The history of Asprovalta
Asprovalta is a seaside town in the municipality Volvi in the northeastern part of the prefecture of Thessaloniki. It is one of the most notable summer resorts in Macedonia and according to the census of 2011 has 2,838 inhabitants. Asprovalta lies east of Thessaloniki on the west coast of Strymonikos bay.
The settlement Aspri Valta, was built in the early 16th century, on the southern outskirts of Kerdyllia, in a distance from the sea. According to a document of this era, the monastery Simonopetra , the area in which the settlement was built was covered by dense forest and was used for herds from the monastery Koutloumousiou.
But the wooded area had become too dangerous because of the dense vegetation which offered an ideal shelter to robbers and murderers. For this reason, the monastery cleared the area of forests and built the village.
At some point the Ottoman installed Turkish Nomads so the settlement takes its name Yeni Mahal. After the departure of the Turkish, the village was abandoned, and few Greeks settled on the beach, at the place of the today’s settlement. In September 1923 in the area were settled about 54 families from the village Renkoi of Troy, near the Dardanelles, who established the current Asprovalta . Asprovalta became community in 1929 with headquarters until 1946, in Vrasna. Today is one of the settlements and the seat of Volvi Municipality.
The first tourists discovered the beautiful area in the 1960s and the following decade began the construction of cottages, which currently reach about 12,000! Extensive beaches, green slopes, archaeological and church treasures and modern infrastructure now combine the image of Asprovalta.
Sightseeing and places
Having as a starting point Asprovalta and Vrasna you can very easily schedule short trips in the surrounding area to visit the Monastery of St. George in the wooded slopes of Kerdyllia built in the second half of the 16th century. The panoramic view of Strymonikos from Mount Athos to Thassos is unique.
Following the route to Kavala we find ahead the ancient Amphipolis, with the Macedonian tombs, the Museum and the Acropolis. Amphipolis was founded by the Athenians in 437 B.C,but it was never a genuine Athenian colony, because the heterogeneous population, which was composed of settlers and Ionians, eventually dominated the local Ionic component that determined the political and cultural figure of the city. During the Peloponnesian War it was the center of many businesses and it consisted an intriguing element between the Athenians and Peloponnesians, Macedonians and residents of Halkida. It remained free until 357 B.C where it was finally occupied by the Macedonians, with Philip II, settling in it the powerful Macedonian element. Here was also banished the wife of Alexander the Great and her son.
Kasta Tomb or simply Kasta hill is called the circular hill in the area of ancient Amphipolis in eastern Macedonia and the banks of the Strimona River, approximately 900 meters southeast of the village Mesolakkia in Serres. It is also known as the tomb of Amphipolis, a name derived from the Macedonian tomb of the Early Hellenistic period, which was discovered inside the hill. In mid-1950 and by 1970 the excavations on the surface of the tomb by the archaeologist Dimitris Lazaridis,have revealed a set of frugal tombs dating from the Iron Age.
The area began being excavated around again in 2012 by archaeologist Katerina Peristeri and was exposed to the public in August 2014, at the point of the revelations of the first findings on the south side of the tomb where lies the tomb of the excavations that are ongoing. They discovered three chambers and a total of four sites taking into account the entry and steps toward the interior of the tomb. The marble enclosure of the circular tomb has a perimeter of 497 meters and the area corresponds to about 20 acres, which makes it in its entirety as a funerary monument the largest ever discovered in Greece, and one of the most important archaeological discoveries of 2014 internationally. In fourth place was found a tomb with bones belonging to 5 people and remnants of a horse skeleton but the skeletons are incomplete.
In September 2015,in accordance with the presentation of the excavation team it outcomes that Kasta Tomb on the investigation conducted from 2012 to 2014, was built by Alexander the Great for Hephaestion, having Dinokratous as the constructor.
