Archaeological site of Cassope
Cassope, capital of Cassopaea, was built before the mid-4th century BC, in a naturally fortified location, within a plateau, at an altitude of 550-650 m, on the slopes of Zalongo, in order to protect the fertile plain extended on the southern part by Helian colonists. The city flourished during 3rd century BC, when big public buildings and many houses were built.
Inside its polygonal fencing, walls of 3, 20-3, 50 m wide, b – there were about 600 two storey houses, on plots of 230 m2, all of them facing toward the South and with excellent construction and functionality, connected to a road and to a common drainage channel system with covered sewer.
Cassope was founded during the first half of 4th century BC after the unification of the settlements in the wider area. Firstly, it was organized as (“polis-kratos”) “city-state”, and it was the capital of the tribe of Cassopaeans. The city’s crucial geographical position, gave it the possibility to control the mainland, as well as the coastline. Cassope was designed according to geometrical town planning system, where a grid of horizontal and vertical streets create the city’s blocks that had an exceptional drainage system. For its fortification, a powerful polygonal wall was erected on the vulnerable parts of the city.
Political agora was on the centre of public life and it is situated on the southeast of Cassope, offering a great bird’s eye view over the Amvrakikos gulf and the Ionian Sea. Agora’s (market’s) final shape was formed at the end of the 3rd century BC, in a period when the flourishing city was inhabited by approximately 10.000 people. The north and west side were surrounded by two Galleries (Stoes), with Doric columns on the façade, and on the east side there was Odeon or Bouleuterion. On the façade and its east side, the north Gallery had statues, all dedicated to the city. Behind the West Gallery, there was the Prytaneion, which was the administrative centre and the seat of Prytaneis. On the north side of Agora, we can find Katagogeion, a monumental building, functioning either as a public guest house, either as commercial market of the city. On its northwest side, there is the grand theatre, accommodating about 6.000 people, whereas, on the southwest side, an underground beehive tomb, is considered to be the Memorial of its founder.
Outside Cassope’s walls, at Zalongo col, we can find the foundations of a small peripteral temple, dedicated to Venus, the goddess that protected Cassopaeans.
The devastation of the mainland cities by the Romans in 167 BC, affected Cassope, but the city was completely abandoned, when Nikopoli was founded in 31 BC, when the citizens were forced to settle the new city.
Today at the archaeological site of Cassope, there are some works in progress, so as to improve and enhance the central part of the city, as well as the grand theatre. When they are going to be implemented, the visitor will be able to have a complete overview over the urban organization and functioning of a Hellenistic city. The archaeological site of Cassopeis extended on an area of about 35 acres, 27 km far from Preveza.
Open 8.30 – 15.00 every day except Monday.
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