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Archaeological sites

Axioupoli, Dreveno Position and Toumpa in Paeonia

On the Greek side, two places were the most likely to claim the position of the historical Gortynia. The position Dreveno in Axioupoli, where few sherds of the 4th century BC were found in the gardens of the locals and the archaeological site with the settlement and the remarkable funerary monuments in Touba,Paeonia. Both settlements are exposed by their geographical location, without the natural protection of the narrow entrance on the west side of Axios. 

Their position was certainly an easy target for the intruders and it justifies their allegiance to Sitalkes. It might be that one of the two positions was identified asGortynia. Etymologically, the name of Gortyniais associated with the city of Gortyna in Crete. The first signs of habitation inAxioupoliscome from the main cemetery of the Iron Age and early archaic period, which was found –and a small part of it has been excavated- in the position Byron, on the way to Pigi. The high cultural level of its art, for that period, shows remarkable growth and wealth. 

The modern building activity has covered the area of ​​the settlement and has destroyed its embankments. Unconfirmed reports speak of graves and findings of historical times from contemporary Axioupoli. But the connecting links to complete the path from the prehistory to the classic years are missing.


Europos, Archaeological Site

Europosis locatedSouthwestof NeoGynaikokastro. The ancient city of Europos has been inhabited since the 6th century BC and is located at about 1 km southwest of the present one. Here, significantly funerary monuments of the late Roman period were found, as well as the famous Kouros of Europos, which is unique in the Northern Greece. Today you can see Kouros in the Archaeological Museum of Kilkis.

The nearby Toumpa is believed to have been a center of Macedonian domination of that time, since interesting Macedonian tombs have been foundthere, that attest to the Greek character of the area for 2500 years.

The data for the city of Europos come mainly from the cemetery of the ancient city. The exposure of a section of the necropolis of Europos turned the graves of its citizens in "lalounta" monuments / symbols of development, culture and history of their city. The oldest evidence of habitation of the city comesfrom the prehistoric settlement in the heart of the current Municipality of Europos.

Top of the archaic findings, not just for the site of Europos, but for the entire prefecture is Kouros. It is a colossal sculpture of a young man, a statue of the type Kouros. It is a product of an islander and possibly a Cycladic laboratory, as evidenced by the origin of its marble. Dating back to the late 6th century BC and can be viewed as one of later examples of the range of Kouros, because its hands and feet are almost detached from the body. The young man is depicted with short hair, without the characteristic headdress of the others. It was obviously giving an "Epitaph label", according to the customs of the time, of a prominent European (from the city of Europos) citizen or local settler from South Greece, living in the city. Its finding confirms the early commercial and socio-economic relations between Europos and the rest of the cities. Witnesses of these relationships are the shellfish-pieces or vases – of Korinthian or Attic black-figure and red-figure pottery that the excavation revealed. During the 5th-4th century BC, it seems to have been one of the most developed and fortified cities of Bottiaia. For this reason,Sitaklis endeavored to capture it and thus ensure the military control of the area. The unsuccessful attempt of the Thracian intrudersuggests the existence of a strong wall that enhanced the bastion of the city.

The majority of the graves are “akteristoi” (graves without any goods for the dead inside). There are tombs “kterismenoi” with vases, weapons, tools, figurines, jewelry and coins, pit-shaped and covered with tiles, which show homogeneity withthe burial customs and practices with the rest of Macedonia. The variety of grave goods offersus an impression on the everyday life, occupations and metaphysical beliefs of the people. Findings of the graves reveal coquetry, a timeless female characteristic: pyxides- a kind of clay vases- in which women placed their jewelry, leaden pouches for cosmetic creams "Psimithia", jewelry of every type made from gold or silver.


Horygi, Megalithic Monument

In the middle of a valley, west of Kilkis, rises the "kalampak" or "Castle" or "Lazaritsa" of Chorygi. An imposing megalithic monument of prehistoric times. The hill is crowned circularly by rocks, much like a natural citadel. There are relics of a settlement and on the foothills lies a cemetery of cist graves, probably of the classical times. According to historians, this was the location of the Roman station "Tauriana", which served the hikers that were marching along Axios River. The Hill of Chorygiattracts many climbers.


