History of Thassos

Thassos; the island whose history emerges from the depths of prehistoric years. Most probably it took its present name from the Phoenician Thassos. According to mythology, he came here in search of his sister Europa, who had been abducted by Zeus. Herodotus mentions that the colonization of the island by Phoenicians took place around 1600-1500 B.C. mainly in the areas of Ainyra and Koinyra; places which he visited in the year 470 B.C. In 700 B.C. Telesikles, the father of ancient poet Archilochos, colonized Thassos after receiving a prophecy from the Oracle at Delphi. Thassos developed rapidly in all sectors and became a commercial and naval state with colonies on the opposite coasts of Macedonia and Thrace, Galipsos, Oisymi and Skapti Yli, thus forming the famous “ Thassion Epeiros ” (Mainland Thassos).

At the same time they developed a great civilization sending to Athens the painter Polygnotos, Stisimvrotos, who was an expert in the art of inscription, the parody writer Egemoya, while at the same time Theagenis distinguishes himself as a Pan-Hellenic winner at the Olympics and other athletic events carrying off 1.400 crowns.

The visitor of the island today can admire the archeological sites of the capital. The military harbor, the sanctuary of Poseidon, the ancient theater, the walls, the Acropolis. Moreover the Temple of Pythion Apollo, the sanctuary of Pan, the Selinos Gates, the gates of Dionysios and Hercules as well as the Triumphal Arch of Caracallas. A visit to the Ancient Agora shows the glory of the city. Here we will find the Propylaea, the Great Altar, the Monument of Glancus, the Temple of Zeus Agoraios and the circular Altar of Theagenis.

In the South-East part of the island, we will find Alykes with a history since the 7th century B.C.. This is proved by the sanctuary of Dioscuri, the Early Christian Basilicas and the ancient marble quarries.
At a length of 100 km around the island we can admire the unique beaches with deep blue water and the pine-tree forests that reach the sea-wave.
We pass through the sea-site villages which welcome thousands of tourists to luxurious hotels and apartments in summer.

During summer period, in the capital of the island, visitors can attend the theatrical performances at the Ancient Agora and Art Exhibitions at the Historic building called “Kalogeriko”.
Musical events take place all over the island through a net of ancient monuments, such as the sanctuary of Dioscouri in Alykes, “Palataki” in Limenaria and “Tarsanas” (shipyard) of Potamia. Folklore events take place in Theologos, like the traditional Thassian wedding, in Potamia the event of “Anavrohiaris”, in Limenaria the “Rain April” event and in Panagia the religious festival on the 15th of August. In this village we can also enjoy the revival of Dionysiac Events during the Carnival Festival.

Polygyotos Vagis Museum is in Potamia with works of the famous sculptor and the museum of folklore exhibits is in Theologos at the old mansion of “Hatsigiorgis” who was a chieftain that incited Thassians against Turkish occupation in 1821. Similar museums can be found in Limenaria and Kallirahi.

From the monuments of later history we can distinguish the church of St. Demetrios (1803) with the woodcarved icon screen Panagouda (1633) with the amazing wallpaintings, the old church in Theologos and the majestic Archangelos Monastery where the first construction goes back to the 12th century. It would be unfair not to mention the old church in Panagia with the unique icon of Virgin Mary and the church of the “Holy Apostles” in the traditional village of Kazaviti. The Palataki of Limenaria and the whole mining complex is associated with the presence of the mining company Speidel and the construction of the new village of Limenaria by the residents of Castro.

All the above, combined with the mountainous, traditional settlements of Theologos, Castro, Maries, Kallirahi, Kazaviti, Sotira, Rahoni, Panagia and Potamia, compose a spectacular scenery and function as a pole of attraction for the visitor of this magnificent Aegean Island.