Historical Data
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The only source available for ancient Arnaia is Thucydides, who reports that General Vrasidas, heading with his army from Akanthos to Amphipolis, departed from the town of Arnai. “΄Επί ταύτην (τήν ΄Αμφίπολιν) ουν ο Βρασίδας άρας εξ’ ΄Αρνών της Χαλκιδικής επορεύετο τω στρατώ και αφικόμενος περί δείλην επί τον Αυλώνα και Βορμίσκον” (Thucydides IV,103). Taking into consideration the General’s course as well as the ruins of ancient walls, tiled graves and an abundance of potsherds, it can be assumed that the position of the ancient town of Arnai was on the north side of the hill of Prophet Elias. According to a different scenario around the same rising was the ancient town of Augiea and the hill of Prophet Elias was its acropolis. It is possible that the town of Arnai was a colony of the island of Andros, since in Andros there was a town called Arni after the Peloponnese war. The time and the causes of the destruction of Arnaia are completely unknown. Probably it was one of the 32 towns of the Confederacy of Olynthos that Philip the second, King of Macedonia, destroyed. Since the destruction of Arnai, the same position does not seem to have been reinhabited.

Towards the end of the 15th century, a big settlement comes to existence, “Liarigovi” or “Liarigova”- Greek-Slavic word, possibly meaning “a pile of manure” deriving from the words “liera” (manure) and “govni” (pile), because that plain served as a pasture for animals from the Monastery of Kostamonitou. The most probable scenario speaks of its establishment from laborers coming from nearby settlements and other areas of Greece and Bulgaria, who established themselves in the dependency of the “Kostamonitou” monastery.

During the pre-revolutionary period, Liarigovi is one of the 12 villages that are collectively known as “Mantemochoria” (villages producing cast-iron) [Galatista, Vavdos, Ravna, Petrokerasa, Stavros, Varvara, Liarigovi, Novoselo (Neochori), Machalas (Stagira), Isvoros (Stratoniki), Chorouda, Revenikia (Megali Panagia) and Ierissos], whose inhabitants were working as miners in the mines of Olympias-Stratoni and afterwards took control of them.

In 1775 The Sublime Porte (Ottoman Imperial Government) entrusted the exploitation of the mines to the “Mantemochoria”, which formed a co-operative, having the obligation to grant a part of their production to the Ottoman Government. Arnaia, during this pre-revolutionary period, was the biggest village of the so-called “Mantemochoria”. The French Consul-General of Thessaloniki, Cousinéry, offers us plenty of information regarding the living conditions of the inhabitants of Arnaia at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, specifically stating about Arnaia that it was the capital of the Confederacy, a big village with 400 houses.

Up until 1805, the villages of the Confederacy were totally dependent on Constantinople (Istanbul). From 1805 until 1819 they were dependent on the Bey (Chieftain) of Serres and from 1819 until 1821, when the Greek Revolution began in Chalkidiki, on Constantinople (Istanbul) again. Arnaia was at that time one of the 42 villages that were burnt by Bayram Pasha (title of a Turkish Governor).

After its destruction, the inhabitants of Liarigovi, who came back once again, started to rebuild their burnt down village. In 1854, year of the “Tsamis Karatassos” revolution in Chalkidiki, the “Mantemochoria” villages did not suffer any new catastrophes from the Turks.

During the years of the Macedonian struggle Arnaia and its surroundings did not experience the Slavic propaganda, which did not deter them from forming a Defense Committee under the guidance of the Consulate of Thessaloniki.

On 2nd November 1912 it was freed from the Turkish occupation. Until 1928 τthe village’s official name was “Liarigova”. The village renaming Committee, taking into consideration both versions, that possibly the ancient towns of Arnai and Augiea were  built close to it, renamed the town to “Arnaia”, combining the syllable Arn- of Arnai with  the suffix –ea (-aia) of Augiea.

Both before and after the revolution of 1821, among the main occupations of the inhabitants, besides working in the mines, were agriculture, animal farming, beekeeping, carpet weaving and the trade of wood and animals. Around 1932 Arnaia was the biggest village of Northern Chalkidiki with a population of 3000 people. At that time its residents were mainly beekeepers, carpenters, shoemakers and merchants.


Greek Traditional Architecture - ARNAIA (“Melissa” Publishing House)
Mount. Cholomontas of Chalkidiki- National Agricultural Research Foundation

Chalkidiki- (“Zarzonis” Publishing House)

Ευρωπαϊκή Κάρτα Νέωνespa-2014-2020