Euboea or Evia (/juːˈbiːə/; Modern Greek: Εύβοια, Evvoia; Ancient Greek: Εὔβοια, Eúboia) is the second-largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about 180 kilometres (110 mi) long, and varies in breadth from 50 kilometres (31 mi) to 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). Its geographic orientation is from northwest to southeast, and it is traversed throughout its length by a mountain range, which forms part of the chain that bounds Thessaly on the east, and is continued south of Euboea in the lofty islands of Andros, Tinos and Mykonos.
Glittering cities and humble villages. Medieval castles and byzantine fortresses. Charming villages and historical churches.Verdant canyons and barren mountains. Forest trails and endless beaches. Thermal springs and fossilized bones. Fertile valleys and magnificent waterfalls. The oblong island of Euboea is only an echo of the prehistoric continental land blessed with beautiful sceneries that invite you to discover them, in spring, in summer, in autumn or even in winter. An entire world of contrasting sceneries is ready to captivate you!
The northern side of Euboea is considered as one of the most beautiful regions of the island that combines verdant mountainous landscapes with panoramic views of the endless blue. Picturesque villages and archaeological monuments of great civilizations are scattered through the mountain landscapes with dense pine forests and olive groves. Hike to the outstanding trails to discover the pristine nature of the northern part of the island with landscapes of immense natural beauty. Between the Aegean Sea and the Euboean Gulf lies the central side of the island rich in diversity of marvellous sceneries.
The heart of Euboea is encompassed from the beautiful capital of Halkida, the remarkable archaeological monuments of Eretria, the balcony of the Aegean known as Kymi that will take your breath away! Astonishing mountainous and seaside villages are blessed with diversified landscapes. Nonetheless, one should not forget the wild landscapes of the southern side of Euboea! This side of the island is blessed with beautiful gorges and dense vegetation, beautiful sandy beaches, the picturesque Aegean Archipelago, the legendary’ Cavo Doro and the unique Drakospita! Spectacular gorges are waiting for you to discover the magnificent scenery’ of dramatic landscapes with pristine rivers under the spring concerts of the birds and endless seashores endowed from all the shades of blue.
Charming villages with red tiled roofs climbing in the slopes of the mountains and wooden bridges passing over rivers, wild mountains with chestnut forests and beautiful waterfalls, an abundant number of natural sceneries, and as the island said itself, an entire world of contrasting sceneries is ready to be discovered!
Euboea was believed to have originally formed part of the mainland, and to have been separated from it by an earthquake. This is fairly probable, because it lies in the neighbourhood of a fault line, and both Thucydides and Strabo write that the northern part of the island had been shaken at different periods. In the neighbourhood of Chalcis, both to the north and the south, the bays are so confined as to make plausible the story of Agamemnon‘s fleet having been detained there by contrary winds. At Chalcis itself, where the strait is narrowest at only 40 m, it is called the Euripus Strait. The extraordinary changes of tide that take place in this passage have been a subject of note since classical times. At one moment the current runs like a river in one direction, and shortly afterwards with equal velocity in the other. A bridge was first constructed here in the twenty-first year of the Peloponnesian War (410 BC).
Geography and nature divide the island itself into three distinct parts: the fertile and forested north, the mountainous centre, with agriculture limited to the coastal valleys, and the barren south.
The main mountains include Dirfi (1,743 m (5,719 ft)), Pyxaria (1,341 m (4,400 ft)) in the northeast and Ochi (1,394 m (4,573 ft)). The neighboring gulfs are the Pagasetic Gulf in the north, Malian Gulf, North Euboean Gulf in the west, the Euboic Sea and the Petalion Gulf. At the 2001 census the island had a population of 198,130, and a total land area of 3,684 square kilometres (1,422 sq mi).
The history of the island of Euboea is largely that of its two principal cities, Chalcis and Eretria, both mentioned in the Catalogue of Ships. Both cities were settled by Ionian Greeks from Attica, and would eventually settle numerous colonies in Magna Graecia and Sicily, such as Cumae and Rhegium, and on the coast of Macedonia. This opened new trade routes to the Greeks, and extended the reach of western civilization. The commercial influence of these city-states is evident in the fact that the Euboic scale of weights and measures was used among the Ionic cities generally, and in Athens until the end of the 7th century BC, during the time of Solon. The classicist Barry B. Powell has proposed that Euboea may have been where the Greek alphabet was first employed, c. 775-750 BC, and that Homer may have spent part of his life on the island.
Chalcis and Eretria were rival cities, and appear to have been equally powerful for a while. One of the earliest major military conflicts in Greek history took place between them, known as the Lelantine War, in which many other Greek city-states also took part. Following the infamous battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium, Persian forces captured and sacked Athens, and also took Euboea, Boeotia, and Attica, allowing them to overrun almost all of Greece. In 490 BC, Eretria was utterly ruined and its inhabitants were transported to Persia[clarification needed]. Though it was restored nearby its original site after the Battle of Marathon, the city never regained its former eminence.
Both cities gradually lost influence to Athens, which saw Euboea as a strategic territory. Euboea was an important source of grain and cattle, and controlling the island meant Athens could prevent invasion and better protect its trade routes from piracy.
Athens invaded Chalcis in 506 BC and settled 4,000 Attic Greeks on their lands. After this conflict, the whole of the island was gradually reduced to an Athenian dependency. Another struggle between Euboea and Athens broke out in 446. Led by Pericles, the Athenians subdued the revolt, and captured Histiaea in the north of the island for their own settlement.
By 410 BC, the island succeeded in regaining its independence. Euboea participated in Greek affairs until falling under the control of Philip II of Macedon after the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, and eventually being incorporated into the Roman Republic in the second century BC. Aristotle died on the island in 322 BC soon after fleeing Athens for his mother’s family estate in Chalcis. From the early Hellenistic period to well into the Roman Imperial period, the island was organized into the Euboean League.