"Nea Anchialos - Magnesia - Greece" Prefecture of Magnisia by vassilis69

Prefecture of Magnisia Travel Guide: 376 reviews and 1,038 photos

Introduction

Nea Anchialos is a town of Magnesia prefecture. It is situated south of Volos and north of Almyros. It is placed on the national highway Athens-Lamia-Volos. On the east there is Pagassitikos bay and west-northwest it is surrounded by picturesque little hills. The hole area is 48 square meters and its population is over 6000 people.

Thanks to its picturesque, charming nature, clean seaside, the coexistence of peacefulness and cosmopolitan life and mainly the clean environment and the hospitality of the local people, have made the town one of the biggest tourist summer resorts of the area.

Nea Anchialos has dense vegetation, full of pine trees, vineyards, olive trees, almond trees...

Two little hills, Kokkinovrahos and Mavrorahi, rise west-northwest, which attribute to our town its exquisite view of the clear water of Pagassitikos bay and reveal the excellent laying out. At Kokkinovrahos there is the Prophet Elias small chapel, though few meters above lies a small cave with stalagmites and stalactites, the entrance of which is almost closed at the moment.

The beautiful coasts of Nea Anchialos extend to 20 Klm. There is a great variety of beaches with the unique reddish sand, appropriate for sand-baths for people suffering from rheumatism. There is also golden sand as well as cliffs and pebbles. Small bays and ports, which are formed in certain areas offer indisputably clear water, ideal for swimming, fishing and sea sports.

Nea Anchialos is one of the most important towns in Magnesia due to its natural beauty and the remarkable archaeological findings.

Built on the ruins of the ancient city Pyrassos, of Achaia Phthiotida. Homer provides us with information about the city, who mentions it in his list of ships (Iliad B695) together with Fylaki and Itona, which belonged to the kingdom of Protessilaos. According to Stravon (IX435), who discusses its topography, Pyrassos was 20 stadiums from the contemporary city

Phthiotides Thieves. In Pyrassos there was the famous temple of Demeter. There is a possibility that it has also been an important religious center of the area.

The only excavation which took place in the hill on the southeast of Nea Anchialos proves that the city has been peopled since the earliest Neolithic period (6th millennium) by fishermen-agriculture?s, who developed a remarkable civilization. Pyrassos can only provide us with hypothetical information; an arm from an oversized female statue, which came into light in 1965, was attributed to the statue of Demeter, the goddess adored by the inhabitants of the city. Other relics of unspecified nature lie also in the Basilica D?, which has been excavated in the area where there must be built the public buildings of the Hellenistic Pyrassos, in the center of Nea Anchialos.

Maybe the most identical finding is a small piece of an ancient epigraph, discovered in the debris of the big Basilica D? with the name ?Pyrassos?, clear proof that this is the spot where used to be the great city of Protessilaos and Demeter. Pyrassos ends in 217 BC when it was destroyed by Philip the 5th.

In this debris developed later a new city, Phthiotides Thieves. According to the epigraphs, it took its name c.2nd century a.C. and it reached its cultural, spiritual and artistic peak during the Paleochristianic period until the end of 7th century. This fact justifies the term ?Christianikae Thive?.

Long lasting excavations have brought into light a good number of buildings of the ancient city. There has been an effort to determine the course of its wall which protected the city. The area surrounded by the wall is about 600x480m. Until now there have been discovered ten important monuments of the ancient city:

1) Pyrassos citadel, 2) Elpidius Basilica, 3) Group of public buildings, 4) the Episcopal building, 5) the Basilica of St.Dimitris, 6) burnt bath, 7) Gymnasium and baths, 8) paved street with shops, 9) a mansion and 10) the Basilica of high priest St.Peter.

The Most Important Archaeological Findings

Basilica A' - St. Dimitris.

It is situated southeast of the today?s main market on the national highway. The excavation started in 1924 and has been terminated in 1928. Basilica A? is a three-nave one with vestibule, yard and additional buildings. Characteristic though is the forming of the yard and the buildings surrounding the Basilica, as well as of the baptistery and the vestry. The floors were covered with flat stones out of marble and mosaics. Additional excavations (in 1972 and1973) have brought into light the yard and the buildings south, east and north of the basilica. The name of the basilica has been beard out of a floor mosaic epigraph of the baptistery were it is written "Saint Dimitris".

Basilica B' - Bishop Elpidius

Situated next to the national highway to Volos at the foot of Acropolis.
It is a three-nave basilica with vestibule, yard and additional buildings. It has been brought into light from 1928-1929. Additional excavations have been taking place in 1960 and 1972. The sanctuary has been kept in very good condition. The first construction of the building is aged the 5th century a.C. but it seems to have reconstruction later on.
The name of the basilica has been given by a epigraph referring the name Bishop Elpidius (first half of the 6th century)

Basilica C' - High Priest Peter

Situated beside the today's market, next the national highway to Almyros.
It concerns the most important monument which has been discovered up to now in Nea Anchialos. The basilica C' is located close to the southern part of the city walls. The periodical excavations began from 1929 up to 1954 from G.Sotiriou. Another excavation took place in 1969 which has been continued by P.Lazarides.
There you find three sequentive basilicas. The first one is dated in the half or the second half of the 4th century a.C. The second one is dated in the half or the second half of the 5th century a.C. and the third one the period of Ioustinianos A' (532 a.C.). The three sequentive basilicas together with the additional buildings take 7000 sm. and they have been build on ruins of the Mycenaic and after Roman period. The reach decorations, the marble columns and decorative parts, as well as the big variety of the mosaics and the frescos are very interesting characteristics of the period. Special attention should be given at the floors of the 3rd basilica for the high quality and the theme variety of the mosaics.
The name given at the basilica C' "High Priest Peter" is due to an epigraph found at the southern part of the 3rd basilica.

