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The major port town of Limenas, or Thassos Town, is the island's capital. It is connected via ferry boat to the town of Keramoti and also to the city of Kavala by hydrofoil. It has more to offer its visitors than most can fit in a single day. The environment surrounding the town is breath-taking, rolling hills and mountains covered in pine forests and olive groves. It is on the North side of the island facing the mainland and you can see the city of Kavala from here glittering in the distance on sunny days. This is where the heart of Thassian society thrived during the ancient times, and there is plenty here to show for it.
The largest archaeological site is found at the rear of the old port in Limenas. In the middle of the ancient agora there was a court flanked by colonnades that were decorated with statues, altars and votive offerings. The ancient conservatory was a place where music performances were held. Hercules, Poseidon and Dionysos' sanctuaries were the three most important holy places in Thassos. The ancient theatre has dominated the piney hillside since the 5th century BC; some sections date from the Roman times. On top of the hill, past the citadel towers of the acropolis, you can marvel at the impressive remains of the foundations of Athena's temple. While going down along the southwest side of the wall, you pass through Silen's Gate, Hercules' Gate, and Dionysos’ Gate and further down through Zeus and Hera's Gates.
At the archaeological museum in Thassos Town exquisite sculptures, ceramics, coins and pots dug up from all across the island are displayed. Many of which come from the ancient settlement of Alyki , where the course of history has not been interrupted since the 7th century BC. At Potamia , you can visit Polygnotos Vagis's museum and see the works of a great twentieth century sculptor.
Limenas has many wonderful beaches along its coast, as well as outside of town farther along the coast. One beach, right past the old harbor that borders a line of beach bars, cafés and restaurants, is a shallow and sandy beach that has been awarded a Blue Flag. Thassos Town is also the shopping center of the North side of the island. Enjoy searching for many good bargains as you walk along walkways lined on both sides with dozens of small shops, businesses and snack bars.
Thassos Town, the capital of the Emerald Island, as seen from the marina
The Archaeological Museum
Extensive collections of archaeological artifacts, gleaned from excavations carried out at various times, are kept and displayed in the museum. The archaeological museum here is regarded as being one of the most important in the Greek provinces. Important architectural elements, outstanding examples of pottery, sculpture, statuettes, terra cotta figurines of various periods, coins, relief plaques, amphorae and a wide variety of other vessels and objects permit us to form an idea of the institutions, life, mores and artistic tendencies of the island’s inhabitants during ancient times.
On the Northeast side of present- day Thassos Town near the harbor and next to the museum stand the ruins of the ancient agora; they were brought to light in excavations carried out between 1948 and 1955. The agora consists of a vast level area, rectangular in shape and lined on three sides with stalls which housed shops and storerooms. On the northeast side stood the administrative buildings as well as a row of cult buildings. Building on Thassos’ agora began in the fourth century BC and was completed in stages up to the second century BC. It was the heart of the city, its cultural and commercial center, and the place where locals and foreigners met and transacted business. There are also remains of the Sanctuaries of Theagenes and Zeus in the market place. Another building in this area was the Sanctuary of Artemis, or Artemision. In Roman times, a monumental entrance way was added. To the North is the Sanctuary of Dionysos that dates back to the fourth century BC. Northwest of the sanctuary stands a small ancient theatre. A narrow street leads us to the fourth- century BC Sanctuary of Poseidon; with a circular wall surrounding a U-shaped alter. The present-day entrance to the ancient agora is in the square next to the museum.
Thassos’ present-day "small harbor", or "old port" was the ancient city’s military harbor. Two fortified towers and a marble wall protected it. From the harbor a stone-paved road led to the center of the agora. It was the city’s enclosed harbor; entry to it was forbidden to any ship that weighed less than 100 tonnes.
Located near Evreo-kastro, the open harbor was used for commercial purposes. Also remaining in the sea is a section of the breakwater, on the tip of which there was a defense tower. Both harbors of ancient Thassos were located outside the city walls, perhaps for security reasons.
The Old Port in Thassos Town
Sanctuary Of Athena
On the summit of the second hill stood a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Athena. All that remains today of the ancient sanctuary is a row of foundations.
Sanctuary Of Pan
Hollowed out of the side of the third and highest hill, near the summit, is an artificial cave: the sanctuary of Pan. A relief on the wall depicts the ancient god with goat hooves and his pipes.
The Gate and the Quarter of the Silen
The Gate and the Quarter of the Silen
Starting from the third hill is an ancient wall with various gates; among them are those of Parmenonand Silenus.The Gate of Silen is located outside the town of Thassos, at the junction of the roads to the village of Panagia and the beach of Makryammos . Nearby are some ruins of the neighboring Silen settlement. In the Ionic style, it is Thassos’ most ancient bas- relief. Two meters in height, it depicts Silenus with a thick beard and a horse’s tail, naked except for a pair of high boots. People passing through the city placed offerings in a votive niche in front of his feet. The Silen settlement stood near this gate.
From the old port, a stone- paved road leads to the ancient amphitheatre of Thassos, on the north side of town. The judgement of the ancient artisans and the refined artistic sense of the islanders ensured the fifth- century BC theatre would be built in a natural concavity on the hillside, The position of the amphitheatre offers a fantastic panoramic view of the sea, proof of the noble spirit of the Thassians regarding the arts and culture. The theatre seated 2,000- 3,000 spectators. Lysistratus, the Thassian who led the construction in the third century BC, dedicated the proscenium, or stage, to Dionysos, god of wine, vegetation, and theatre among other things. Beginning in the first century AD, the Romans remodeled the theatre and used it for gladiatorial contests. Only the proscenium remained in place; its carved metopes depict favorite deities. Nowadays, ancient tragedies are produced here every summer, reviving the ancient practice. Various musical groups and performers also give concerts.
From the ancient amphitheatre there is an unpaved road that runs alongside the ruined walls, up to the acropolis, the first of a series of three hills whose summits form a sort of plateau, 137 meters above sea level. It was protected by thick marble walls and it stood on top of the first hill. It was the site of the sanctuary of Pythian Apollo, which also served as the treasury where the city’s riches were stored. Similar as the Hieromnemon, a functionary was responsible for managing and safeguarding the public wealth.
A part of the acropolis in Limenas
This area was located at the Northeast end of the commercial harbor of ancient Thassos. Archaeological finds bear witness to worship of patrimonial gods, such as Zeus, Athena, Artemis, the Nymphs and Core. On a small rock stood the sanctuary of the “patrimonial gods”, which was built in the fifth century BC. Later on, an early Christian basilica was erected on the same site, using materials from the sanctuary. Today a picturesque chapel dedicated to the Saints and Apostles stands here. There are also remains of the ancient buildings. From here, as from the acropolis, one can admire picture- perfect sunsets.