Alyki

Alyki

Alyki

Alyki is a breath-taking peninsula leading out steeply into the sea and forming two beautiful coves on the south-east coast of the island. The settlement of Alyki has a history which can be traced back, uninterrupted, to the 7th century B.C.

Alyki translates literally as “the salt pans” (throughout the salt marshes), but this strikingly beautiful small fishing hamlet is world renowned for its antiquities and for the beautifully preserved and well presented demonstrations of how quarrying and shipping the local Thassian marble was undertaken during ancient times.

The ancient quarry is located on the most southeastern point of the Cape itself. Nearby there are two temples which are located inside the holy rocks Northeast of the cove, carved into the rocks themselves - where the faithful placed their votive offerings. Between these two points, the quarry and the temples, there is a natural stretch of high ground which was used in the 12th century before Christ as a transportation and commercial centre. It enabled the transport of marble and marble products by sea, and it functioned throughout the Greek, Roman and Byzantine empires, right up until the seventh century A.D. when the raids and the invasions from the North began.

As an interesting side note, Christianity in Thassos began when Paul the Apostle travelled from Troada in Asia Minor to Kavala - which was a part of the Roman Empire until the fourth century A.D. – which became an integral part of the Byzantine empire when it was established in 323 A.D. Megalos Konstantinos came to the throne of the Eastern Empire.

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On the eastern side of the cove there are shrines dating back to the fifth and the six centuries before Christ, dedicated to the gods of Dioskourous and Apollo, gods who protected the boats and the sailors on their travels. The ruins of one of the shrines right next to the sea can still be seen, whilst the first Christians on Thassos built two basilicas on top of the second temple, using material from the original pre-Christian shrines, which was the usual practice. (It is quite normal to find Christian shrines or temples built at the same locations where there had been ancient shrines or holy places.)

At the very end of the Cape, the ancient quarries which were used throughout the entire period of the Roman Empire are still evident. This is where the marble was cut, processed and loaded onto the boats from the 7th century B.C., right up until the 7th century A.D. Thus today one can still see huge chunks of cut marble which either fell or were abandoned into the sea all around this area. Still a source of marvel how they cut, transported and carved them! The bay of Alyki is renowned throughout the world as a location from which the genuine, high-quality crystalline white Thassian marble and its products were exported world wide. The whole area is beautifully presented and described by the French Archaeological school who have worked hard and long to uncover its secrets and present them to us today.

Today the crystal clear waters and the serenity of the natural environment are the reasons for which ever more visitors come to appreciate these beautiful small coves, with their striking natural beauty which could not be readily found elsewhere in the world. These bays are considered by many to be the most picturesque bays in the whole of the island of Thassos.

There are numerous excellent fish restaurants and tavernas along the perimeter of the beach, most using the original fishermen’s shacks, fully restored and modernised, while there are also both private and state-owned and managed bungalows available for holiday lets.

There is a good path which leads down to the beach on both sides of the peninsula and in and around the ruins which are beautifully restored and presented. There is also a good path across the top of the promontory itself, leading past all the locations of historical or local importance, and giving exquisite views out across the ocean. It is the perfect place for the visitor who wishes to swim in crystal clear waters, and eat an excellent lunch from locally caught fresh fish, and to stroll around the antiquities and just absorb some of the history and glory of this very unique location.


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