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Administrative Region : Central Macedonia
Regional unit : Kilkis

Palaio Gynaikokastro (Παλαιό Γυναικόκαστρο ) Kilkis

Palaio Gynaikokastro is located 15 km SW from Kilkis, 45 km from Thessaloniki and 19 km from Polykastro and belongs to the Municipality of Kilkis. Palaio Gynaikokastro is connected by an asphalt road and has regular transport to Kilkis and Thessaloniki. In 1922 the population was 2,000 inhabitants and today does not exceed 1,000, of which only 500 are permanent residents. The rest of the population gradually migrated to Kilkis, Thessaloniki or Germany. The main occupations of the inhabitants are agriculture and animal husbandry.

Gynaekocastro

History

Palaio Gynaikokastro is built on the foundations of Gynaikokastro.

It is an old settlement, followed by the Byzantine era. The Greeks lived in the village until 1907. The Greek quarter was in "Karaouli". In 1907 the Greeks left due to the Bulgarian violence. Many settled in Zevgolatio, Corinth, such as the family of Ioannis Papaioannou. [1]

Today's inhabitants are mainly Pontians and Caucasians, whose refugees come from the villages of Kars in Pontus and in fact from Peperek and Toroskov in the Ardahan region, where they settled after the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78, moving from villages in the Argyroupolis area. There is also a small percentage of Sarakatsani.

Twelve families from Peperek came to Greece in 1913 by ship and left for Kavala. In 1914 another 40 families came from Serres. Before World War I, they were forced to retreat and land in Batumi. In the last phase of their journey, however, they were hit by two Turkish warships and forced to land in Tuapse, Russia, in the autumn of 1914. Their adventures, which had begun many years ago, would end only in 1922 with the Asia Minor Catastrophe on Greek soil.

They returned to Greece in 1922 in Karabournaki, Kalamaria and then settled in Avret-Hissar (in the Turkish Avret - Hisar (Castle of the Husbands / Women), as the Old Woman's Castle was then called.

Castle

Gynaekocastro2

Gynaikokastro from the west

P. Gynaikokastro is known thanks to the ruins of its castle. A strong bastion of Thessaloniki, 45 km north of it, oversees the area between the French and Axios rivers. The fortress rises on a natural steep hill, at an altitude of 200 [meters] and has an area of ​​about 25 acres, enclosed by stone walls. At the top of the castle there is the tower and on the walls are still visible the defensive positions. In the western part and within the walls there is a well with a diameter of 2 meters and a depth of 28 meters. Part of the well seems to be covered in rubble, estimating that its actual depth reaches 70 meters, according to residents. According to them, it is also speculated that in 1922 there was a wooden floor in the background, while according to others it is said that from the bottom of the well there was an exit gallery, which ended in an adjacent river. The current version of the existence of the gallery outside, explains that probably through this gallery, the inhabitants inside the walls were supplied with drinking water during the siege of the castle.

This natural steep rock, due to its morphology and from the excavations carried out in its eastern part, had been inhabited pre-Christian (1100 BC - Iron Age). In this section, pre-Christian tombs have been found with directions to the south, which confirm the existence of settlements for the last three thousand years.

The Byzantine castle was founded by Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos, in 1328-1341 for the defense and protection of the settlements of the area from the barbaric raids. It was a very strong fortress and Byzantine officials lived there. It is also known from the dynastic struggles of Ioannis Kantakouzinos and the civil wars of 1341.

This was resorted to in the summer of 1342 by the Governor of Thessaloniki, Lieutenant General Theodoros Synadinos, with a thousand aristocrats, when they were endangered by the popular uprising of the Zealots, as well as Kantakouzenos and his soldiers.

In 1384, Gazi Evrenos, after Serres, Drama, the Monastery, the Gynaikokastro and the Castle of Agios Vassilios, which he destroyed.

Gynaikokastreia

"Gynaikokastreia" takes place annually on the first weekend in August in the open air "Platania" under the view of the Castle, which is lit these days.

The program of events usually includes children's programs (clowns, stilt walkers, jugglers, etc.), traditional dances and songs from Pontus, Crete, Macedonia and Thrace, offering traditional Pontian delicacies and revival of traditional customs (Pontian Wedding, etc.).
Faces

Agios Ioannis o Nannos

Bibliography

Kilkis 1984, published by Machitis, Thessaloniki 1984. Kilkis Diary.
24a Gynaikokastreia, Ed. published by the Municipality of Kilkis. Kilkis 2004. Cultural events

References

Pavlos Georgiou Tsamantouridis (2002). The Byzantine Castle (Avret Hissar) Old Kilkis Women's Castle. Kilkis: Fighter. pp. 37. ISBN 960-8040-07-8.

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