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Nea Poteidaia (Greek: Νέα Ποτείδαια, also Νέα Ποτίδαια) is a small town in the Moudania municipal unit, in Chalkidiki, Greece. Built on the site of the ancient city of Potidaea, 33 kilometers south-west of Polygyros, it was founded in 1922 and today has a population of 1,559 (2011).
The history of Potidea, which existed on the spot, goes back to the early 7th century B.C. when it was a Corinthian colony. The place held a strategic position in ancient times. The village of Nea Poteidaia (New Potidea) as it exists was founded in 1922 by refugees from Eastern Thrace and Kololimnos.
In 1960, archeologists discovered the bones of a young girl believed to have died almost 700,000 years ago. These are the oldest skeletal remains ever found in Greece.
Nea Potidea is an important harbor, being the only point of access to the Kassandra Peninsula.
Notable locations in the area include the remains of the castle in which the rebellious Greeks barricaded themselves in 1821. Another important tourist destination is the church of the Taxiarches founded in 1591. The church is dependent on Mount Athos and the Dochiariou monastery. Others come to see the marble statue of Aristotle, built in memory of the philosopher born in the nearby town of Stageira.
Ancient Potidea was founded in 600 BC on the saddle of the Pallini Peninsula. As the name of the city denotes, its patron was Poseidon. During the expedition of Xerxes against Greece in 480 BC, the city was defeated following a siege. However, a year later it had gathered its forces and resisted the siege of Artavazos. In the same year, it was the only city of Macedonia which, along with other Greek cities, took part in the battle of Plataea.
Its history goes back a long way in the depths of the centuries. Potidea was a member of the first Athenian Alliance. It seceded from the alliance in 432/1 BC with the support of the Corinthians and King Perdikas II. In 431 BC, after the siege by the Athenian general Kallias (in which Socrates fought bravely as Alcibiades recounts at the end of Plato's 'The Symposium'), it was subjugated and subsequently forced to take in settlers from Athens. When the Peloponnesian war was over, Potidea was freed from the domination of Athens but received a second wave of Athenian settlers in 362/1 BC. In 356 BC, it was destroyed by the king of Macedonia, Philip II and was turned over to the Olynthians.
After a period of desertion of about 40 years, in 316 BC, Kassandros built a new city on the site of Potidea, which was named after him, Kassandria (this may indicate that he intended to make it his capital, or at least an important naval base). In the following period until Macedonia was conquered by the Romans (168 BC), Kassandria developed into one of the most powerful cities of Macedonia. It was almost certainly during this time that the canal was opened, which facilitated navigation and boosted trade and economic development.
In 168 BC, the city came under Roman rule and flourished anew. Potidea's decay is linked to the invasions of the Huns, who invaded Macedonia in 540 AD. Consequently, despite Justinian's efforts in the 6th century AD, the city was completely deserted, according to historical sources. Its castle, being of great importance for the security of the whole peninsula, was repaired by John VII Paleologos in 1407 and later by the Venetians when they were given the city of Thessalonica in 1423 in an attempt to keep it from the Ottomans. In 1430 it came under Turkish domination.
During the Greek Revolution of 1821, the people of Chalkidiki entrenched themselves in the castle. They fought hard until the ”turmoil of Kassandra“, the well-known "holocaust", when the canal 'ran with blood', which is commemorated with official celebrations every year on its anniversary, November 14. After the revolution, the old fortification was repaired and re-used, and a new cutting of the canal was made.
Nea Potidea is an attractive place for holidays with many hotels and an important harbor. There are many hotels, rooms and apartments for the visitor's accommodation as well as many restaurants, bars, super markets, and several stores. The village is home to around 900 inhabitants and it is only 33 km south-west of Poligiros.
- "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.