Dionysus’ Temple


The cave of “Dionysus and Nymphs” (also known as “cave of the sanctuary of Dionysus”) is located east of the settlement of Kallithea, in the coastal zone, and it is part of the wider archaeological site of the sanctuary of Ammon Zeus. It was located in 1971, during excavations that preceded the construction of an adjacent hotel. It opens at the base of a precipitous slope. It is a horizontal cave with a dual cause of genesis (natural and artificial-anthropogenic). It consists of a travertine elongated, naturally shaped section of the A-D direction, and an artificial tunnel with a B-N address, possibly of a hydro-hydraulic character. Its branches have a total length of about 31 meters. The current entrance of the cave is arched and narrow, while a second, probably the main one, has been filled with deposited materials. The caves are dominated by stalagmites and corals. Above the cave there is a small hollow-niche, in which a scale carved on the rock.

The sacred cave was identified with the Dionysus sanctuary in the ancient secretariat of a marble head of Dionysus and an inscribed shell of the 5th century BC. offering to the sanctuary, with the engraved inscription “ONYOS”, was discovered there. According to the excavations, the sanctuary of Dionysus and the Nymphs was founded by the inhabitants of ancient Afytos in the second half of the 8th century BC. Xenophon gives us in Greek (5.3.19) a brief description of the sanctuary: during the Peloponnesian war operations in Halkidiki, the Spartan king Agesipolis suffered suddenly and suffered from a high fever. And “as he had before seen the sanctuary of Dionysus in Afitos, he sought him for his shady place and his crystal clear waters.”

The Palaeoanthropology of Speleology of Northern Greece carried out research work and survey of the cave in 2004, while in 2005 geophysical research was carried out in collaboration with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.