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AGIOS NIKOLAOS SITHONIA CHALKIDIKI
(ΑΓΙΟΣ ΝΙΚΟΛΑΟΣ ΣΙΘΩΝΙΑ ΧΑΛΚΙΔΙΚΙ)

Agios Nikolaos (Greek Άγιος Νικόλαος) is a coastal village in the northeast of the peninsula of Sithonia. The village is located in a distance of approximately 100km to Thessaloniki. About 2 100 live permanently in this place (Status 2011). During summer the population increases up to 10 000.

The landscape around Agios Nikolaos is remarkably versatile. Eastward is the coastal area with a coastline-length of 30km. Many olive groves dominate large areas around the village. The hinterland is characterized by vast plains and wooden highlands which lead into the massif of Itamos. The highest point of the region of Agios Nikolaos is the crest of the mountain Karvounas with an altitude of 546m.

In Agios Nikolaos visitors can admire few of the historical stone-houses build in the classical architecture of Northern Greece.
2.5 km south of Agios Nikolaos is the small settlement and harbor-area Ormos Panagias. The natural harbor is used since historical times as a save anchorage. The place occupied as fishing port and marina. It is the starting point for private boat trips and organized cruise-excursions along the coast of Mount Athos including trips to Ouranoupolis and the Ammuliani-island. The marina has a capacity for 100 boats or yachts. In Ormos Panagias are also plenty Hotels, Apartments and Taverns. On Easter-Tuesday a solemn precession is taking place on the village's square.

Diaporos is the largest island in the bay vis-à-vis Ormos Panagias. The area of 3.2 square km is mainly uninhabited and largely forested. Diaporos can be reached easily by boat. It is a good opportunity for a nature-orientated day trip. The shallow waters of the bay keep the residual heat till winter and attract swimmers all the year around.

The popular tourist coastal village Vourvourou is part of the municipality of Agios Nikolaos. Taverns and beach bars providing welfare but especially the small historic fishing village is worth a visit.

From Mid-October to Mid-November local distilleries are producing the traditional pomace-brandy Tsipouro.

Events and observances in Agios Nikolas:

    • The observance of Saint Nikolaos is celebrated on the hill of Vetrino. After the Mass the bushes around the church are set on fire in order elucidate the place and clean the area of weeds.
    • The observance of Saint George: The Mass in the old chapel of St. George follow musical events with food and beverages.
    • The observance of Saint Marina (Margaret of Antioch) is taking place outside the village on the hill 'Guvali' annually 17th of July. After the Mass follow celebrations.
    • On Carnival Monday, before begin of the lent season, a Carnival event including food and dancing is taking place in the village square.
    • In order to honor the patron Saint Paraskevi a three-day-lasting observance and cultural festival with national- and international artists is celebrated with its highlight on the 26th July. After Mass the traditional pastries 'Biskotoloukoumo' (Greek μπισκοτολούκουμο) is distributed to all those present.
    • Religious procession in Agios Nikolaos on Tuesday after Easter. During the Ottoman occupation the residents pilgrimage with sacred icons of St. Georg to the sanctuary of St. Theodore in neighboring village Ormos Panagias. The procession was also the opportunity to exchange secret information for upcoming riots against the occupying forces. Nowadays the pilgrimage route is limited to the vicinity of the village.

diaporos-sithonia-halkidiki-greecelogoDue the expansion of the road network in Sithonia, tourism has rapidly established. The region experienced an international touristic boom in the 80s. Ever since, the population focused on tourism as the main source of income. Nevertheless traditional trade such as fishing, agriculture, winegrowing and olive production are still continued.

The population of Agios Nikolaos is made up of residents of two villages from various origins. The inhabitants of the village Agios Nikolaos immigrated from the region Mani in Peloponnese and the inhabitants of the local origin of the village Agios Georgios.

Due lack of comprehensive records an exact date when Agios Nikolaos actually was founded is not available. According to few documents the village was established in the 16th century. According local traditions the settlement exists since the 14th century. Probable the village originally was situated directly on the coast. Pirate riots forced the people to move further inland. Pirate attacks were a common threat in the history of Chalkidiki and let many residents to leave their coastal places to resettle in higher regions. Evidence of an ancient settlement can be seen in the ruins of a fortification of byzantine origin from the 14th century. The ruins of the tower are located at the homonymous Pyrgos-beach (Pyrgos, Greek πύργος, tower).

It is assumed that Agios Nikolaos is located on the area of the ancient town Singos. Singos was founded by settlers from the southwest region Chalcis. The city survived the Persian Invasion. Chalkidiki was on the line of approach of the Persian troops. Many residents were forcibly recruited. After the Persians were defeated Singos joined the Delian League. Before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, Singos left the union to join an alliance with the city Potideia. On a Decree of King Peridiccas most inhabitants left their cities on the peninsula to settle down in the ever-growing Olynthos. After war the treaty "peace of Nicias' was signed but only few residents returned back to their hometowns. Further records of the historical course of Singos after 421 BC do not exist. When the city finally was abandoned or destroyed is unknown.

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