“The cellars of Gerakini and Stratoni…”
N. Kavvadias, Fata Morgana
Today’s Stratoni is a seaside village built in the Ierissos bay and has more than 1.200 residents (according to the 2011 census). It was founded in the late 19th century and is directly related to the mining activity in the area. The rich mixed sulphide ore deposits, discovered since ancient times and byzantine era, were the main resources of the village. Since then, many people from Stratoni and from many other parts of Greece came to work in the mines.
The population greatly increased due to the arrival of refuges coming after the Asia Minor disaster. In 1932, the village suffered extensive damag from the earthquake with an epicenter in Ierissos bay. It was totally reconstructed in the next few years. The region was inhabited since ancient times and the mining activity in Stratoni and the nearby villages started in approximately 600 B.C. The 1962 excavations showed that Stratoni was built were the ancient Stratoniki was. Claudius Ptolemy mentions this city but places it by mistake in Siggitikos bay.
The history of the area is reflected to the significant archaeological findings. A part of a marble votive relief, that is hosted in the archaeological museum of Polygyros, dated in the early roman era, was found in a private garden. It’s a frontal upright female figure, dressed in a long robe, holding a cornucopia and a garment in her left hand. It is probably a representation of goddess Isis-Luck. She is the so called “lady of Stratoni”.
In 1962, during the drilling of water wells in front of the Mutual fund of Cassandra Mines, a rectangular building with 10x6m dimensions was discovered, with a south entrance and a north-south axis. It had a main 5x5,5m chamber and a 5x3m antechamber connected by a 1,8m wide door. The walls are preserved to a 0,8m height. A 2,20x0,78m marble sarcophagus was found along the west wall. A pedestal was found in the center of the wall surrounding the main chamber. In front of it, there was an approximately 2m in height intact statue of a woman in prone position.
There was a headless statue of a man wearing garments between the woman’s statue and the sarcophagus. A third male torso was also found, together with a rectangular plate showing an after funeral dinner baring the inscription “Neikoptelema Epilykou, heroine, rejoice”, and the portrait of a male’s head that obviously belonged to a torso of Claudian times. Also, a headstone with the inscription "unenvied Arissidios Tierteou”. Another plate has the inscription “Herodoros Theagenous”. A built, box shaped tomb and an urn containing a few bones were discovered inside the chamber. It is probably a monument of the 1st century B.C. Open tombs of roman and later eras, together with ruins of houses were found south of the village, on the slopes of the hills. Shells of Hellenistic and Byzantine eras together with a sealed amphora handle were collected. Four pieces of marble, recently broken from a torso of a male statue were collected from the courtyard of a house.
A built tomb with an arched roof and clay bricks (2,40x1,25x1,20m) was discovered south of the village, on the top of the first seaside hill which is steep on its side of the sea and is covered with olive trees. The eastern narrow side had a rectangular niche, surrounded by marble slabs. The ground consisted of clay and marble slabs. A clay slab has an engraved cross and a letter of the word “ΘΕΟΥ” (of God) in every corner. The tomb was full of bones that were not in their original position.
Residents of Stratoni, despite coming from different places, formed a unified, harmonious whole, and were always distinguished for their love of culture. Many artistic and local events took place during its history. Amateur theatrical performances –even before the war-, establishing of a musical-gymnastic group in the 1950's, painting exhibitions, band operation, dance group, organization of spectacular carnival events, three-day peace days, concerts of great artists are some of the samples of cultural tradition Stratoni has to show and which is still continued through the activities of the local associations.