ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES

  Ancient Stageira

Ancient Stageira

Our establishment is located 45.2 kilometers from the ancient city of Stageira, the birthplace of philosopher and multidisciplinary scientist, Aristotle. The ancient city of Stageira is situated in the peninsula of Liotopi, next to Olympiada, and is the most important archaeological site of Halkidiki. The city was founded in 665 BC by Ionian colonists, and was a remarkable commercial hub, mainly due to its port. In Ancient Stageira there are remnants of buildings from the Middle Ages (northern hill) and the Hellenistic Era, with the majority dating back to the Hellenistic years, since after the end of the Persian Wars, Philip the Second, father of Alexander the Great, completely destroyed the city during the Olynthian War in 349 BC, and rebuilt it to honor his son’s teacher, Aristotle, whom he highly respected. Walking through the archaeological site of Ancient Stageira and then on the coastal trail, combined with coffee or lunch in the beach of Olympiada* is a delightful experience. *Olympiada is a small village, built by refugees from Agia Kyriaki of Asia Minor in 1923.

  Aristotelis alley

Aristotelis alley

Aristotle's alley is located next to Stagira, at a height of about 500 m, near the remains of Mahala, the capital of Manemohoria and it is the only theme park in Halkidiki. Since 1956, the magnificent statue of the philosopher created by sculptor Nicholas was the focal point of the alley. In 2003 the site was also equipped with interactive instruments which operate on the basis of the natural laws mentioned in the writings of Aristotle and especially in his work "The Physics". These experimental instruments consist of a solar watch, a lens, a compass, a pentagram, a pendulum, a hydro-turbine, two telescopes as well as systems with inertial spheres, parabolic mirrors and optical discs. Aristotle's alley is a great place where anyone can combine education with entertainment and enjoy the wonderful view of Ierissos bay.

  Monastery of Zygos

Monastery of Zygos

The Monastery of Zygos is located in Mount Athos, was founded in the mid-10th century and was destroyed just before 1198. It is a five-sided castle with eleven towers, whose center is dominated by the monastery’s katholikon, which is a cruciform church with two funerary chapels, dedicated to Prophet Elijah. The Monastery of Zygos is in Fragkokastro, about 40 meters away from the borderline of the monastic state of Mount Athos, and 2 kilometers from Ouranoupolis. According to a document of the time the monastery was founded, this is one of the oldest monastic foundations of the Athonite Peninsula, and even older than Megisti Lavra, which was the first monastery of Mount Athos (963). Athanasios the Athonite, who was the founder of the Monastery of Megisti Lavra, began his ascetic life in the Monastery of Zygos near his pastoral counselor. In 992, the Monastery of Zygos was already an important monastic center, playing a pivotal role in the operation of the Athonite State, while during the 11th century, it was reported that it was high up in the hierarchy of all monasteries. Today, it houses amazing mosaics, few exceptional frescoes, and rare marble structures that have been preserved and restored.

  Ancient Akanthos

Ancient Akanthos

The ancient city of Akanthos is situated in Mountain Stratoniko, approximately 600 meters southeast from the settlement of Ierissos, in the gulf of Strymonikos, near the canal of Xerxes. Based on reports from Strabo, Thucydides and Plutarch, Ancient Akanthos was a colony established by Ionians from Andros, and according to Eusebius and other archaeological sources, its possible year of foundation was 655 BC. The city grew substantially during the archaic years, as evidenced by the large circulation of its coins that started approximately in 530 BC, and its economy mainly relied on its mineral wealth and agro-livestock products. Herodotus reports that the city was subjugated to the Persians in 490 BC, and after the end of the Persian wars, Akanthos fell under the hegemony of Athens. A century later, the city fought the Olynthian Confederacy and was occupied by the Macedonians in 348 BC, until its destruction by the Romans in 200 BC. Today, preserved is an impressive part of the Acropolis, sections of which are up to 8 meters high, some building remains from the Hellenistic years, a Byzantine church, probably of the 10th century, two post-Byzantine churches, and a cemetery used from the Archaic period to the Roman years, and after that -perhaps with some intervals- until the 17th century BC, with more than 600 box-like, roof tiled tombs, with sculpted or painted decoration.

