Archaeology in Viotia

Viotia or Boeotia as it is known in classical literature has a wealth of sites that aren't well known by visitors, perhaps because they are not as intact as other more important sites in the country. Boeotia of today and yesterday is home to Thebes, made famous by the Theban plays, as well as other less known sites such as Orhomenos, Gla and Thisvi, among many others.


Near the dusty modern town of Aliartos lies an acropolis of mixed origins. The Mycenaean part lies on the hill, with more modern buildings from the 7th century BC to its north.
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Important sculptures from Livadia and Chaironia such as Demeter, Kyveli, a portrait of emperor Hadrian, a stone sphere with reliefs of the sun and moon, and Athena Kranaia can be seen at the museum.
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Constructed in 1890, this is the earliest museum in Viotia. It contains findings from the cemeteries of Tanagra or which had been retrieved in the field, and also finds from the first excavations conducted by the Archaeological Society.
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In place of Kyriaki there used to be an ancient city named Flygonio, which means gushing water. This city allowed control of routes connecting the mountain settlements with coastal roads of Elikonas.
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Gla
When western engineers were called to drain the Lake Kopais in the late 1800s to reclaim more fertile land, they were met with a mysterious set of huge canals and dykes, which showed that the lake had been drained before in the past. Therein lies the mystery of Gla...
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At Orhomenos there is a vaulted Mycenaean tomb dubbed as the Treasury of Minyas, as well as an ancient acropolis with remains of a theatre (Odeum), temple and other edifices.
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Ancient Thebes figures well in both Greek history and Greek mythology. Its past glory may not be reflected in the modern town of Thebes – or Thiva – today, but there is an excellent archaeological museum there are some sites to visit.
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Ancient Krefsis boasted once an acropolis against mount Korombili with venerable towers and walls. Parts of the complex remains, including a wall and parts of the towers from the 4th century BC. Much later another medieval tower was built, dating from the 14th century AD and was called Erimokastro or desert castle.
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This collection is found in the town hall of the Thespies, where many findings are presented such as those from the archaeological area of the ancient city by the same name, architectural parts of the ancient city's buildings, sculptures of classical years, and remains from the archaic and the roman years.
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Rare collections from around Viotia outline local civilization from Palaeolithic to post-Byzantine eras. There is also a medieval Frankish tower in the museum's courtyard, once part of a castle erected by Nicholas II de Saint Omer, Archon of Thebes in 1278. The city's northern gates may have stood at the very spot.
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A defence tower dating back to the 4th century BC and part of more important fortifications are well preserved in Askri. The tower is said to be built by the people of Thespies to keep an eye on the Thebans, not long before the battle of Lefktra which took place in 371 BC.
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Not far from the village of Davlia, the four watermills stand witness to the prosperity of the area in history. Well preserved until now, the mills mechanisms and wheel are interesting to observe.
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South of Davlia lie the ruins of the acropolis of ancient Davlia. Walls from the 4th century BC can be seen, with the base of these walls dating much further back to the Pelasgic era. Evidence of a tower belonging to the walls can be seen, as well as another tower built in medieval times is also on the site.
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The prehistoric fortress of Distomo in Kastri dates back from Pelasgic times, i.e. 'pre-Greek' civilization. Ruins of a settlement and tombs from this era can be seen. Parts of the ancient wall of Amvrisos in the area can also be seen, as well as a royal tomb sculpted in the rock.
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In the small village of Xironomi there are remains from the old settlement of Donakes, where stone foundations, construction and mosaics have been found. The latter has been safely transferred to the Museum of Thebes.
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Near Prodromos on the way to Saranti there are ruins of an ancient settlement called Korsies from the 6th century BC. The ruins there hail from archaic, classical and Hellenistic years, most notably a temple dedicated to Hera, as well as evidence of ancient spinning wheels.
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The coastal archaeological site of Sifes lies on the eastern side of the bay of Domvrena near the village of Alyki. A fortified wall in decent condition from the 4th century BC has been preserved, plus parts of 6 towers and 3 gates, with the main one next to the beach. Ceramics from various eras have been found too.
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Ancient Thisvi has ruins in Kakosia, which was inhabited as far back as 2000 BC. There are remains from the Mycenaean era such as a vaulted tomb as well as some parts of the acropolis, found on Paleokastro (Old Castle) hill.
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A theatre from the 3rd century BC has been found here, including an altar for the muses and a gallery for votive offerings made to them. Only a few ruins remain from the grand past of this area, although some of the pedestals belonging to the statues of the muses were transferred to the museum of Thiva.
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The polygon shaped walls of Koronia stand witness to a once important fortress dating back to classical times, known as Tilfousion and situated atop Paliothiva or old Thiva. A medieval tower remains on the north side of the hill.
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