Basilica D' - Cemeterian

Situated at the western part of Nea Anchialos, outside of the ancient walls. Basilica D' or Cemeterian is a three-nave one with vestibule, yard and additional buildings. Very identical are the square rooms which are formed at the two long sides of the building, as well as the arch roofed graves. The theme of the floor mosaics are very interesting as they present geometrical forms, animals, birds etc. (5th-6th century a.C.). Basilica D' has been firstly excavated in 1934-1936. Additional excavation took place in 1972, when important findings brought into light.

Basilica of Torment

Situated southern of Nea Anchialos, outside of the ancient walls. The excavations took place in 1971, 1978 and 1979.
It is a three-nave basilica with vestibule, built on the ruins of an ancient buildings (probably dated the 4th century a.C.). The archaeological pickax brought into light the base of the Holly table of the sanctuary and the «synthronon». The eight sided columns of the presbytery are very characteristic. The floors of the northern part of the building as well as the vestibule are covered with mosaics, rich in texture and theme. The basilica took its name «Torment» from an epigraph found at the beast of the presbytery, dated the 431 a.C.

Modern History

Origin

The inhabitants of Nea Anchialos are originated from Anchialos of Eastern Romylia, now a days Bulgaria's province.

Anchialos of Eastern Romylia

Built by the city near it Appolonia (Sozopoli) 540 BC, which was one of the colonies of the Ionic city Militos
It has been constructed on one of the Black Sea?s peninsula, at a place where Pyrgos is situated. It was an independent city with its own laws and currency. Apollo was the god adored by the inhabitants and the Militos buffalo was decorating their coins.

During the period of the Roman Empire, it has been named ?Oulpia or Oulpian Anchialos?, referring to emperor Trainon family name.

At the Byzantine empire?s period, its name change again to ?Ahelo? corruption of which is ?Anchialos?. The name Anchialos is composed of ?Anchi = next,close? and ?alos = sea?. Indeed, Anchialos was a city of the sea, and it has been characterized as the ?Nymph of the Black Sea?. By that time it was a big development, specially in the commerce; it has been a big commercial port, since it was exporting to Venice and Genoa. Anchialos was the center of defense of the northern borders of the Byzantine Empire, since it was one of the most powerful cities near Konstantinoupolis (Instabul).
The city preserved its Greek character for 2,5 thousand years, which brought about prosperity, declining catastrophes, submission. For the last 200 years there is a great vivid tradition which speaks for itself. By the annexation of the East Romylia to Bulgaria (1885), Anchialos became a Bulgaria prefecture. But even then the people of Anchialos continued to consider themselves pure Greeks.

Anchialos population was about 6000 people. Apart from the Greeks, who were the biggest part, there were also a few Bulgarians as well as Turks and gypsies. Except for the local people Anchialos was also inhabited by Greeks from other parts, such as Mesembria, Sozopolis, Pyrgos, Crete, Moria, Minor Asia, islands... This fact can be easily justified by examining the people’s surnames, which used to show their origin or their profession: i.e. Tzoumerkiotis (from Tzoumerka), Mesimbrinos (from Mesembria), Agathopolitis (from Agathopolis), Paramanas (because a relative was working as “paramana” = governess).

However, the excellent laying out of the city with its friendly population was totally burnt on the 30th of July 1906. The great city of Efxinos Pontos was gone for ever but not the culture and the local civilization which continued in two other cities: Anchialos of Macedonia and Nea Anchialos of Thessaly.
When our ancestors arrived here, they have been given 54,000,000 square meters by the Greek government, bought from a local farmer, but only the 34,000,000 finally were useful as the other part was swamp.
Due to swap and the mosquitoes, they have to deal with tremendous problems such as malaria and haematuria. The number of dead people was so big that they had to fill two cemeteries of 10 acts each. Some of the people left and some of them went back to Bulgaria.
During the second world war, Nea Anchialos has been destroyed completely by Italians (27 April 1943, three days after Easter).
A few years later (2 March 1948), during the civil war, the town has been destroyed once more from the rebels.
Couple of years later, phylloxera destroyed all the vineyard of the area (approximately 4,000,000 sm.). They have been thinking to buy the American type but it was tremendously expensive.
In 1954, the earthquake demolished the biggest part of the city. But in spite of the hardship and sufferings they managed to survive.
Undoubtedly life in Greece, difficult as it was, changed lots of things, which influenced even the character of the people. However, there still remain a lot of elements in the mentality and they communicated them to the local people of Thessaly.

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