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Nea Anchialos

Nea Anchialos is a city in central Greece on the Pagasitic Gulf south of Volos. In late antiquity it was the third city of the province of Thessaly and its major port. The ancient city centered on the upper acropolis, while the early Christian city lay in the plain near the sea on the site of ancient Pyrasos. The city prospered from the 4th to the 7th century when it was the dominant town on the Pagasitic Gulf. It was destroyed by a great fire at the end of the 7th century; there is evidence of some rebuilding immediately after the fire and again in the 9th century, but the city never fully recovered and its place was later taken by Halmyros. The bishop of Thessalian Thebes, amply attested in the epigraphic and documentary evidence, is last mentioned in the 8th/9th century. The latest evidence of Nea Anchialos is a coin hoard of the early 9th century.

Nea Anchialos is best known because of the many churches excavated there (nine basilicas have been found). Basilica A, dedicated to St. Demetrios, was the episcopal church, a three-aisled basilica similar to the Church of Acheiropoietos in Thessaloniki, with an atrium possibly flanked by towers; it was built sometime in the late 5th or early 6th century Basilica B, the so-called Elpidios Basilica, has a similar chronology; Basilica G, called the "church of the archiereus (bishop) Peter" on the basis of an inscription of the mid-6th century discovered at the site, has elaborate floor mosaics and is part of a vast ecclesiastical complex; its earliest phase dates to the late 4th or early 5th century Basilica D, dated to the 7th century, was a cemetery church located outside the city walls. Excavation of the harbor revealed places for anchorage.

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Plan of Nea Anchialos churches.jpg


Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium edited by Alexander Kazhdan


Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

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