Chalcis or Chalkida is the capital and the main port of the
Regional Unit of Evia, in the Region of Central Greece. It is built
on both sides of the Strait of Evripos, where part of it occupies
part of the island of Evia, and the other has been built in Central
Greece. On its mainland, on the hill of Kanithos, dominates the
Ottoman castle of Karabamba, which, together with the Bridge of
Evripos and the unique phenomenon of changing the direction of the
waters, every six hours and in between (approximately) a ten minute
stagnation (tide) Evripou, are its most important features.
According to the 2011 census, Chalkida has a population of 59,125
The Municipality of Chalcis was established in 1835 and included Chalcis, seat of the Municipality, as well as the settlements of Anemomylos, Afrati, Vasiliko, Doko, Karabambas, Fylla, Petroto, Agios Nikolaos and Mytikas.
Chalcis, with its two ports in Evripos, was
one of the most active cities in ancient Greece. It created colonies
from Thrace to Italy and Sicily. Its current geographical and
strategic position often forced it to submit to the conquering
aspirations of various powers throughout its historical course, but
also to be an integral part of the empires of both antiquity and the
Prehistory and antiquity
The current city of Chalcis is spread on the small peninsula of Central Evia and has as its natural boundaries small hills, which extend to the north, east and south of the city. It is therefore in a strategic position in every respect and the fact of controlling the Strait of Euripus contributes to this. This fact was noticed by the first inhabitants of the city and they tried to take advantage of it because it seemed that it would offer power and wealth to the city. The first traces of habitation of the city can be found since the Paleolithic period, but the first important settlement that can be characterized as a settlement was around 3000 BC. at the beginning of the Neolithic Period. This first city of Chalcis was located on the northern outskirts of today in the area of Manika. This first city will live for a millennium and as it emerged from the archaeological excavations it was a well organized city with large building blocks, highways and houses that were arched or square ground floors or with a floor, while it also had a sanctuary, hearth, wells and pebble floors. In the process, the other settlements that develop around it seem to indicate the general prosperity that occurs with the permanent habitation and thus acquires its first competitors.
The existence of Chalcis in the Mycenaean years is proved only indirectly, by sporadic evidence, and mainly through the Homeric Epics, since the Chalcis are included in the famous "List of Islands", having offered 40 ships. In the geometric years the city is inhabited and experiences famous prosperity, while together with Eretria they are the two most important cities of Evia. Its inhabitants are engaged in trade, ceramics and metallurgy. The name of the city of Chalcis came from the presence of copper deposits in the wider area, which were also a factor of development. According to another etymological version, the name of the city indicates the presence of copper processing laboratories but not deposits. According to Donford, Chalcis was named after the word chalki or kalchi, which means the purple shell, which the Phoenicians supplied with purple. The development of the city consequently leads to the increase of the population and finally to the colonization with the establishment of many important cities in the West, but also in Greece.
The same development follows in the archaic years with the strong element of colonization. The most important event of these years, however, is not the colonization, but the war of the Lilantian field that took place between Chalcis and Eretria. It is generally believed that this war was not judged in a battle, but many followed and in them helped the fighters and allies from other Greek cities. The final winners in this war seem to have been the Chalcidians.
In classical times, Chalcis helped in the common struggle against the Persians by participating in the naval battles of Artemisio, Salamis and the battle of Plataea, while it seems that it also participated in the First Athenian Alliance. Its attempt to secede from the Alliance resulted in its subjugation by the Athenians and the establishment of Athenian heirs in its territories. During the Peloponnesian War there was an important military and naval base. The following years until 342 BC. are particularly disturbed, when the "Common of Evia" is created and thus an attempt is made to stabilize the situation. The capital of the Common is the city of Chalcis, but many adventures follow until the appearance of the Macedonians.
In the middle of the 4th century BC. and after the unification of
all the Greek cities under the Macedonian power and until the Roman
conquest the period is full of conflicts, but this does not mean
stopping the development of the city and its artistic progress.
Characteristic is the fact that in 323 BC. The Stagirite philosopher
Aristotle comes to Chalkida to die next year at his mother's house.
Then, during the Hellenistic period, settlers from Chalkida founded
Chalkida in Syria, by order of Seleucus I, from which settlers
founded another Chalcis in the valley of Lebanon, as well as another
Chalcis in Arabia.
