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Evia: the Centre

Chalkída, Mount Dirfis and Eretria

Panoramic picture of the north coasts of central Evia, with visible the tallest mountain of Euboea, mt Dirfi.


Chalkída or Chalkís, or Egriboz as the Turks called it (pop. 60,000) is the bustling industrial rhinoceros-shaped capital of Évia, occupying both sides of the narrowest point of the Evripós Strait, only 130ft—just under 40m—across.

Its location has been a major source of its prosperity, not least through its potential of blocking ancient sea trade between Athens and the north. The original version of the city was located at Manika, 5km northwest, where an 800 acre proto-Helladic settlement (2900-2300 BC) was found copper (chalkós), another early source of wealth.

Mentioned in the Iliad as the home of the great-hearted Abantes, the city by Archaic times had so many colonies in the north of Greece that it gave its name to the peninsula, Chalkidikí; in Italy it founded the colonies of Messina, Reggio Calabria and Cumae near Naples. By the 7th century BC it had asserted its position over Erétria (see below) as the island’s dominant city.

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Text © Dana Facaros

Images by Bdubosso, C messier, Dan Diffendale, George E. Koronaios, Giorgos Kollias, Jebulon, Jebulon, Creative Commons License, Joanna Voulgaraki, nik kout, stefg74