In the land of Democritus
In Thrace, only 28 km away from Xánthi, lies before us one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, the ancient city of Abdera.
The fatherland of Democritus, the philosopher who made a significant contribution to metaphysics with his atomic theory of the universe, and Protagoras, one of the most famous sophists, invites you to discover an awe-inspiring centuries-old settlement, a timeless reminder of a glorious past.
Abdera is said to have been founded by Hercules himself in honour of his friend Ábderus, who helped him capture the four savage mares of Diomedes, the king of the Thracian Bistones. The first inhabitants were probably colonists from Clazomenae, in the middle of the 6th century BC. Abdera was built in an excellent strategic position with two natural harbours, and flourished particularly during the 5th century BC, when it was a member of the so-called “Delian League”. The excavation finds in the area reflect the economic and cultural prosperity of Abdera. Wander around the extensive archaeological site (1,200 acres), which looks like an archaeological park.
Start your tour from the western gate of the ancient wall circuit, and admire the well-preserved private and public houses –such as the sanctuaries and the baths–, the clay workshops, the store houses, the Byzantine acropolis with its two towers, and the ancient theatre. During the Byzantine times, Polýstylon was founded on the site of the ancient acropolis of the Abdera. The name “Polýstylon” probably derives from the numerous ancient columns ("stýlos" meaning column), which were carried there. The excavation finds, like the impressive fortification and the grand Basilicas, reveal its historical significance and grandeur in the past.
Try to immerse yourself in the mysterious atmosphere of the area with a visit to the Archaeological Museum. Artefacts related to the public and private life of Abdera, as well as to its burial customs, are presented here. Admire centuries-old exhibits related among others to religion, state organization, coinage, weapons, trade, pottery and jewellery. And, as you leave, try to keep this magic within you.