Arnea - the Most Beautiful Traditional Town in Northern Greece
Arnea is a very vivid town located about 70km from Thessaloniki and 38km from Poligiros. Earlier it belonged to Chalkidiki, and since 2011 to the municipality of Aristotelis.
The city has about 7,000 inhabitants and is located at 600m above sea level, on the north side of the Holomontas Mountain.
Due to the excellent preserved traditional Macedonian architecture, the town was proclaimed by the Ministry of Culture the Historical Place and the Traditional Settlement.
The houses in Arnea are especially beautiful and interesting because of the colorful facades and combination of stone and wood, and the alleys are cobbled and intertwined and pose a challenge for a pleasant walk and sightseeing.
In the center of the town there is a church of St. Stephen, and next to it is an old school which was built in 1872.
You can also visit the Historical and Foklor Museum.
Arnea is surrounded by beautiful nature, thick forests and high mountains, meadows and pastures. It is known for the production of high-quality honey, which year after year won awards in competitions. Just in the square there is a honey store where you can try and buy the award-winning honey, as well as cosmetics from honey.
Prices are not low, and honey is really great. It is interesting to try honey from cotton, chestnut, but also standard pine, meadow …
Within the store, you can also look at how traditional honey has rocked.
The main square is paved with cobblestones and has a few taverns with delicious food. On the square there is a large planetree with a source of cold, mountain water.
In the town center you can visit the church, which of great importance for locals.
The history of the whole region is related to this church. It was built as metoh of monastery Konstamonit on the Holy Mountain, and later, in the 16th century, the village of Arnea developed around the church. The church was the center of this city.
When the Greeks rebelled against the Ottoman Empire in 1812, the inhabitants of Chalkidiki and the town of Arnea decided to join the rebellion, which resulted in the complete destruction of the temple by Ottomans.
The church was built again after 20 years, this time with a large belfry to become the symbol of the town. You can see the church and the belfry in almost every postcard and photos of this place. The Church of St. Stephen still testifies to the rich and turbulent history of this place.
However, in 2005, the church was again hit by a huge fire that almost completely burned down. The fire was not spared even a valuable bronze iconostasis with icons that the church received in 1850 as a gift from the Kostanomit Monastery.
Although the temple had suffered a lot, by engaging the entire community and all Greek metropolis the resources were collected and the restoration started very quickly. They say that such solidarity was very touching, and the temple was completely restored for a record 16 months.
However, what marked the restoration and reconstruction of the temple is the discovery of historical significance.
In fact, under the foundations of the new church, the remains of a Christian basilica from the 4th century, another from the 10th century, one building from the 16th century, and 15 tombs from the early Christian period were discovered. For this reason, the floor of restored church is partly made of transparent glass, below which you can see the remains of the mentioned basilicas. According to this, the church of St. Stephen is unique and do not miss the opportunity to visit it.
The story of the church may be too extensive, but it is the center and soul of this place.
Walk through Arnea is very pleasant because it is at a high altitude and there are days, and especially evenings much more fresher than the town on the coast.
Just 15km from Arnea, there is Stagira, the birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle, and the sea is 30km away.
Although not on the coast, Arnea has several guest houses for lodging, and tourists are increasingly choosing Arnea as a vacation destination, not only during the summer but also during the winter. Surrounded by mountains, forests and meadows is an oasis of healthy and clean air, and they say that it has the largest number of hundred-year-olds in Greece.