Polygyros is a city of Central Macedonia, the capital of the prefecture of Halkidiki and the homonymous municipality. It is located 70 km southeast of Thessaloniki, is built at the foot of Mount Holomontas and has an altitude of 560 meters. According to the last census of 2011, the Polygyros urban complex has 6,121 inhabitants, while the kapodistrian municipality has 10,721.
In the northern part there is a verdant slope that rises up to the top of “Tsoukalas” peak (890m) where one can see a panoramic and enchanting spectacle: The three peninsulas of Sithonia, Kassandra and Mount Athos, with the majestic Mount Athos and the picturesque islands of Diaporos, Ammouliani and Khelyfou. To the south of Polygyros, low hills, ravines and streams lead to fertile slopes where the olive grove of Polygyros spreads.
Regarding the origin of the name Polygyros there are various speculations. Probably the combination of the words “very” and “sacred” might gave today’s name, because of a sanctuary that existed in the wider region. Another similar version replaces the “sacred” with the word “solid” due to the healthy climate of the area or the word “old” because of the great percentage of elders in the area. It has also been proposed the etymology of the name by a landowner of the area, Polyaros. A fifth theory attributes the name to the slopes of the successive hills, over which Polygyros is built.
In the general area of Polygyros or by some, in the area of today’s settlement, the ancient Apollonia can be traced, which was one of its 32 cities and was founded in 432 BC, as a domain of the Chalcidies. The Halkidian community, with the capital city of Olynthos, was subdued in 379 BC. to the Spartans; decades later, in 348 BC, Philippos the Macedon subjugated the area of Halkidiki under the Macedonian kingdom. In 168 BC. Halkidiki followed the fate of the whole Greece and was subjugated to the Romans. In 43 BC, the Roman colony of Cassandria was founded in Halkidiki, whose territory (territorium) stretched northeast to the southern foothills of “Ypsizonos” (Holomontas) and bordered on the territory of ancient Apollonia (estimated that their boundaries would be about six (6) km southwest of Polygyros).
The first written reference to Polygyros is located in a chrysobull of Emperor Nikephoros III Botaneiates, addressed to the monastic community of Mount Athos in 1080 AD. In 1430 Polygyros was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and was subordinated to the Thessaloniki (sanjak) in the palace of Pazarqiach, and belonging to the taxation of Longos. The inhabitants of Polygyros participate in the great revolutionary movement of 1821 and on 17 May of the same year they temporarily expel the local Turkish guard. In these operations, Polygyrinos Mavroudis Papageorgakis and Ioannis Stastaris were distinguished from the villages, who continued the struggle in southern Greece, as well as chief captain Ioannis N. Styloudis. Important figures of the Polygyros Revolution were Georgios Chrysiidis, the non-commissioned officers Christos Mavroudis and Georgios Pantoudis and the medical surgeon Christos Nikolaidis. Similar activity was manifested by the Polygyrins during the 1854 revolution under Tsami Karatasos. Eventually, after 482 years of Ottoman occupation, Polygyros was released on November 2, 1912 by the Greek army and was immediately incorporated into the Greek state.
The Archaeological Museum of Polygyros includes exhibits from the entire peninsula of Halkidiki, covering both prehistoric, geometric, archaic, classical, hellenistic and Roman periods. Excavations from the site of ancient Olynthos are also exhibited there. In the town there is also a Folklore Museum, which is nested in the Karagani house and includes, among other things, traditional costumes, agricultural tools and depicts a replica of an urban house in the beginnings of the 20th century (located at the first floor of the museum).
A great cultural event for Polygyros is the Polygyros Carnival, while during the summer months Polygyros Amphitheater hosts large, musical and theatrical performances at the Polygyros Festival. The Municipal Library of Polygyros operates in the Traganou residence, where creative activities for young and old are held throughout the year.