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Aliki

The settlement of Aliki lies on a beautiful peninsula with a few houses, where the inhabitants of Theologos stayed during the olive gathering. Aliki is one of the most picturesque areas of Thassos.

It is a significant archaeological area in which there are a lot of ancient and middle age monuments. This area used to be a very important ancient settlement, right behind the houses that today lay aside Aliki’s seashore. This settlement experienced days of great wealth, fact which arises from today’s monuments such as the sanctuary, the worshiping caves (thank you Mr Hans) and the marble pits.

If we continue up to the cove of the east bay, we will view the ancient sanctuary, which was built in the middle of the 7th century BC (the time when the Parians arrived to Thassos). Worship was being held there, until the first Christian years. The sanctuary covers an area of 30 x 15 meters and is divided into 2 buildings: the south, which lays beside the hill is well preserved; its ground plan is almost square (12 x 13 meters aprox) and had in front of it Dorian pillars. Inside the building we can find 2 unequal rooms, where in the largest has been found a low hearth for sacrifice, surrounded by marble stones. This building, built around 500 BC, is regarded the most ancient Dorian structure on the island.

The north building is less preserved and its general disposition is similar to the previous as it is also almost square (15 x 16.5 meters) and it also had a hearth. In this building we can find Dorian and Ionic structural elements.

Underneath these structures, seems to have existed other more ancient buildings. During the works operated by the archaeologist T. Bent in 1886, a young man’s statue (“Couros”) had been found which now stands in Istanbul Museum. Lots of signs were also found, dated up to Roman era, mostly coming from sailors who were ready to sail with their ships (the name of the ships were on the signs: Sarapis, Hercules, Poseidon, Artemis, Asclepios). It is said that the sanctuary was dedicated to Dioscouri, patrons of the seamen

Close to the two buildings, a dedicatory sign was found, on which is written that a cage is dedicated to God Apollo. Until today, two caves (thank you Mr Hans) have been found and explored, where in the depth of one of them were found vessels and statuettes of the Ancient and Roman era.

During the Byzantine era, the ancient sanctuary was abandoned; the worship turned to Christian and transferred to a hill just behind the mines. In the late Roman years, two Basilicas were built in the area where laid a Necropolis. The Basilicas are three-aisled; the aisles were separated by Ionian columns and were decorated with representations of birds, peacocks and other animals. They were possibly built in the middle of the 5th century and were abandoned in the beginning of the 7th century, the same time when the pits and workmen settlement were also abandoned.

Beyond the Basilicas, if we follow the path on the hill, we can see both to the left and right the marble pits. This marble lied on the surface and it was exploited between the 6th and the 7th century. The pits flourished during the Roman era. In Italy, as recorded by Plinious, the marbles of Thassos were highly respected. The largest part of the peninsula of Aliki has been excavated. However, parts of marble have been left there, although they were ready to be transferred.

A long time ago, Aliki was a beautiful and isolated area of Theologos territory, where there were only fishing and olive oil producer hutches. Some people provided from the area salt. There are still foundered salt mines in the edge of the peninsula. Today, Aliki has been transformed into a very busy touristic area, where you can find a lot of cafes and taverns and tourists from all over the world. The crystal clear, deep blue sea of the bay offers a unique experience for swimming in a sea surrounded by pine trees, olive trees and ancient monuments.

Undoubtedly, Aliki is a place which will be unforgettable for those who will visit it.

 

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