Further on we reach the ancient city of Philippi with the magnificent ancient theater. The Philippi area, was inhabited since the Neolithic era, and the installation of people continued after the Neolithic era. The city’s reputation spread worldwide in 42 BC thanks to the momentous battle of Philippi outside the walls having as a result a landmark for the history of Philippi, after Roman colonists settled and convert it into a completely Roman city
Within walking distance is also the Cave of Alistrati, which is considered one of the finest and largest in Greece and possibly in Europe, where nature shows the great power in creating adornments and shapes.A covering area of more than 25,000 sq.m. and a length of 3,000 m. The fauna is enclosed within small and thick sediments that are scattered throughout the cave surface.It goes back 2 million years.
Near the cave lies the Gorge of the Aggitis River, one 15km long paradise with beautiful wild flora and fauna, the cave paintings of which date back to the 5th and 6th century D.C where represent camels, deer, horsemen who hold the reins of horses and spears, and abstract designs and here it should be noted that the rushing waters of the river are offered for special canoeing races. The Steep walls of the narrow valley are in one version artificial construction of Phillip II Macedonian in an attempt to drain the swamps of Philippi and Drama.
If you like trips to forested mountains, green slopes and picturesque landscapes can easily and quickly visit the Monastery Eikosofoinisis at the backside of Paggeo Mountain. Situated in a prime location at an altitude of 753 meters. In the sacristy of the Monastery were many important relics and especially remarkable was the library, which before the destruction of the Bulgarians in 1917 numbered 1,300 volumes, of which 400 were handwritten papers. It should be mentioned that most relics were transported to Bulgaria, where they remain in the National History Museum in Sofia.
A bit souther, you can see the ancient Stageira, birthplace of Aristotle land, located around 500 m. from the current settlement of Olympiada, on a small, mountainous and beautiful peninsula. The city was founded around 655 BC by Ionian colonists.In 349 BC the city was besieged and then bowed to the king of Macedonia Philip II, who destroyed it completely in order to refound it a few years later as a tribute to Aristotle.
Furthermore, within walking distance is the park of Aristotle (Aristelous Grove), where for many years exists a statue of Aristotle, which is equipped with interactive instruments. These instruments apply natural phenomena for which there are references in the book of the great Teacher Aristotle ,”Physics”.
In a great location, and even further south we meet the peninsula of Athos with its magnificent monasteries. The colonization of Athos is ancient and lost in the haze of Protohistory. As first settlers are referred Pelasgians from Lemnos. The peninsula , before being established as a monastery region, was a place that was dedicated to Zeus. The achievement which worths to be mentioned is that in 481 D.C,was completed the construction of the canal of Athos by Xerxes which had lasted for three years. The first settler, who inaugurates the new call of Athos was St Peter the Athonite in the 8th century. In 883 was issued the first imperial edict, by Basileios A’ the Macedonian, who favored the steady development of Mount Athos into a monastery region.
The Central Council of Modern Monuments unanimously designated the thermal baths of Eleutheron which are located in a region of incomparable natural beauty in the west of Kavala as a historic site.
The facilities of the baths which operate up to now, include 31 buildings. One of these buildings goes back to1830. The other buildings are dated into three periods: the first phase of construction of the spa, from 1908 to 1910, the period from 1910 to 1950 and the phase after 1950.
The thermal baths of Nea Apollonia, as reported by Strabonas,were swored by the Macedonian King Philip A, at the 5th century B.C and flourished during the Byzantine period.
Proof is on the south bank of Volvi, a large spa bath building whose architectural features date back to the 16th century. It is speculated that this is a building of the great Vizier Sokolli Muhammad Pasha, who founded the inn, the mosque and the bath in the neighboring bazaar (today Apollonia), between the years 1566-1574. Today, the Baths of Nea Apollonia function as a SA with main shareholder the municipality of Volvi. The guests who choose the Baths for treatment and rejuvenation are estimated at 150.000 annually.
Nea Apollonia is today a modern spa, with excellent infrastructure and health, beauty and wellness.