Nea Roda is the biggest refugee village in northern Halkidiki. It
was founded immediately after the Asia Minor destruction in a place called "Provlakas"
(= before the avlaki = before Xerxe's Canal ) by roughly 40 refugee families which,
after a year of roaming, reached Halkidiki in the summer of 23' and came to this
They came from Roda in the area of Propontida
near the Marmara Sea or "Sea of the Greek spirit". In 1901, about 700 Greek people
lived in the village. According to tradition they were settlers from Roda. In
the village at that time there were also about 100 Turks living here, who had
come from Koutali in 1700, by a Turkish order.
The whole area but also the wider region is presented as paradise:
Rich sea and fertile soil. They produced silk from silkworm cocoons, granite in
blocks, fish, fruit, olives, grapes, onions and a lot of other products,which
they promoted with boats to Istambul.
They had three churches (biggest being the church of Saint Dimitris) and an upgraded
level of school. Up to 1912 they lived happily. Then things started to change
when new Turks arrived. In all the Greek Asia Minor villages, the fear of slaughter
and exile prevailed, with the known conclusion of that black August in 1922. The
people of Roda fled in two different ways : Two boats left for Mitilini,
while most pass over to the island of Aloni and afterwards over to the island
of Marmaras. After 20 days the ship called Propontis picked them up and took them
over to an area in Thessaloniki called Karabournaki, in order to end up in an
area called Saint Barbara in Ano Toumba.There
they scattered in small teams.
In 1923 the team in Mitilini is the one that reached this region first,
rejecting the place of current Ouranoupolis considering it small and narrow so
it resided for a few months off-handedly in Ierissos. There they proposed for
their new village to be established after the harbour of Ierissos, but the locals
were opposed to this in fear of future union. So they finally selected the place
"Provlakas" and gave it the obvious name "Nea Roda".
The new village began to attract more refugees. A signifant number
of them reached in privately-owned boats from Skopia ( or Skoupia), an area on
the island of Aloni, opposite and very near Roda. The residents were mainly seamen
and tradesmen. Religious as they were, they first took with them the miraculous
icon of the Virgin Mary, who today is the protectress and pride of Nea Roda. Families
from Eastern Thrace, but also from Haraki and Gonia of Kizikou also arrived. In
the meantime the other people of Roda residing elsewhere were informed of this
new found land and most of them, correspond to the call, and also come to Nea
On the 14th of June in 1924 the exchange of populations began. The
last Greeks of Asia Minor were eradicated and entered Greece seeking a new homeland.
A big team from Kappadokia
in 1926 arrived in Nea Roda, and the village takes its final form. Antaval ( "Antavali's"
or "Antivalon") from the region of Nigdis in Kappadokia, was the homeland of this
team. The new village although turkish spoken, is completely greek with approx
1800 residents. The church of Saint Konstantine was built in the year 500 A.C.
and its ruins are preserved up to today. The name of the village emanates very
probably from the verb "antivallo" (= I oppose), because of the permanent litigation
with the turks. A place rocky, poor and barren, with marginal production, often
led the men for periodical work to Istamboul. Specifically in 1913-1923 they suffered
from Turkish pillages and lived in fear for their lives. When the command of abandonment
was given, with head leader their priest Agathaggelo, they left on their horsewagons
for Nigdi-Oulougousla and down to Mersina. After 1-2 months travelling north,
they reached the area of Saint George in Piraeus
and after Thessaloniki.
From there, a big part passed from Pirgadikia, Ouranoupolis and Orfani but due
to malaria and misfortunes they finally reached this region. For roughly 5 years
they resided in the surrounding area, and then, with the little help of the greek
government, they installed themselves and gave the village its current form.
Difficult years followed for all the residents. The nostalgia for
the homelands was expressed continuously with the wish "ante gia mas ke kali patrida!"
meaning 'to our health and a good return back to the homeland'. However there
was also the will for a new start. They opened upto the sea, they cultivated the
ground, and slowly - slowly progressed considerably.
There are barely any representatives alive of first generation of
refugees that may recall any of this however the knowledge of our history, is
precious for us, the younger generation.