Kolchida, Archaeological Site

Just a few kilometers south of Kilkis lies the archaeological site of Colchida, that stretches on the east bank of Gallikos River. Its foundation dates back to the 4th

AC century and it was probably preserved during the Ottoman rule, since the Turks called the villages of ColchidaAktse-Klise (Asproklissi, i.e.White church).

In the area there are traces of fortification of uncertain chronology, but also ruins of a Christian basilica of the 5thor early 6thcentury, that was converted to a Catholic monastery during the 9th or 10th century. The complex was destroyed and later rebuilt during the 11thcentury.The church has some of the best examples of Byzantine painting of the late 12thcentury.


Palaio Gynaikokastro, Archaeological Site

Excavations that took place in August 1984 by the XVI Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities Agency of Thessaloniki, on the SE side below the castle revealed interesting archaeological findings. The reason for the excavation was the deep plowing which was the cause for revealing cinerary vases with bronze grave goods, belonging to the residents of the settlement. It was the cemetery of the settlement that had the form of a large mound of stone pile that covered the funerary vases

During excavation of 1984, three sections were made thatrevealed a burial and about 70 pots containing an equal number of cremations.The majority of these were wine amphorae that had smaller vessels as a cover, usually bowls.Their decoration was simple, almost geometric; horizontal grooves on the body or carved triangles in radial arrangement around the neck, but there are many undecorated as well.

The variety of grave goods that accompanied the dead is impressive and perhaps indicative of their sex.One category are the jewelry, such as bronze spiral bracelets, rings with double spiral end, collars of twisted wire and a plethora of gilt bronze items that must have decorated garments. In this category, a unique little gold ring is distinguished.

Another category are the iron weapons, usually swords and knives that obviously belong to men.The bronze double axes found in the excavation are of great interest and reminisce of similar ones found in Minoan Crete.


Palaio Gynaikokastro, Byzantine Castle

Gynaikokastro dominates between the Rivers Gallikosand Axios, just 35 km. away from Thessaloniki. The castle was founded by the Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos. It was a powerful fortress. It is also known by Kantakouzinos’ dynastic struggles and civil wars of 1342.

In this castle, the Governor of Thessaloniki, Theodore Sinodinosthe FirstBuilderresorted in the summer of 1342, along with Kantakouzinos, his soldiers and a thousand noble people when they were endangered by an uprising. During 1350 Andronikos III Palaiologos visits AvretHissarand after 1350 Gynaikokastrowas held by the Emperor of Serbs, Stephen Dushan.

According to the tradition, the Avret-Hissarwas surrendered by Maroulia (wife of the Commander) toEvrenos, after several months of siege and resistance. This is the reason why it was named Gynaikokastro (Avret-Hissar); because it was so powerful that even a woman could defend it.

The fort stands on a hill, 201m high, with an area of ​​25 acres and it is surrounded by stone walls. The total length of the walls reaches 1601m. The gates of the castle are situated on the south side and on the northeast side. The Defense tower is located at an altitude of 201m,has an area of ​​126 sq.m and consists of a basement and ground floor. In the western part of the fortress and inside the walls, there is a well. Pre-Christian graves were also foundwith directionto the south, confirming the existence of settlements in the last three thousand years.


Palatiano, Archaeological Site

An important archaeological site for the prefecture of Kilkis is the one uncovered in Palatiano, a small village north of Kilkis. Remains of a large Macedonian city of the Hellenistic and Roman periods were found in the region. The city might be identified with the ancient Ioron.Excavations at Palatiano began in 1961 and so far have brought to light four impressive statues that are on display in the Archaeological Museum of Kilkis, while copies exist in the area that they were discovered. Ruins of buildings, chapels, and the cemetery of the city were found there. The area of Palatiano can only be visited after consultation with the Archaeological Service.


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