Archaeological Museum of Chalkida “ARETHOUSA”!
Ascension of Alexander the Great
January 3, 2022
Chalkida, 12th c .
At the southeastern entrance of the city of Chalkida, left from the roundabout leading right to South Evia and left to North is an old industrial building, made of stone and brick, a building of the late 19th and early 20th century . It was the distillery and distillery “ARETHOUSA” of the Zachos brothers and it had taken its name from the adjacent homonymous source. Over time, it changed its use several times and after it was given to the Greek state, it was deemed protected and began to fall into disrepair. Fortunately, a few years ago it was decided to maintain and use it. Various ideas were proposed for its new use and finally the idea to become the New Archaeological Museum of the city was approved.
He even kept the title of the old company as a nickname. “ARETHOUSA”. And it became a timeless museum, which covers with its exhibits the entire history of Evia and Skyros, from the Neolithic era to Ottoman rule. That is about 5000 years of history.
For a long time, when I was passing outside Chalkida, going to other areas of the island, an old industrial building in quite good condition, caught my eye. Until I read about its use and its transformation into a museum. That’s how he got into the program.
Third day of the new year and on the one hand the sunshine, on the other hand that every year on such a day we usually go out to celebrate an anniversary, we decided. In less than an hour we parked in the area opposite the museum.
The plot on which the building is located is much larger and in this area they built a very modern building, which provoked many reactions as to whether it fits with the existing one. Personally, I like it very much and I like this coexistence. This building houses the tax office of antiquities of Evia, warehouses and laboratories for the preservation of antiquities.
Next to the museum is the open-air theater “ORESTIS MAKRIS”.
We passed the gate of the place and entered for a visit. First the formalities. Vaccination check, tickets, brochures and we get started.
This museum is Thematic. It is not as we are used to in most museums with a simple presentation of the exhibits chronologically. They are presented by topic.
For the presentation of our visit I will use the relevant text from the website of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Evia , enriching it with the photos I took
“The new permanent exhibition presents objects from all over Evia and Skyros from the Paleolithic period to the beginning of the 20th century, which comment on selected aspects of the history of the two islands through a dynamic social interpretation of important, timeless issues. In this context, issues of state organization, economy, cultural identities and worship are developed. Prominent aspects in the history of Evia are highlighted such as: the role of Skyros in trade and metallurgy in the prehistoric Aegean, the prosperity of the settlement in Lefkandi in the 10th century BC, the presence of Evians in the colonization and the spread of the Evian alphabet in the West , the connection of the Homeric epic and the ancient drama with the sanctuary of Artemis in Avlida, the famous Negroponte powerful center of the Venetians,
The Introductory section presents two Evian travel destinations, known since antiquity,
Evripos in Chalkida with the unique tidal phenomenon and the hot thermal baths in Edipsos.
The vortices and the momentum of the waters in Euripus are connected with the depiction of spirals in vessels of the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC.
but also the statue of Poseidon that was lifted from the bottom of the strait.
The ancient spa town of Edipsos is approached through statues and tombstones. […]
( unique exhibit the pregnant female figure lower left)
brief reference to the history of Evia
per chronological period
with a central focus on human presence and action,
which is enhanced with artefacts
depicting the human form
from Prehistory to the Ottoman era. “
In the same area we see a pebble floor with a representation of Triton fighting with Scylla, from Eretria in the 4th century BC.
In the section State Organization , aspects of state organization are presented,
as it has been formed since the 3rd millennium BC,
the historical times, the feudal states
until the Ottoman era. Evian places of the Bronze Age stand out with spatial organization, the emergence of cities and city-states,
the mints of Evia and Skyros
and the emergence of new social groups.
The rich gifts of the tombs from Iroos tou Toumpa in Lefkandi testify to the prosperity of Evia and the developed trade contacts with the eastern Mediterranean during the 10th century BC.
The state landscape of antiquity changes after the Hellenistic years with the dominant form of the monarch, which gathers all the powers. King of the Hellenistic era, emperor of the Roman, God forbid emperor of the Byzantine and sultan of the Ottoman.
The strong presence of Venetians on the island is reflected in the coins and sculptures of the Latin Empire .
The exhibition continues on the mezzanine floor with the section Colonization-Alphabet ,
where the visitor knows the migration movement of Evia in the Mediterranean, the creation of colonies
and transfer of the Evian alphabet to the West, which formed the basis of the Latin alphabet.
Also on the mezzanine floor, in a separate section, the History of the Building is highlighted ,
from its construction as a factory
until its renovation and operation as a museum.
On the first floor of the building, the exhibition is dedicated to the Economy and includes objects related to the primary sector of the economy (agriculture, livestock, fisheries, etc.) and the Lilantio field, an area rich in raw materials, mainly clay, but also a field of conflict between in Chalkida and Eretria.
The raw material processing sector is highlighted
with the important quarry complexes of Evia, where the Karystia stone was mined . Also, raw materials and metalworking objects from Prehistory are exhibited
up to Roman times. Special emphasis is given to Palamari of Skyros, an important station in the history of the circulation and processing of copper during the 3rd millennium BC.
At the same time, the maritime trade is presented
from the Classical to the Ottoman years with relevant exhibits of commercial activity.
The strategic position of the Venetian Negroponte, the later Ottoman Egriboz, is particularly prominent.
The section Cultural Identities develops the concept of cultural networks of communication and interaction and includes exhibits grouped in three major periods (Prehistory, Antiquity,
Byzantine Empire-Latin Empire-Ottoman Empire) and three geographical regions (Aegean, Mediterranean, Europe). Cycladic figurines, Evian and Attic vessels stand out,
lintel of the Byzantine era, a statue of the Virgin holding a baby in western style from the church of Agia Paraskevi and Ottoman tobacco syringes. Multimedia applications connect the cultural identities of the past with those of the present.
A special place is occupied by the fabric that covered the burnt bones of the man from Iroos in Lefkandi. It was transferred from the National Archaeological Museum and is exhibited for the first time in Evia 40 years after its discovery.
The last section of the exhibition includes exhibits about the Worship in Evia from prehistoric times
until the rise of Christianity.
Figurines and ritual vessels from prehistoric Evian sites are presented.
Aspects of historical times highlight exhibits related to deities of the Greek pantheon
whose worship was widespread in Evia. Finds are also displayed from Avlida, from the Mycenaean cemetery in Mikro Vathi and the sanctuary of Avlideia Artemis.
Next is the introduction of eastern deities in Evia, such as Isis, Cybele and Serapis,
and the phenomenon of deification of mortals and heroes.
The section is completed
with the consolidation of Christianity.
Short videos and multimedia applications frame all sections of the museum, which complement and explain the exhibition narrative in a simple and enjoyable way, while emphasizing important aspects of the history and daily life of Evia from Prehistory to modern times. times “.
That’s the end of our visit to the New Archaeological (Diachronic) Museum of Chalkida “ARETHOUSA”. An excellent museum, a museum made with the modern point of view of Museology and with infrastructures that make it accessible to everyone. A museum housed in a building worthy of its contents. It was just WONDERFUL!