The island of Thassos is not only great for its emerald beaches, great food and fun. The history and life of the island is inseparable to its Folklore and Archaeological Museums, its Archaeological sites, Monasteries and Churches and many other attractions that you must visit.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF THASSOS
The Archaeological Museum of Thassos (tel. 25930 22180) is located in the homonymous capital of the island and it is situated near the ancient market, almost in the centre of Limenas. It is worth visiting the museum, as it is considered by many one of the most remarkable provincial museums because of the findings that are exhibited dating from the Paleolithic to the Roman era. The exterior area of the Museum is part of your tour, as it is configured in such a way that follows the Archaeological Museum.
At the Archaeological Museum of Thassos you can see unique sculpture, ceramics, miniature sculpture and coin collections dating from the 7th century BC until the 7th century AD. In the Museum you can explore the so-called “Hall of Kouros”, where you can admire the krioforos Kouros (statue of a young man) of 3.5 meters that had been created for the sacred temple of Apollo. In the next hall you will be able to watch a short film, which will be informative about the history of plastic art of the island. Finally, you can also watch a film with reference to the antiquities of Thassos.
MUSEUM OF POLYGNOTOS VAGYS
The Museum of Polygnotos Vagis is located in Potamia and is housed in the old primary school of the village.This Museum exhibits works of the internationally acclaimed Thassian sculptor Polygnotos Vagis, after whom, is named. Polygnotos Vagis (1894 – 1965) has been distinguished in the U.S. for his sculpture art and his works are displayed in many Museums in the U.S., the National Gallery, the Museum of Kavala and in private collections.
OLIVES AND OLIVE OIL MUSEUM
Right outside the settlement of Skala Prinos is located this newly established and pretty interesting museum, paying a tribute to the miraculous products of olive trees! An initiative of a local bio-oil business, the museum hosts a space where a representation of oil production takes place, a photography exhibition space, a part where all types of oils are exhibited (around 40 from the 130 different types that are known up today), a projections’ space and finally the olive products exhibition, where you will be able to taste and buy anything you like!
Kalogeriko is a historical building standing out from all the other buildings at the centre of the ancient port of Limenas. Is was built at the end of the 19th century and nowadays it hosts various cultural exhibitions and galleries of Greek and foreign artists. You should absolutely visit it and admire its architecture.
FOLKLORE MUSEUM OF KALLIRACHI
The Folklore Museum of Kallirachi is housed in a restored mansion built in 1880. In the last two years the Folklore Museum is hosting, with great success, an exhibition with nautical photographs and paintings with the support of the Maritime Museum of Kavala. It is worth visiting giving you the chance to approach tradition, customs and traditions of Thassians, while the Museum takes you to a genuine Thassian home with traditional furniture and textiles.
FOLKLORE MUSEUM OF LIMENARIA
The Folklore Museum of Limenaria is easy to find as it is located in the centre of Limenaria. Your visit there will give you the opportunity to see from close objects that were used daily by the Thassians, to see the Thassian uniforms and to travel through time by observing old photographs.
FOLKLORE MUSEUM OF THEOLOGOS
The Folklore Museum of Theologos is housed in the two-storey mansion of Xatzigiorgis, who was a renowned chieftain of the island. It is worth visiting in order to see old Thassian textiles and the looms (devices used to weave cloth) with which they wove the textiles. You may also observe old tools that were used by Thassians in their daily occupations, as well as a flourmill and an oil mill.
In Theologos village is worth visiting the church of Saint Paraskevi to admire the icon of Virgin Mary that according to many is attributed to Luke the Evangelist, a creation of wax and mastic. Also, at the same village is worth visiting the church of Saint Dimitrios, patron saint of the village, in order to see the wonderful handmade wooden temple of the church. This carved temple constitutes the multi-annual soul deposition from the monk Ignatius Filothei to portray scenes from the Old and New Testament.
The settlement of Kastro (Castle) in Limenaria is famous for the church of Saint Athanasios who is also the patron saint of the village. On the day of the celebration of the saint, crowds of people flock to church while giving life to this old settlement. According to many the materials used for the construction of the church, which dates back in the early 19th century, are the ruins of an old castle.
MONASTERY OF SAINT PANTELEIMON
Until recently the visit to the Holy Monastery of Saint Panteleimon was characterized by difficult access, being located on the slope of the so called mountain Psariou (Ipsario) at around 730 meters altitude. However, the easy access from Prinos with the launch of the road network, will allow any pilgrim to visit the monastery with safety.
CHURCH OF HOLY MARY
In the village of Panagia is located the homonymous Panagia church. It is considered by many as the most imposing church of Thassos and of great interest to the pilgrim the fact that while the church is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Theotokos) at the internal of the temple you will be able to admire an icon of Panagia the Pantovlepousas (Virgin Mary who sees everything). Also, it is worth noting that marbles of Thassos as well as marbles from ruins of ancient temples of Thassos have been used for the construction of the church. Another reason for visiting is its handmade temple, as well as the icons, dating from the 14th up to 17th century, bearing particular historical and religious value. Every year on the day of celebrating Panagia church, the temple “celebrates” with procession of the icon and festival of the believers accompanied with food and drink (kloumpani).