  Πύργος Προσφορίου

Tower of Prosforios

The Byzantine Tower of Prosforios, the landmark of Ouranoupolis, took its name from the old name of Prosforion, which was a metochion of the Monastery of Vatopedi of Mount Athos. It is 22 meters high, and dates back to the 11th century. The Tower went through at least three main construction-historical phases. The Byzantine phase was the first one (11th - 12th century) and includes the lower stone-built section without the two floors. This form was maintained until the earthquake of 1585, when it suffered great damage. During the Ottoman rule, the Tower was reinforced by three more floors, two of which are still preserved. Then, it was burnt down, and was already deserted in 1858, when its reconstruction -and third construction phase- began and completed in 4 years. This phase included the inner paneling of the building, the outer retaining wall, and the roof, which is still preserved to this day. In 1928, the Tower was inhabited by the Lochs, authors and journalists of Australian and British origin, who played a key role in the life of the settlement, as they offered significant humanitarian assistance to the locals after the earthquake of 1932.

MUSEUMS

  Cultural Center of Ierissos

Cultural Center of Ierissos

The Cultural Center of Ierissos was established in 2004, as a center for the promotion of the Athonite Monastic State of Athos, with the use of modern technology funded by the European Investment Bank. The Center has the first ever in Greece amphitheater of stereoscopic digital video projection, with a 50 square meter concave screen and 4 projection systems for 3D movies (which can be watched with special glasses). The Center also has an exhibition hall that houses periodical painting, photography and sculpture exhibitions, a conference hall, with a capacity for 200 people, for seminars, lectures and meetings, as well as a Municipal Conservatory, for learning classical and traditional musical instruments.

  History and Folk Art Museum of Arnaia

History and Folk Art Museum of Arnaia

The History and Folk Art Museum is housed in the mansion of a Doctor, a simple, austere two-story building in the shape of Π, with the characteristic recessed balcony and the wooden trusses, which is one of the most well-preserved and impressive structures in Halkidiki. The Museum is located close to the main square of Arnaia, in the town’s historical center. It is probably dated back to the second half of the 18th century or beginning of the 19th. After being abandoned, the building was passed on to the Katsaggelos family that restored it and transferred it to the Municipality. It has been a museum since 1999. It is a peculiar building, with a variety of exterior and interior building elements, and an exquisite example of the local traditional architecture, which was described as a “work of art” by (GG 866/issue b/2.11.82) ministerial decision. The exhibits were given to the museum by locals, and are presented in twelve thematic modules with conceptual coherence. The collection includes precious and rare objects, family heirlooms, objects of everyday life, such as livestock, agricultural and beekeeping tools, bread-making equipment and utensils, woodworking and building tools, wood-processing tools, shoe-making tools, coffee production related items, as well as many other objects of the local historical and folk tradition. Moreover, great emphasis has been placed on the photographic material from the life in the village, as well as on a room that was decorated exactly as a traditional living space, because all these do not just reflect the past, but also provide evidence of the local history and tradition, offering visitors a unique experience.

  Arnaia Museum of Weaving

Arnaia Museum of Weaving

Arnaia was known throughout Greece as the hub of the art of weaving. Therefore, the creation of a space to showcase the works of women weavers was necessary. Arnaia’s Museum of Weaving is housed in a traditional two-story building, dated back to 1870 and is known as the House of Giannoudena. After being restored and appropriately compartmentalized, the building was deemed suitable for housing the Museum of Weaving. Today, the museum houses objects and tools of weaving, such as the loom, distaff, etc., as well as numerous rare calligraphic handmade weaved carpets, primarily intended for wall decoration. The abundance of themes, colors and techniques is impressive.

