Chalkida, the historic capital of Evia, is of particular archaeological
interest. It was flourishing during the classical and Hellenistic periods. However,
the archaeological finds, as well as written evidence, confirm that the town had
been inhabited much earlier and was already flourishing in the Early Geometrical
period (1100-750 B.C.) trading with the West and East.
There are three explanations for the derivation of its name: firstly
it took its name from the copper mines, secondly from Chalkida, the daughter of
Asopos or thirdly from "Chalki" or "Kalki", the purple shellfish which the Phoenicians
used for a dye in the town.
Descriptions of ancient visitors and historians gives us a picture
of a large thickly-wooded city with one of the most important markets in Greece,
colonnades round the market place, many temples, beautiful public buildings, gymnasiums,
theatres, stately homes and fortified walls with tall towers. The town had two
harbours and a bridge with two towers at each end, over the channel
of Evripus. A fortified enceinte surrounded the town and a second larger one
surrounded Kanithos and Evripus.
There was also an important wall with towers round the acropolis of Chalkida which
was situated on the hill Vathrovouni, south of the modern town. The successive
destruction of the town by its various conquerors and the natural disasters which
it suffered over the centuries and the fact that the modern city is built on the
ruins of the ancient town are the reasons why the recent archaeological findings
don't reveal fully the beauty and greatness of ancient Chalkida.
This text (extract) is cited May 2003 from the Prefecture
of Evia tourist pamphlet (1997).