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Nea Roda

Nea Roda is a village located 115 km southeast of Thessaloniki, on the narrowest point of the Athos peninsula in the municipality of Stagira-Akanthos, Chalkidiki Prefecture, Greece.

Ancient history

In 480 BC, Xerxes, King of Persia, opened a canal for his fleet to pass. He did this in order to avoid passing from the edge of Athos peninsula, where Mardonius saw his fleet being destroyed ten years earlier due to extreme weather conditions. This is the place where the first attempt of the Persians to conquer the Greek cities-states had failed. The canal needed several years to be built and hundreds of residents of the area (mainly Acanthians, since Acanthus, modern Ierissos, is situated only 5 km away, but also residents of Sani and Ouranoupolis) were used by Xerxes as slaves for the completion of the canal. It is commonly regarded as the site of the world's first offshore wind farm.

Archaelogical findings

The sanctuary’s lifetime begins at the late archaic era till the Hellenistic one and its history is connected with the two ancient cities of the region, Sani, colony of Andros, and Ouranoupolis, town founded in 315 b.c by Alexarchos, brother of Kassandros, King of Macedon. By the end of the 6th century, Alexarchos and the habitants of Sani founded the sanctuary outside the towns walls and built it on representation. By the end of the 4th century BC Alexarchos founded Ouranoupolis and integrated the sanctuary to the new town. In his constructional programme he includes monuments, the Hellenic temple, the reconstruction of the archaic house, etc. The sanctuary was deserted the 3rd century BC. The archaeological research began in 1990 when during the autopsy a post-archaic fleuron crown tile and a vessel were found. In 1990, during trial cuts parts of the archaic house were traced and of the Hellenic temple. In 1992-1993 the house was excavated while the same year the excavation of the temple began and continued until 1994. In 1995 the excavation was characterized systematic and in 1996 began the excavation of the Hellenic buildings to the south of the temple. The most important buildings entail an archaic house which is made up of niche and antetemple on representation. It overhangs on a podium of granite (1m height) and it has limestone walls of which their external face is decorated with cellated theme. The most interesting finding of the building was the Corinthian clay tiles of the roof and the capes. Hellenic temple. It is consisted of an antetemple with a cover and niche with three entrances, a build desk along the east wall, a bank for bloodless offers and in the center a pile of stone with traces of fire. In the antetemple a marble head of the Sun and a marble head of a girl were found.

Modern history

Nea Roda is the biggest refugee village in northern Halkidiki. It was founded immediately after the Asia Minor destruction (1922) in a place called "Provlakas" (προ του αύλακος = before the canal) by roughly 40 refugee families which, after a year of roaming, reached Halkidiki in the summer of 1923 and came to this area. They came from Roda in the area of Propontis near the Marmara Sea (in today’s Turkey). In 1901, about 700 Greek people lived in the village. In the village at that time there were also about 100 Turks living there. The whole area had a great economic growth. The residents of Roda produced silk from silkworm cocoons, granite in blocks, fish, fruit, olives, grapes, onions and a lot of other products,which they promoted with boats to Istanbul. They had three churches (biggest being the church of Saint Demetrius) and an upgraded level of school. Up to 1912 they lived happily. Then things started to change when “new Turks” arrived. In all the Greek Asia Minor villages, the fear of slaughter and exile prevailed, especially after the failure of the Greek military campaign in Minor Asia due to Ataturks decisive movements in 1922 (destruction of Smyrna-Izmir etc). The people of Roda fled in two different ways : Two boats left for Mytilini, while most pass over to the island of Aloni and afterwards over to the island of Marmaras. After 20 days the ship called Propontis picked them up and took them over to an area in Thessaloniki called Karabournaki, in order to end up in an area called Saint Barbara in Ano Toumba. There they scattered in small teams. In 1923, the team in Mytilini is the one that reached this region first, rejecting the place of current Ouranoupolis considering it small and narrow so it resided for a few months off-handedly in Ierissos. There they proposed for their new village to be established after the harbour of Ierissos, but the locals were opposed to this in fear of future union. So they finally selected the place "Provlakas" and gave it the obvious name "Nea Roda", hence the word Nea, which means new in Greek. The new village began to attract more refugees. A significant number of them reached in privately-owned boats from Skoupia, an area on the island of Aloni, opposite and very near Roda. The residents were mainly seamen and tradesmen. Religious as they were, they first took with them the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, who today is the protectress and pride of Nea Roda. Families from Eastern Thrace, but also from Haraki and Gonia of Kizikou also arrived. In the meantime the other people of Roda residing elsewhere were informed of this new found land and most of them, correspond to the call, and also come to Nea Roda.

On June 14, 1924, the exchange of populations began. The last Greeks of Asia Minor were eradicated and entered Greece seeking a new homeland. A big team from Kappadokia in 1926 arrived in Nea Roda, and the village takes its final form. Antaval ("Antavali's" or "Antivalon") from the region of Nigdis in Kappadokia, was the homeland of this team. The newcomers, although they spoke Turkish and only a few Greek words, were Christian Orthodox and felt themselves having a strong Greek national identity. The church of Saint Constantine was built in 500 AD and its ruins are preserved up to today. The name of the village emanates very probably from the verb "antivallo" (= I oppose), because of the permanent litigation with the Turks. A place rocky, poor and barren, with marginal production, often led the men for periodical work to Istanbul. Specifically in 1913-1923 they suffered from Turkish pillages and lived in fear for their lives. When the command of abandonment was given, with head leader their priest Agathaggelos, they left on their horsewagons for Nigdi-Oulougousla and down to Mersina. After 1-2 months traveling north, they reached Piraeus and later Thessaloniki. From there, a big part passed from Pyrgadikia, Ouranoupolis and Orfani but due to malaria and misfortunes they finally reached this region. For roughly 5 years they resided in the surrounding area, and then, with the little help of the Greek government, they installed themselves and gave the village its current form. Difficult years followed for all the residents. The nostalgia for the homelands was expressed continuously with the wish "ante gia mas ke kali patrida!" meaning 'to our health and a good return back to the homeland'. However, there was also the will for a new start. They opened up to the sea, they cultivated the ground and slowly progressed considerably.

Gallery

Today

Today, Nea Roda is a modern village with 1,148 residents (2001 census) and is the third biggest town of the municipality of Stágira-Ákanthos]] after Ierissos (3,048 inh.) and Stratónio (1,174 inh.). Fishery, tourism and agriculture are the people’s main occupations. Walking in the village can be really fascinating because at each corner you will discover archaeological findings, houses with beautiful yards decorated with arbours and bougainvilleas, vegetation till the sea and picturesque fishing boats. The golden sand of the sinuous beaches will accompany you all day and will welcome you with colors of mystery at each sunrise and sunset. Those who love sea activities will find a sea sports rental while there is everyday transportation for those of you who wish to go on a sea tour around the Agion Oros (=Holy Mountain, Mount Athos). It should be emphasised that Nea Roda is situated only 10 km far from the borders to the autonomous monastic state of Agion Oros. In the traditional tavernas, you will find fresh fish and for your entertainment there are plenty of clubs, cafes and well known beach and pool bars. For your stay, you can choose from a variety of rooms to let and fully equipped hotel apartments with view to the sea and friendly service.

Sources

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