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Home 17 July 2024
Culture Archaeology Archaeological Sights Settlements Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Prefecture of Xanthi Municipality of Avdera

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Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
Municipality of Avdera
Municipality of Aigiros
Municipality of Alexandroupolis
Municipality of Arrianes
Municipality of Vissa
Municipality of Didimotihos
Municipality of Drama
Municipality of Eleftheres
Municipality of Thasos
Municipality of Iasmos
Municipality of Komotini
Municipality of Maronia
Municipality of Xanthi
Municipality of Samothraki
Municipality of Sapes
Municipality of Sitagres
Municipality of Sosto
Municipality of Topiros
Municipality of Traianoupolis
Municipality of Pheres
Municipality of Philippoi
Municipality of Philira
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Aikaterinh Balla
Source: C.E.T.I.
© Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
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Abdera was one of the most powerful city-states in Thrace. In the mid- 7th century BC, Ionian colonists from Clazomenae, a city in Asia Minor, founded it at the location of Bouloustra cape, between the Nestos river mouth and Porto Lagos. About a hundred years later, in 545 BC, a new numerous group of colonists from Teos, another city in Asia Minor, joined the existing population. Greek mythology attributes the foundation of the city to Hercules who built it to honour his companion Abderus, after the latter was devoured by the man-eating horses of Diomides, king of the Thracian tribe of Bistonians.

In 1950, D. Lazaridis began archaeological excavations at the site of Abdera that continued until 1966. Sections of the city walls were revealed along with parts and buildings of the southern enceinte (the more recent parts of the city). The 19th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities conducted additional excavation works at the same site and at the ancient cemeteries. Since 1981, systematic excavations are carried out at the site of the archaic city of the northern enceinte and its cemeteries. In 1985, a preservation programme began and is still under progress. All the previously excavated buildings underwent restoration and the site is accessible to visitors.

Ruins from a large section of the western wall are still preserved today. To the east, ruins of spacious houses of the 4th century BC and the Hellenistic and Roman times survive. In the north of the city lies the theatre, built in the 5th century BC, with only the foundation of its seats surviving until today. The city fortification (4th century) encloses the area of the cape ending in the SW to the acropolis hill.

The most important monuments and architectural ensembles of the site are:
• The area of the Western Gate: the 4th century wall flanked by the gate and the towers is still visible. The wall masonry is of large, rock-cut tufa cornerstones. Houses are found within the walls.
• House of the Roman times: a paved peristyle court with well and ambulatory rooms can be seen.
• Coroplastic art workshop: it is a complex consisting of four houses also served for handicraft activities.
• A house complex on the hill of Aghios Panteleimon built in the late Roman times, after the Hippodamian system of the city had been abandoned.
• Archaic area: walls from two successive building phases, ship sheds, sanctuary and houses were uncovered at the NW corner of the northern enceinte.
• House with dolphins of the Classical times. A mosaic floor richly decorated with dolphins, flowers and rosettes was found.
• There is a Roman bath near the wall. Excavations uncovered an ellipsoid room with a marble-slab paved floor and walls of marble revetment. A staircase next to the room leads to a subterranean corridor that formed the bath’s hypocaust system.
• The breakwater of the western harbour is made with large granite blocks. Its corner terminated at a circular tower. A small part of the wall from the ancient acropolis is visible. Any remnants that may exist lie under the ruins of the Byzantine Polystylon.

Finally, an impressive number of inscriptions, statuettes, religious artifacts, reliefs and coins were uncovered in the city and its cemeteries, providing information on the private and public life as well as the religious customs of ancient Abdera.