6 belikaAs ancient writers report, the most important cities of the Aegean Thessalian coast were four: Omolio, Evrimenai, Melivia and Kasthanea. Rizus and Evreai can be added to these cities, although limited information is currently known for them. The above cities occupied the eastern side of Kissavos and Mavrovounio and had been inhabited since the Mycenaean period. In the 6th century BC, the Magnetes settle there as well as in Pelion, and at the coasts of Pagasitikos, since in this period the movement of the Thessalian tribes has been completed and the Thessalians are spreading over the fertile plain of Thessally.

Up to this day, five fortified sites of the Classical period have been traced at Omolio, Kokkino Nero, Velika, Agiokampos and Keramidi and can be accossiated with the above cities.

The outmost northern city of the Magnetes was Omolion, guarding the entrance of Thessaly and the passage of Pinios river, and is located at the west of the present homonymous village. Systematic excavations have not been conducted in the area of the ancient city. However, sporadic research at the cemeteries -the last one being the one conducted during the construction of the great Tunnel of Tembi- has provided significant findings which indicate that the peak of this area started from the 7th century BC.

Evrimenae are situated on the hill North of Kokkino Nero, at a critical point to control the passage of the ships; similar was the case with the fortified citadels of Velika and Agiokampos, between which the ancient Melivia is being placed. Up to this moment, the most significant findings come from the hill above the harbour of Agiokampos, which had been the central station of the route from ancient Demetrias towards Macedonia. Marble sculptures, burial vessels and trade amphorae are included in the findings, which indicate the importance of the region in religion and trade.

In Byzantine period, the emperors improve the fortification of the area, so that the control of the sea passage as well as through the coastline could be maintained and used as an alternative passage to that of Tembi. During this period, the citadels of Velika and Kokkino Nero play the most important role. Particularly, the recent excavations at the castle of Velika have revealed the transport of goods in the Justinian years of throughout the Mediterranean since objects from Africa to the Black Sea were found at the site.

Later on, the area became known as The Mountain Of Kellia (cells) and was filled with cloisters and monasteries which kept exploiting the fertile valleys and the sea goods as it had happened since antiquity. At the same time, there were small settlements which were afterwards succeeded by the historical villages, the most important being those of Karitsa, Melivia, Skiti and Sklethro.

The great byzantine sculptures and the rest of the arts that developed in the convents, demonstrate the diachronic value of the region, which could yield wealth at all seasons, based on the rich soil and the sea. The wine and the oil appear to have been dominant in the past, as it is shown by the byzantine workshops used for their production which have been preserved.

Today that the area depends more and more on tourism, the promotion of the unique elements of the past, will add greater value to the local products as well as to the area itself. The Diachronic Museum of Larissa highlights the most important preserved evidence and becomes an inspirational gateway, for those we wish to take a tour around this highly beautiful area.

Organized tours around the ancient cities of the coasts are undertaken by the Diachronic Museum of Larissa, for groups of 8 members and above.

Information: tel. +30 2413 508 242