was one of the four ancient cities of Kea
famous for its monumental architecture, its well built fortification and its silver coins, which indicate the city's economic
and demographic flourishing. In the period of its prosperity, from the end of the 6th century B.C. to the end of Greek Antiquity,
had an acropolis containing the public buildings and
the temples, the settlement, a theatre, a cemetery and a network of isolated defense towers. The literary sources and the
excavation finds bear evidence for the cultural and artistic activity of the ancient city.
J.P. Tournnefort, who travelled around Ceos in 1699, refers to the site as "Ioulis" but the excavations conducted
in 1811-1812 by P.O. Broendsted, confirmed its identification with Karthaia. At the beginning of the century (1905, 1920-21)
P. Graindor carried out excavations in the area of the fortification wall, the area of the temples and at Vathypotamos. The temples
of Athena and Apollo, and the Theatre were uncovered in 1963-65 during the clearing and excavations conducted by the
Archaeological Service. Since 1987, the Ephorate of Antiquities in collaboration with the University of Athens has carried out
systematic investigation on the site (drawings, clearing, excavations).
The most important monuments of the site are:
- The temple of Apollo Pythios
, is erected on an artificial
on the east border of Karthaia.
The temple, measuring 31 x 16 m., has six columns in antis and dates from the end of the 6th or the beginning of the 5th century B.C. In a niche hewn in the rock
to the west of the building, stood the cult statue of the god. In the area of the temple were found architectural parts, sculptures and inscriptions while at
its SW end, Christian burials were uncovered.
- The temple of Athena
. Doric, peripteral temple measuring 11 x 23 m., with a colonnade of 6 x 11 columns.
It is located near the SE gate of Karthaia and dates from the end of the 6th or the beginning of the 5th century B.C. Inside the temple were found architectural
members, fragments of the sculptural representation of Amazonomachy, as well as inscriptions on the intercolumnations.
- The fortification walls of Karthaia. Double-faced or retaining walls, reinforced with rectangular or circular towers. The enceinte follows the natural formation of the rocky ground,
forming recesses. The massive walls are built of polygonal or rectangular stone blocks, filled with small stones and other materials, and are dated to the end
of the 6th until the 4th century B.C. The enceinte is interruped by six gates, from which start roads, connecting the acropolis with the whole island.
- The theatre
lies on the south slope of the Karthaia hill and dates from the 1st century B.C.