Ouranoupolis is a small town at the edge of the third peninsula of Halkidiki. Although the surrounding region is of exceptional natural beauty and fairly tourist-developed, Ouranoupolis is mostly famous as the port town from where the ferry to Mount Athos departs.

The town was founded in 315 B.C. by Alexarchos, brother of the king of Macedonia Kassander. In the ancient times, it was called Ouranopolis (meaning the town of the sky) and it developed as a trade centre. During an important excavation by archaeologist Manolis Andronicus in a close region in 1959, remains of a Hellenistic building were found as well as oil lamps, coins and personal items. At a small distance north of Ouranoupolis, a water bridge and a post Byzantine aqueduct have been found. Also at the east of the town, an important Roman grave dating from the 3rd century A.C. has been excavated.

The symbol of Ouranoupolis though is the Byzantine tower of Prosforio. The Byzantine tower of Ouranoupolis village was built in the 14th century, apparently before 1344. by monks of the Vatopedi Abbey in Mount Athos, to protect the area from enemy invasions. It is situated next to the small harbour of Ouranoupolis. This tower is part of a small fortified complex and serves as a base for the Prosforio monastery, which is a dependency of the Vatopedi Abbey.

Among the most remarkable features of this construction, we can mention the diversity of its origins, since the bottom part, which bears the structure of the tower, belongs to the Byzantine period, while the last two floors, and apparently some other parts that didn't survive centuries, date from the Turkish dominion that occurred after 1585. Regarding the interior of the tower, it is made of wood and it dates from the 19th century. It also has two wooden balconies.

Apart from all these origin facts, this Byzantine tower is also important in historical terms because since 1928, it constituted the home of the Loch couple, who supported the refugees of that time and created the current tradition in hand made carpets.

On the other hand, this tower is the biggest and the best maintained tower in Halkidiki, despite suffering an earthquake in the 19th century that destroyed the top floor. The surrounding buildings were built during the same period, one of which hosts the local municipal office.



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