Temple of Ammon Zeus in Kallithea Halkidiki Greece

Temple of Ammon Zeus in Kallithea Halkidiki Greece

In 8th century B.C. residents of village Afitos, who were settlers from Euboea build the sanctuary of Ammon Zeus. The beauty of nature, water sources, dense vegetation and the natural cave in the area now called Kallithea motivated Afitians to build the sanctuary in this magical place. Back in those days it was the sanctuary of Dionysus. God Dionysus and the nymphs were worshiped in a cave under the rock in the southwest side of the temple area. Believers reached the cave through carved scale. Worshiping of Dionysus lasted until 2nd century A.D.

In the late 5th century B.C. a temple of Ammon Zeus of Egyptian origin was built at the flat surface in north region of the area. Initially an altar was built and later, in the second half of 4th century B.C. a peripteral temple of doric rythm architecture was built beside the altar. The temple had stone entablature (superstructure), which was later replaced by a marble one, in the end of the 3rd or the beginning of the 2nd century B.C. This happened after a destruction in the temple. 

In the Roman period (1st-2nd century A.D.) the temple was reconstructed. Using its materials two stepped constructions (grandstands) were built in its southern narrow side and between them, on the older altar, another small altar was built. In this outdoor area believers might sit and watched some events. The temple was permanently destroyed in the era of Constantine the Great's successors. 

The finding of a department of paleochristianic bath ("valanio"), excavated at the south end of the area, is probably an indication of continuation of worshiping in the first Christian centuries and mesovyzantine period. The bath is associated with the worshiping of Aesculapius and healing. The temple was abandoned and destroyed in the beginning of the 4th century A.D. The bath continued to be used until the middle or the end of this century and in the 5th century A.D. a watermill was built near the cave.

Today the remnants of the temple of Ammon Zeus is an important archaeological site to visit. The temple was discovered in 1969, during an excavation for a hotel construction.