OURANOUPOLI ATHOS CHALKIDIKIouranoupolis-seaside-athos-halkidikilogo

Ouranoupoli (Greek ,Ουρανούπολη') is a coastal village on the Athos peninsula at the border of the monastic republic. The village is belongs to the municipal district Aristoteles and to the municipality Stagira-Akanthos. It is located in a distance of km to Thessaloniki. About 960 inhabitants (Status 2001) live permanently in Ouranoupoli.

The present village was established 1922 by Greek refugees on the area of the historic city Ouranoupolis (translated 'city of heaven'). A majority of the refugees emigrated from the island Marmara in Minor-Asia.

Landmark of Ouranoupoli is the Byzantine Andronikos-tower of the 14th century. Next to the tower is the byzantine and Post-Byzantine museum. The visitor has the opportunity to gaze on a variety of interesting exhibits of the historical era.
Ouranoupoli frequently offers organized excursions to the ruins of the ancient Franconia castle near the village.
The Cultural Association of Ouranoupoli organizes annually cultural events. The most popular are 'Ouranopolitika' in July and a full-moon even in August.

Beside of fishing the locals mainly deal with Tourism, which is also the most relevant economic factor of the village. Monks from the neighboring monastery-area are frequently seen to sell their handmade icons, candles and bracelets.

Not far from the border to the monastic republic is the monastery of Zygou from the 10th century, which is also accessible for woman. Since the 11th century woman are generally banned from the monastic republic of Mount Athos. Men need to request a visitors-visa before trespassing.

ouranoupolis-tower-athos-halkidikilogoThe port of Ouranoupoli is used as a starting point or stopover of many boat trips. Most excursions piloting to the opposite Drenia islands, the large island Ammouliani or the circumnavigation of the Mount Athos.

Ammuliani has a dimension of 12 square km. It is the largest island of Chalkidiki and the only one all-season inhabited. Green landscapes and idyllic shores define the landscape. Until 1922 the island was conducted of Mount Athos and used for agriculture. It was athe growing area for figs, wine and olives. After the Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War, the island was colonized in 1922 by Greek refugees from Pasaliman, a coastal area of the inland sea Maramras. Ammouliani is only accessible by boat or ferry. The island is developed towards tourism. A variety of Apartments, Hotels and taverns are located along the beach.

The historic Ouranoupolis was founded 315BC by Alexarchos, brother of on the ruins of the ancient city Sani, which was destroyed by Phillip II. Kassandros (Greek 'Κάσσανδρος' 350BC – 297BC) was a famous Macedonian general and major Diadochi of Alexander the Great. Alexarchos was considered eccentric and megalomaniac. According to historic traditions Alexarchos recognized himself as the sun-god Helios. For his town he created unique draft laws, its own tax system and an artificial dialect. Due of absence of written records only little is known about the historic Ouranoupolis. It is assumed that the existence of this ciry was not of long duration.
Finds of historical coins show the image of Aphrodite Urania on one side and a sun on the other. Some coins were labeled with the words 'Ourania City' or City Ouranidon'. So far, the exact location of the ancient city remains unknown. It is supposed the ancient polis was located nearby the today's Ouranoupoli. On an underwater expedition near the ancient fortification a team of Swedish scientists discovered 1954 ruins of an ancient city wall, a bridge and remains of houses. However, in lack of verification it is speculation whether these ruins are related to the ancient Ouranoupolis.

In the 11th century a monastery was built in the east of the village. During the 4th crusade 1202 – 1204 the area was under Frankish rule and the monastery was converted into a castle. The fortress is still known as the Franconia-castle (Greek: Φραγκόκαστρο, Frangocastro). Later on in the 13th century the area of Ouranoupoli was administrated by the monastery of Vatopedi. 1344 this monastery ordered the construction of the defense-tower of Prosphorion (former Name of this place) next to the port. The tower was also used as living quarters for the monks who managed the farms. The building suffered great damage due to an earthquake in 1585. During the revolution in 1821 the tower was set on fire but reconstructed in 1865. Additional buildings were added including stables, olive press, barns, well, iron workshop and quarters for the accommodation of the workers. Only the tower, the buildings of the former iron workshop and the workers quarters are preserved until today. The tower is still the famous landmark of Ouranoupoli.

1922 Greek refugees from Marmara reached the historical area. First seeking shelter in the ruins of the ancient tower they started to establish a new village.

Based on the history of the place and motivated by increasing tourism the village was renamed to Ouranoupoli on 1960.