In 200 BC. The city was destroyed by the Roman general Gaius Sulpicius Galva and thus the Roman occupation of Evia was inaugurated, while in 146 BC. With the complete conquest of Greece by the Romans, Chalcis was re-established, as was the case with other cities. The years of Roman rule for the city are also in their entirety years of prosperity and progress both for the city of Chalcis and for Evia in general, where it has a permanent and unquestionable primacy.
Middle Ages and recent years
With the end of Roman times and the entry into the early Byzantine years, the city becomes the first diocese that belongs to the jurisdiction of the metropolitan of Achaia, as well as administratively belongs to the province of Achaia. The period of Byzantine times is characterized by the transfer of the city closer to the sea, to the place where it is today, with an important port that of Agios Stefanos. The city was fortified again in the years of Justinian, probably to withstand various hostile invasions. Thus the city survived the Arab invasions of the 7th century. Chalcis continued to be an important trading post throughout the Byzantine and Late Byzantine years, until it was destroyed by the Norman attacks in 1146 led by Roger of Sicily.
In 1204, with the occupation of Constantinople by the Crusaders, Evia was given as a fief to the Flemish knight Jacques d 'Avesnes for a while, as it was later divided into three parts and each was given to Lombard knights: delle Cartes (Delle Carceri), in Pecorari and the barony of Chalkida (Negroponte) in Giberto Aida da Verona. These were the famous thirds. Giberto I was succeeded by his son William I and his son William II. The years of Frankish rule are years of prosperity for the barony of Chalcis, both due to the developed trade, as well as the processing of purple and the operation of the Venetian banking institutions. Gradually the power of Evia passed to Venice and Vailos ruled the island. In fact, after the recapture of Constantinople in 1261, the Latin patriarch of Constantinople settled in Chalcis. During these years until 1470, when the city passed to the Turks, it remained in the hands of its Venetian lords and it suffered many times from pirates.
During the Turkish occupation, due to its current position, it became the seat of Kapudan Pasha and Pasaliki of Agripos was an administrative division that included almost all of Central Greece. In that period until the 17th century, the wealth of Evia attracted the settlement of agades, but at the same time many times it was a pirate target. At the end of the 17th century, Chalcis was besieged by the famous Venetian admiral Morosini, but to no avail. During the outbreak of the Greek revolution in 1821 and despite the fact that the island of Evia became the scene of many battles, the powerful Turkish forces on the island did not allow its final liberation. He finally got rid of the Turkish yoke with the surrender of Chalkida on April 7, 1833 and Karystos two days later to join the borders of the newly established Greek state.
The castle of Chalkida
Karabamba castle is located on the mainland side of the city, on a hill called Fourka, in the district of Kanithos. Its location is strategic, as it controls the strait of Euripus and the city of Chalcis. The location of the Castle is identified by some scholars with the ancient city of Kanithos, as sporadic traces of buildings and tombs are preserved on the ground. The hill was probably fortified for the first time during the Roman period, but it is certain that it had no fortifications in Byzantine times and during the Venetian occupation and the first centuries of Ottoman rule.
The fortress that survives today was built by the Turks in 1684,
in order to protect Chalcis from the Venetians. It was designed by
the Venetian Gerolimo Galopo and its architecture is more European
and less Turkish, with an oblong enclosure, oriented A-W, with a
north wall, three bastions and a large tower. The southern part of
the wall is kept in poor condition. Ancient architectural members
have been built into several parts of the enclosure. The most
complex, hexagonal bastion is located on the east side, towards
Chalcis. Two 19th-century Russian cannons are preserved on the
ramparts. The only gate of the fortress is located on the SE side of
the wall, while military buildings have been built around it. On the
east wall of the enclosure, between the gate and the east tower,
there is a bell tower, built on the site of the fortress alarm bell.
The only well-preserved building in the courtyard is a church
dedicated to the Prophet Elijah, dating to 1895. The western end of
the wall is occupied by a seven-sided tower, the most majestic
defensive structure of the fortress. The entrance to the tower is
through a narrow vaulted corridor, reminiscent of a labyrinth.
The fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Morosini in 1688 and the Turks managed to maintain its ownership until the liberation of Greece, when they handed it over to the Greek state.
In the castle of Karabamba is the tomb of the writer Giannis Skaribas, who lived and worked in the city of Chalcis.