ASSUMPTION OF VIRGIN MARY
The church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary (Theotokos) in the village Rachoni is built in a very beautiful location where the natural environment is dominant. You should be there on the day of the Assumption (15th of August) and taste the traditional flavors offered by the locals along with the familiar “kloumpani”.
ASSUMPTION OF VIRGIN MARY (PANAGOUDA)
The Monastery of the Assumption of Virgin Mary is known as Panagouda to the locals and beyond. In order to visit it you should direct to the road that starts from Skala Maries towards the mountainous village of Maries. It is worth visiting the Monastery to see the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary and learn about the history that accompanies it and is closely connected with the construction of the Monastery at this particular location.
MONASTERY OF MICHAEL ARCHANGEL
BETWEEN ASTRIS & ALIKI
The Monastery of Michael Archangel is a women’s hermitage, which falls under Mount Athos and was founded by Philotheos Monastery. You can easily visit it as it is located on the island’s ring road between Aliki and Astris villages. It is perhaps one of the most well-known monasteries of the island also due to its location, as it is built on the edge of a precipice and thus the pilgrim can be enchanted by the view of the Aegean Sea and the Mountain. Apart from the location, the Monastery is famous as it preserves a part of the nails used during the Christ’s crucifixion and for this reason hundreds of pilgrims flock to the island every year. Finally, it is worthwhile visiting the showroom of the monastery.
The ancient market (agora) of Thassos is a favourite destinations for many tourists. You can see it’s ruins as you take a walk in the center of Limenas. The ancient town ofThassos had two ports, one for war ships and one for commercial ones. In front of the first one is the ancient marketplace of the town, the ruins of the ancient Court, the Tholos and a Paleochristian basilica. To the east of the marketplace, heading to the acropolis, you will sea the ruins of the sanctuary of Dionysus (5th century B.C.) and a little further the one of Poseidon (4th century B.C.). Finally, you should definitely pay a visit to the recently renovated Archaeological Museum (tel. 25930 22180), the collection of which comprises of remarkable findings such as “Kriophoros Kouros” (male statue), Venus and the dolphin, Dionysus head, etc.
The Ancient Theater of Thassos is built inside a natural cavity of the hill and leaning against the wall; according to Hippocrates, it must have been built here as early as the 5th century B.C. During the summer, theatrical plays and artistic shows are performed at the ancient theatre. The ascending, especially organized path will lead the visitors to the ancient theater (5th century B.C.) offering a unique view of the sea, which was transformed into an arena during the Roman period. It is worth attending a performance here during the summer. Leaving the theater behind, the path will lead you to the remains of the acropolis and to the temple of Athena, matron-goddess of the town (6th – 5th centuries B.C.).
In one of the most famous and crowed beaches of the island, Aliki, you can visit the ancient temple which is dedicated to Dioskuroi Brothers. You can also see the two basilicas of the 5th century. While you walk in this area you can admire the marvelous ancient marble quarries of the world known Thassian Marble, a material which is exported all over the world, even now. According to many people, a part of Pericle’s Parthenon in the Acropoli of Athens was made using Thassian Marbe stone.
On one of the peaks of mountain Ypsario, on a longitude of 800m, lies the most ancient village of the island, Kastro. It took its name from the remnants of a castle that once stood there. It flourished in the years that piracy infested the Aegean Sea and was abandoned later when the locals found work at the iron mines of the Speidel company.At the villages’ square you can find the church of St.Athanasios. For many years the village was abandoned and it was until recently that local owners renovated their manors. In January,at the celebration of St.Athanasios, Kastro becomes vibrant and lively,as many Thassians join the feast with songs and food! Do not forget to visit the area called Apostoloi, where you can see the small waterfalls, and fresh up with a quick dive if you want! It is an amazing route from Kastro which lasts about 40 minutes on foot, through the deep green forest.
Kazaviti is one of the most beautiful mountainous villages of Thassos. Located very close to Prinos is suitable for tourism throughout the year, as it will travel each visitor to nature and back in time. The stone and wood dominate the buildings of the village and in combination with the rich vegetation of oaks, platanus and chestnut trees give a different aspect ofThassos. This aspect of Thassos is that not to have been touched by time and the traditional coffee shop in the village certifies that to the best possible way. Do not think however that time has stopped forever in this village, as young people with enthusiasm and, above all, love for tradition gave another impetus at Kazaviti by creating taverns offering rich meat dishes as well as rented lodgings for every taste! Finally, the religious element is not missing from this village and a visit to the church of Saint Panteleimonas will reward you.
PALATAKI (LITTLE PALACE)
Limenaria became commercially known due to its mines that started operating in 1903 by the german company Speidel. “Palataki” , which was the headquarters of the Speidel company at the beginning of the 20th century, is an exceptional specimen of local architecture. Later it was abandoned and only recently locals completed its renovation. The results are absolutely wonderful.
Outside of Astris, just 4 kms away, you can find Giola. This is a natural swimming pool very close to the seaside. Each sea wave slowly refreshes the crystal water of the pool. You can swim, dive into the pool from the natural rocky “steps” all around, or sunbath lying on the flat rocks beside. If you want to go there, just follow the road signs which will lead you off the main road, and through a ground road you will end up park your car on the top of a hill. Then you must walk your way down through a downhill route. There are signs all over the place, so you won’t get lost. The location will amaze you!