Amarynthos

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Amarynthos
Αμάρυνθος
Location
Amarynthos is located in Greece
Amarynthos
Amarynthos
Coordinates 38°24′N 23°53′E / 38.400°N 23.883°E / 38.400; 23.883Coordinates: 38°24′N 23°53′E / 38.400°N 23.883°E / 38.400; 23.883
Government
Country: Greece
Administrative region: Central Greece
Regional unit: Euboea
Municipality: Eretria
Districts: 5
Population statistics (as of 2011)[1]
Municipality
 - Population: 10,043
 - Area: 109.909 km2 (42 sq mi)
 - Density: 91 /km2 (237 /sq mi)
Community
 - Population: 5,530
Other
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Postal code: 340 06
Telephone: 22290
Auto: ΧΑ

Amarynthos (Greek: Αμάρυνθος, [aˈmarinθos], also called Βάθεια Vatheia), is a coastal town and a former municipality in Euboea, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Eretria, of which it is a municipal unit.[2] In 2001 its population was 4,141 for the town and 7,356 for the municipal unit. The Amarynthos is 8 km east of Eretria, 27 km southeast of Chalcis, 63 km northwest of Karystos and 10 km north of Kalamos, across the gulf. The Greek National Road 44 (Thebes - Chalcis - Karystos) passes through the town.

History[edit]

The area of Amarynthos, along with the region of Eretria, has a long and rich history. Many scientists place Eretria of the Mycenaean period in the location of the present town of Amarynthos.[3] The archaeological artifacts testify a permanent settlement in this location since the Late Neolithic period, around 3000 BC, which was one of the most important Helladic settlements and a significant port on the island of Euboea, during the Early Bronze Age. It had built its own trade with the Aegean Islands, concluded from the findings of Cycladic art in the region.

During the Middle Helladic period, Amarynthos had developed its trade with mainland Greece and produced magnificent pieces of the Minyean art, while in the Late Helladic period it was one of the main areas of Euboea. During the 2nd millennium BC, the Ionians arrived in the southern parts of Greece and settled Euboea, while the name of Amarynthos is mentioned in clay tablets with inscriptions in the Linear B script. Apart from the trade, the locals also occupied with agriculture, pastoralism, fishing and copper processing.

In ancient times, there was a festival in Amarynthos called "Amarýnthia",[4] dedicated to Amarysia Artemis, who was worshipped as the patron goddess of Amarynthos and whose shrine was located in the plain of the region, being one of the most important in Central Greece.[5] Parts of it were excavated between 1987 and 1992, hosted now at the Museum of Eretria. In Greek mythology, Amarynthos was a man from Eretria who usually ran after Artemis because of his love to her, and his name was given to the town. Pausanias in his Description of Greece, mentions, along with Amarynthos, a town in Attica called Athmonia, where the Athenians also celebrated Amarysia Artemis in a festival as splendid as the one in Amarynthos (1.31.5). Callimachus says that in Amarynthos, Artemis was worshipped as hornless (kolainis), because Agamemnon sacrificed to her a hornless ram made of wax, while Claudius Aelianus refers to the Eretrians who maimed animals to Artemis at Amarynthos.[5] Strabo, in the Geographica, locates the village of Amarynthos seven stadia distant from the walls of Eretria, to which the village belongs (10.1.10).

Amarynthos, like the whole of Euboea, was later ruled by the Macedonians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Venetians and the Ottoman Turks until it joined the modern Greek state around 1830. In World War II, the Nazi Germany's troops burnt parts of the town. After the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22) and the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the arrival of Greek refugees from Asia Minor in Euboea, many of which settled in Amarynthos, boosted the population of the town.

Geography[edit]

The municipal unit Amarynthos is located in Central Euboea and stretches from the coast of the South Euboean Gulf into the mountainous inland. The area near the coast, around the town Amarynthos, is relatively flat and consists of farmlands. The Euboean Olympus overlooks the town, situated 10 km north of it. Amarynthos has a popular beach and several hotels, restaurants, bars and taverns can be found in the town. Amarynthos has several schools and shops, while the nearest hospital is in Chalcis.

Culture[edit]

Worth visiting in Amarynthos are the Byzantine churches of "Koimisi tis Theotokou", "Metamorphosi tou Sotiros" and "Zoodochos Pigi", while to the northeast of the town there is the Byzantine monastery of "Agios Nikolaos", with beautiful wall paintings of the 12th century. A Macedonian tomb dating from the 4th century BC has been excavated in 1897 one kilometre outside of Amarynthos in a location called Vlychos. There is a 14th-century church named "Panagitsa" close to Ano Vatheia, and the famous "Skoteini Cave" located on a cliff 1.5 kilometre outside of the village Tharounia.[6]

Recent incidents[edit]

Teen rape case[edit]

Amarynthos gained national attention in Greece in October 2006, when the mother of a schoolgirl of Bulgarian descent pressed charges against four high school boys, sons of a priest, a police officer and a high school professor, for raping her daughter in the school's toilets, whilst the attack was allegedly filmed by female classmates using a mobile phone.[7] The Greek government has subsequently banned mobile telephones in school as a consequence of this incident.[8]

The controversy began with the decision of headteacher to suspend the four boys for five days (a decision described by the Greek education ministry as shockingly lenient), as well as also suspending the girl. Minister for Education and Religious Affairs, Marietta Giannakou, ordered the ministry to investigate whether the decision by the school's teachers' council was legal, and the girl and her mother were received by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens, with the latter citing the Church's solidarity towards the family.[9]

This was followed by an anti-racist protest march, with mostly anarchist participants. The protesters vandalised a monument in honour of the people of Amarynthos massacred by communist partisans, during the Greek Civil War. This made people of the village angry, and violence soon erupted. The villagers attacked the protesters with sticks and pick-axes, and many had to receive medical care.[10]

Forest fire[edit]

The 2007 Greek forest fires caused significant damage in the region of Amarynthos.

Subdivisions[edit]

The municipal unit Amarynthos is subdivided into the following communities (constituent villages in brackets):

  • Amarynthos (Amarynthos, Galazia Nera)
  • Ano Vatheia (Ano Vatheia, Koukaki)
  • Gymno (Gymno, Metamorfosi)
  • Kallithea
  • Seta (Seta, Kato Seta)

Historical population[edit]

Year Town population Municipality population
1981 3,309 -
1991 3,638 6,068
2001 4,141 7,356
2011 5,530 10,043

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Detailed census results 2011 (Greek)
  2. ^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
  3. ^ "Eretria-Amarynthos". Euboea Prefecture official web site. Retrieved 2008-04-13. [dead link]
  4. ^ Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898), online at perseus
  5. ^ a b "Artemis cult 3". Theoi Greek Mythology. Archived from the original on 1 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  6. ^ "Amarynthos". www.holidayshop.gr. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  7. ^ New probe in teen rape case - e-Kathimerini, 11/1/2006
  8. ^ Greece bans mobiles in school - BBC, 8/12/2006
  9. ^ Athens News Agency - Greek leadership expresses revulsion over Amarynthos incident
  10. ^ Eleftherotypia on the incident - Eleftherotypia 9/12/2006

External links[edit]