NATURE

  Καταρράκτες της Βαρβάρας

The Waterfalls of Varvara

The Waterfalls of Varvara are located in Kalyvia near Olympiada. Approximately 6 kilometers after the 5 characteristic springs of Krasoneri, guests will find a small slice of heaven; a magical landscape with two waterfalls, alders, lindens, and beeches, creating a unique sense of peace and serenity.

  Αμμουλιανή

Ammouliani

Ammouliani is a small charming islet across from Mount Athos, with an approximate area of 4.5 square kilometers. The islet stands out for its turquoise blue waters, lovely fish taverns and incredible sandy beaches. Alykes, Agios Georgios and Megali Ammouda are world famous beaches that captivate the eyes and soul of each visitor. Up to 1925, Ammouliani was a metochion of the Monastery of Vatopedi, and then it was inhabited by refugees from Asia Minor. Today, it is administratively governed by the Municipality of Aristotle, and has approximately 500 permanent residents, engaged in fishing and tourism. The church of Agios Nikolaos, which was built in 1865, dominates the center of the island, while Arsanas, the island’s bay, is the port’s main attraction.

  Δρένια

Drenia

Drenia or Gaidouronisia is a uniquely beautiful complex of six islets across from Ammouliani. The small islets are ideal for fishing, swimming and diving, since the waters are crystal clear, the sandy beaches are shallow, and there is a great variety of underwater life.

TOURS

In order to enrich your vacations with new experiences, we, at Athos Villas, offer the possibility of organizing excursions and tours in surrounding worth-seeing areas. For more information, please visit our reception.

Excursion in a Farm

Farm Platanorema is the ideal destination for nature lovers. Visitors can tour the farm and see the animals, learn about organic farming and the benefits of herbs, walk in the gardens, go horseback riding, climbing, and target shooting, as well as try the adventure track and the flying-fox. They can also enjoy their coffee or meal in the farm’s traditional tavern, which is surrounded by lush vegetation, listening to the birds ticking.

Winery Guided Tour

For wine lovers, our hotel recommends yet another interesting tour to a winery. Visitors will have the opportunity to immerse into the magical world of wine, learn about each production stage, as well as about the entire wine-making process from an industry expert. The tour ends in the winery’s underground cellar, where visitors will taste three special types of wine, and learn more about them.

Excursion in the center of Thessaloniki & the Mediterranean Cosmos

For those who are interested in visiting the center of Thessaloniki and admire the city’s historical landmarks, such as the White Tower, the Galerius Arch, the Rotunda, the ancient Roman Agora, the temples of Agios Dimitrios and Agia Sophia, take a tour of the Archaeological Museum and the museum of Byzantine culture or even go shopping, we can also organize such a day excursion.

Mount Athos

Mount Athos is one of the most important centers of Christian Orthodox monasticism in the world. Already since the first Byzantine years, Mount Athos attracted many people who wanted to become monks and from the middle of the11th century its autonomous status and ban of women was established. The boundaries of this autonomous state are defined by an imaginary line that starts from the west coast and the location of Fragkokastro and reaches all the way to Cape Arapis at the opposite side. In total, the state is approximately 50 kilometers long, 8-12 kilometers wide, and its area is approximately 350 square kilometers. Territorially, the state is divided into twenty areas with an equal number of Byzantine monasteries (of 1. Megisti Lavra, 2. Vatopedi, 3. Iviron, 4. Helandariou, 5. Dionysiou, 6. Koutloumousiou, 7. Pantokratoros, 8. Xiropotamou, 9. Zografou, 10. Dochiariou, 11. Karakalou, 12. Filotheou, 13. Simonos Petras, 14. Agiou Pavlou, 15. Stavronikita, 16. Xenofontos, 17. Grigoriou, 18. Esfigmenou, 19. Agiou Panteleimonos, 20. Konstamonitou) that house exceptional paintings from the Byzantine and post-Byzantine years, mosaics, frescoes, portable icons of unparalleled beauty, as well as many other priceless religious relics.