Mariana Tower

LocationNea Olynthos

The Late Byzantine tower of Mariana is 1.5 km north of the archaeological site and today’s settlement of Olynthos (former Myriophytos) on the left side of the provincial road to Polygyros. The tower was built in 1374. It was the center of a possession of the Monastery of Dochiaries. This name of the area – “Amaryana” – has long been known. It is first mentioned in a 996 document.

The tower of Mariana served as a center of residence and defense of the estate of Dochiarios monastery. It was probably surrounded by a wall that surrounded the hill as well as the chapel, part of which survives to about 150 meters. In the course of the years – from the 16th century onwards – it became a Turkish settlement – until 1912. There was a time when in the tower, a Turk named Eriff Tselepis, was installed and robbed the passers-by.

It is one of the most beautiful examples of Byzantine towers in Chalkidiki, for the construction of which beside the stone from the adjacent quarry (still works today) a number of ceramics (characteristic of Byzantine masonry) and ancient architectural members were used from the ruins of ancient Olynthos .

Today it is preserved at a height of about 12 meters and 3 floors. (initially 15 m) The entrance is 2 meters from the surface of the earth and was secured by a wooden staircase which has not been saved. After the entrance there is a small vestibule and a left-built spiral staircase leading to the 1st floor.

The main space is housed with a vaulted ceiling of bricks and probably a reservoir. The walls of the first floor are only partially saved, while the niches in them betray the existence of a chapel (common within the towers, if not the rule). From the second floor only a small part of its lower walls are preserved. Interesting elements in its masonry are, apart from the few marble sections (columns and pilasters) from ancient Olynthos, a relief and two ceramic shapes. The embossment is on the facade and represents a cross between two leaves.

On the facade also, with the corners, cross is formed and the abbreviation IC XC N K (Jesus Christ Nika). The vaulted recess above the entrance was used to place the image of the saint’s prostate. At the southern wall, we observe the cruciform of the Dochiariou Monastery, which confirms the version saved in the Mount Athos for the construction of the tower.

150 m northeast of the tower, opposite the road is the ruined church of Agios Nikolaos. From a short excavation research it was revealed that it is a very remarkable building. It is a large paleochristian basilica. Perhaps it was the temple of the Amaryans and not just the chapel of the house. A more recent chapel has been built on the ruins of the temple.