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About city Gallery Where to stay

Chalcis, the capital and largest city of the Greek island Euboea, is spread out over both sides of the Euripus Strait, which separates it from mainland Greece. This little island is home to around 60,000 people and a multitude of industrial companies. Tourists mostly come here due to the city’s cultural, historical and architectural heritage.

Chalcis is one of the most beautiful Greek cities with a history that dates back to ancient times. It is thanks to the colonies of Chalcis (today’s Italian, Ionian Sea and other territories) that the world became acquainted with Greek characters. The famous alphabet of Chalcis - a precursor of Latin - was one of the first attempts at recording human history and life experience. The name of the city comes from chalkys, or copper, which was mined and processed in the nearby pits.

The Greek Town of Chalkida seafront
Photo taken by  The Greek Town of Chalkida seafront

Visiting the famous places of Chalcis should give great pleasure to those who want to spend more time exploring culture rather than the local beaches. Make sure you visit the archaeological museum, situated at the city centre, where you can see various artefacts brought from all around the island of Euboea.

Also, don’t forget to visit the basilica of St. Praskovya – the only remaining monument to early Christianity in Greece. Another impressive sight is the Castro neighbourhood with its peculiar mix of Venetian and Ottoman heritage. You can climb the Fortress of Karababa and take in the excellent panorama of the Aegean Sea and the Euboean strait. Other famous places include the 15th-century mosque of Emir Zade, a 19th-century synagogue, an ethnographic museum, the churches of St. Nicholas and St. Dmitry, a picture gallery and, last but not least, the extraordinary Euripus Strait.

Chalkida Bridge
Photo taken by  Chalkida Bridge

For six hours, the waters of the strait flow in one direction, then stop for eight minutes and start flowing in the opposite direction for six more hours, reaching the speed of 14 km/h. This happens for 23-24 days per month.

The last 4-5 days mark a change in this order: the water either flows in one direction or changes directions up to 14 times per day! During the spring and autumn equinoxes, the flow changes direction without the 8-minute break and reaches its maximum speed.

The waterfront of the city of Chalkida (Evia island, Greece), with its famous straights
Photo taken by  The waterfront of the city of Chalkida (Evia island, Greece), with its famous straights

People have been trying to solve this mystery for thousands of years - the first hypotheses were put forth during ancient times. According to legend, the reason why the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle drowned himself was his inability to figure out the mysteries of this natural phenomenon. In reality, he thought about this quirk a lot and even dedicated a book to it, called Meteorologica. He was convinced that this phenomenon is caused by waves and earthquakes that make the Earth vibrate.

Later it was determined that the alternation of the flow is actually caused by the changes in tide – the Euripus Strait sees two low tides and two high tides during a single 24-hour period. Many people gather on the old bridge of Chalcis and observe the phenomenon that brings so many tourists to the island’s capital. The famous Greek scientist Charalambos Sfetsos studied it for many years and wrote a book which presents many interesting facts about this mysterious phenomenon. No book is going to be as good as seeing it for yourself, though - all you have to do is come to Chalcis and step onto the old bridge at the appropriate time!

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