Most Greeks know Amfissa because of the famous, tasty local olives. The rest of them just see the signs that lead to the city, as they overtaking going to Delphi, Arachova, Itea and Galaxidi . The few, the lucky few travelers, who will come here and wander around the old streets will discover one of the most beautiful towns of Central Greece, with many charming secrets .
Amfissa was one of the many mistresses of ancient God Apollo, which was granddaughter of the god Aeolus . According to Aristotle , however, the city took its name from the fascinating mountain of neighborhood: Amfissa meant the place surrounded by mountains. And this is not without reason cause the city is surrounded by the impressive peaks of Parnassus and the steep slopes of Giona mountains . In the ancient times the tribes of Ozoloi Lokroi lived here, and that city – the ancient Amfissa – was located exactly in the same position as today. The city was large and thriving and, at the years of major Greek colonization – specific in 673 BC – travelers from Amfissa founded the town of Epizefirioi Locri in Italy.
As you will see in front of the city and up to Itea lies a wonderful silvery olive grove. It is the ancient Krissaio Field which was to be the destruction of the city . Because it belonged to the Congress of Delphi so the cultivation of this land by the citizens of Amfissa was the cause of war. Namely the Third Sacred War , when the Macedonian king Philip the second came in 338 BC and devastated the nice Amfissa .
But time heals every disaster. So Amfissa was rebuilt, became the capital of Ozoloi Lokroi territory by the 2nd BC century and after the founding of Nicopolis (in western Greece) many Aetolians chose to emigrate to Amphissa when the city grew and became very powerful and rich.
Amfissa was known as Salona before some time. The city was named Salona possibly by Dalmatians (there is a city named Salona in Dalmatia ) who settled here, in the ruined by the invasions region, during the Middle Ages
Later the Franks founded the barony of Salona which was ruled by the Stromonkourt family for about 100 years. Later the Catalans came to Amfissa . And then the Turks came here…. And settled in Salona for 460 years . In fact they stayed until the Easter of 1821 , when the chieftains of Central Greece occupied the Castle of Salona and massacred all the Turks imprisoned there. From the city of Salona the whole revolution in Central Greece had started a few days ago (April of 1821) led by the chieftains Athanasios Diakos, Panourgias, Diovouniotis and the Bishop of Salona Isaiah.
Beautiful and heroic times you may tell… Certainly, but better ones are the times of peace. After the end of the Turkish occupation , the city prospered . The Ottoman buildings ( including six mosques ) were demolished and the devastating earthquake of 1870 destroyed many old houses. Magnificent neoclassical buildings were built in their place, and fabulous mansions appeared around lovely squares and under the shade of the castle’s pine trees.
Much of this beautiful architecture of the 19th and the early 20th century remained almost unchanged in today’s Amfissa : steep streets , a few steps, two storied neoclassical mansions with worn pastel colors of sweet decadence , with the impeccably antefixes , with carved doors and windows , small courtyards with orange trees and glorious palms. And among them poorly smaller houses , neighborhoods with brick masons and workshops, the district of Charmaina with the leather workshops, the beautiful churches, branches of sour orange blossom in the courtyard of the District Court , wet pine leaves by the cyclopean walls of the castle , scattered fragments of ancient mosaics beside the schools that still keep the names of the great scholars of Amfissa: Delmouzos , Gatos , Markides .
The next time that the road will bring you to Arachova , Delphi and Galaxidi just make a small detour to Amfissa . And discover another city well hidden within the slopes of Parnassus and Giona mountains , guarded by an olive grove, wide like a green ocean, were islets and reefs are the pointy tops of the cypresses .
Where am I ?
Amfissa is located very close to the famous archaeological site of Delphi and Itea . The best and quickest way to get here is by car, following the main road via Arachova and Delphi.
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