now Stagira), Stanos, Varvara, Liarigovi (now Arnea), Novoselo (now Neochori), Isvoros (now Stratoniki), Horouda, Revenikia (now Megali Panagia) and Ierissos.



These are the villages of Geroplatanos and Paleochora (between Agios Prodromos and Arnea), with the nearby small settlements of Sana and Riza. Due to their position on the mountainside, the villages face the sun rise to their left, unlike most of the neighbouring villages – hence the name, from the Greek word zervos (left).


Fishing villages

The picturesque seaside villages of Halkidiki were initially home to families of fishermen. Each village had its little harbour where the fishermen moored their vessels after returning from the sea. In 1922, when the great wave of refugees from Asia Minor arrived in the region, these little villages were transformed. The state granted the refugees land near the sea, not being farmed at the time, and the new inhabitants demonstrated their mettle in building up new and robust communities. Many of the villages have names beginning with Neos or Nea (new), followed by the name of the town or village they left behind in Asia Minor (e.g. Nea Moudania, Nea Triglia, etc.).


Byzantine Towers



Stavronikita (in Sani Resort): It is 8 m. high and must have been built at the acropolis of ancient Sani. In 1543, the tower used to protect the “metochi” of Stavronikita Mt Athos monastery.


St Paul in Fokea and St Paul’s crypt: Its height is 17 m. and it was built after 1407 with ancient stone bricks probably coming from Potidea. Its purpose was the protection of farmers working in the “metochi” of St Paul’s Monastery.


Mariana in Olynthos (and St Nicholas church): It was built by the monks of Dochiariou Monastery in 1375 and has been partly maintained until today to a height of about 15 m.


Tower of Galatista (including two watermills): It is a Byzantine structure in the centre of the village, probably built in the 14th century.


Prosforion in Ouranoupolis: The biggest preserved tower in Halkidiki; it was built for the Vatopedi Monastery before 1344 to protect the monastery's “metochi” (metochi = the dependent priory of the monastery).





  • Tower Prosforios

    Tower Prosforios

    The tower of Prosforio is the landmark of Ouranoupolis located next to its harbor. It's the largest and best-preserved tower in Halkidiki built in the 14th century for the protection of the Monastery Vatopediou in Mount Athos. Among the most remarkable features of this tower is the diversity of its construction as it has been through at least three main Continue Reading...

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  • The Krouna Tower

    The Krouna Tower

    The Krouna Tower is located approximately 1km of Ierissos and it’s one of the most important sights in the area. It’s preserved almost in full height (12m). It was a dependency, surrounded by a wall, which has almost collapsed. It is estimated that it was built in the 15th century and it is named after the many crows which has Continue Reading...

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  • The Tower of Galatista

    The Tower of Galatista

    Almost at the center of the little village of Galatista stand this imposing tower which once was surrounded by a dense fir forest. The tower follows the Venetian style of fortifications but it is rather not a Venetian one but it is classified as late-Byzantine. The tower is estimated that was built at the beginning of the 15th century. In Continue Reading...

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  • The tower of Mariana

    The tower of Mariana

    The tower of Olynthos, also known as the Tower of Mariana, is located just two kilometres north of the town of Olynthos, to the left of the country road to Polygyros. It is one of the most characteristic examples of the Byzantine tower in the region; its builders used not only stone but also tiles, bricks and architectural fragments from Continue Reading...

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  • Byzantine Tower in Nea Fokea (or St. Paul)

    Byzantine Tower in Nea Fokea (or St. Pau

    In the village of Nea Fokea stands what is perhaps the best preserved of all the towers in Halkidiki.  The Tower in Nea Fokea, also known as St. Paul’s Tower holds a dominant position on the hill at the right side of N. Fokea’s port. It’s 17m high and it’s an old Byzantine fortress that is likely to have been Continue Reading...

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  • Stavronikita Tower (Sani)

    Stavronikita Tower (Sani)

    The Tower of Stavronikitas, also known as Tower of Sani dates from 1543 and was built to protect the “metochi” (dependency) of the Stavronikita Monastery. The tower is in an excellent state of repair; it is 8 metres high, but the archaeologists believe that an upper floor is missing, and the original tower was much taller. It is assumed that Continue Reading...

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  • Mount Athos

    Mount Athos

    Mount Athos is the mountain and the easternmost peninsula of Halkidiki. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. The actual Mount Athos has steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2.033 meters near the southernmost tip of the peninsula. The mountain Continue Reading...

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  • Geological shapes | Petralona Cave

    Geological shapes | Petralona Cave

    Take a journey into time and walk in the same space as early humans. The world-famous Petralona cave, in which the skull of an ancient hominid, one of the most important paleontological discoveries of all time, and many prehistoric animal bones, have been found. It was discovered accidentally in 1959 by villagers and they named it "Red stones" (Kokkines Petres) Continue Reading...

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