Akontisma still features big and small treasures reminiscent of the cultures and people that once upon a time lived, fought and flourished in the area. From the presence of Thassian merchants in ancient times and Roman soldiers in pre-Christian times to recent years and the influence of refugees from Cappadocia, the settlement gathers a set of sights of great archaeological and folklore interest within its boundaries.
We begin with the outer gate of the settlement, next to the reception of the guest house, where you can find the garden of Remembrance with its special monuments. There you will experience, within a few square meters, the moving stories of people who inhabited this special place. If you are lucky, you may even meet Kaplanis, the chairman of the local Cultural Center, sitting at the marble table and telling these stories in his own special way.
Going up the stairs to the main square one can gaze at the beautiful chapel of Agios Mamas, which in fact hosts the eponymous shrine and is the epicenter of the festival that takes place in early September.
Just below, you may stop for a sip of refreshing water from the twin ‘‘fountains of the lions’’ or for a visit to the all-white tower that houses the so-called Cappadocian Treasure, a monument of the refugee history of the area. The Treasure hosts selected exhibits from the Historical Ethnological Museum of the Greeks of Cappadocia, the Center for Cappadocian Studies as well as a historical archive open to any researcher, traveler or person with origins from Cappadocia. From the same place you can get souvenirs or arrange a tour of the museums of Nea Karvali.
Behind the Treasure you may meet Fontana Di Venere, a stone-built fountain of constant water flow, a favorite stop for eternal lovers. According to a legend of the Pax Romana era, a Roman soldier envisioned the goddess Aphrodite emerging from the sea and swore eternal love to the chosen one of his heart. A few meters further one can admire the imposing restored Odeon of the Muses and the eponymous ancient Fountain, where cultural events are often held. Following the eastern ring road of the settlement visitors meet AENAON, also a venue for events, where the archaic pagan past meets the Christian present through the harmonious coexistence of the temple of the Ascension with the restored Tribune of the Thassians, who first inhabited the place. All this on a plateau with a panoramic view that will impress you.
From Aenaon begins an impressive and accessible path that, crossing Alma and the olive grove of Akontisma, leads to the top of the hill where the surviving walls and fortifications of the Hercontroma fortress loom. In Roman antiquity there was the eastern end of the province of Macedonia Prima. Besides, next to the settlement, on the edge of the hill, passed the ancient Via Egnatia, which connected the West with the East, and Akontisma was the most important stop during this journey.
At the base of the hill are the Seven Pillboxes, dreary monuments of the Balkan Wars, during which the settlement was completely destroyed and deserted for the first time after twenty five centuries of uninterrupted habitation.
At the same point is the entrance cave to the Tunnels of the Old Mines, where every year a very important and popular custom wider area is revived: There at Christmas time, Saint Basil the Great, the Orthodox Santa Claus, waits for young and old in the cave to tell them about his tradition.
Finally, nature and adventure lovers shall know that the same path continues for kilometers up to the Rhodope Mountains, offering a magnificent landscape with scattered traditional mountain villages. A tour of the wider area is worth trying on foot, by bike, by motorcycle or even on horseback. Akontisma will always be the starting and final point!