Castles of Greece


Skala of Avdira, Abdera, Xanthi,East Macedonia & Thrace


or Castle on the beach of Avdira  
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Skala, 5 km south of Avdira, next to the archaeological site, Thrace, North Greece
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
East Macedonia & Thrace
Municipality > Town:
City of Abdera
• Skala of Avdira
Elevation ≈ 5 m 
Time of Construction   Origin
before 9th century  
Castle Type   Condition
Fortified Settlement  
Rather Poor

Right next to the archaeological site of Avdira -but not inside- there are remains of a Byzantine fortified town.

The place is the continuation of the important ancient city of Avdira (or Abdera, where Democritus was born) which during the Byzantine period was named Polystylon

The chronology of Polystylon is not known exactly. It is not clear whether the location was inhabited in the early Byzantine period. Probably it was. The origin of some graves outside the fortification is timed before the 9th century, while the place was fully developed, according to the findings in the site, between the 12th and 14th centuries.

Structure, Fortification & Buildings

The Byzantine township of Polystylon occupies the acropolis of the ancient city of Abdera. Its defences, approximately 800 metres long, follow more or less the contours of the hill. Built on bedrock and, at places, over the Classical defences, their width varies from 2.40 to 3.50 metres, depending on whether the wall is single (north and south sides) or double (northwest side). Several rectangular towers and an outer wall along the more vulnerable, northwest side complete the Byzantine system, while two gates on the north wall and a small one on the west allowed access into the town.

Within the defences, an internal wall divides the town into two roughly equal parts, while a second one forms, together with the eastern defence wall, the Byzantine acropolis with its two towers dating to the years of John Kantakouzenos. Recent excavation revealed a series of religious and public buildings of the Byzantine period. One of the latter, located in the west part of the acropolis, is a rectangular bath building, with three rooms, of which the middle one was heated. Near the main north gate is a single-aisled church, its dome supported by four shallow arches. The church stands in the middle of a cemetery with simple cist graves containing wooden coffins. The church was built in the twelfth century and destroyed in the fourteenth.

The middle section of the settlement, at the peak of the acropolis hill, contained the episcopal church. This Middle-Byzantine basilica consisted of a portico, a narthex, a naos divided into three aisles by two rows of massive pillars, and a sanctuary. Under the floor of large marble slabs of various sizes were contemporary and later graves. A square room at the northwest corner of the church is interpreted as the bishop's quarters. The episcopal church was built in the ninth century and destroyed in the mid-fourteenth century. It was founded over the remnants of an earlier three-aisled basilica, of which parts are still visible in the central and south aisle. The baptistery at the northeast corner of the church, with its cruciform baptismal font, belongs to the earlier building. Between the baptistery and the bishop's quarters is a portico used for burials. Two built graves erected against the north wall of the church are thought to belong to important people. It is here that a painted rosette within a cross of the eleventh-early twelfth century was found; it is now in the Abdera Archaeological Museum. Around the church are partially excavated houses and various other buildings that have not been investigated yet.


  • Article in the Website of the Greek Ministry of Culture "ΟΔΥΣΣΕΥΣ", author Stavroula Dadaki - Polystylon

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Road map to Polystylon

Approach to the monument:
From Xanthi, follow the direction to Avdhira and from there to the aAvdhira archaeological site, 18km to the south, by the sea. Polystylon is next to it.
Free entrance. The fortification is outside of the archaeological site where the entrance is not free.

Other castles around
Fortress of Avgo
Castle of Peritheorio
Castle of Poroi
Xanthi Castle