Eretria is one of the most well-known tourist resorts in Evia and is located in the west coast of the island, opposite the Attica prefecture. It has been inhabited since antiquity and the oldest written mention of it can be found in Homer’s Iliad, where it is mentioned as one of the Greek cities that participated to the Trojan War. Eretria and its neighbour city Chalkida had been competing in flourish and power during the 8th century B.C. and were both significant trading and cultural centers. Eretria had a great impact on several islands of the Aegean Sea, including Tinos and Andros as well as in various cities located in the mainland. The inhabitants of Eretria were descendants of the Ionians and constant allies of the forceful Athenians, and this very fact contributed a lot to be protected from external threats. In the end of the 8th century BC, however, the Lelantine War broke out. Without being able to know lots of details about this particular war, from various manuscripts of Thucydides it becomes clear that Eretria was eventually defeated and lost its control over the Aegean Islands and some parts of the mainland, previously under its influence. This was the start of a prolonged period of decay for both cities.
Eretria, being an ally of the Athenians as mentioned above, couldn’t have done anything else but participated alongside Athens in the revolt of the Ionian Greeks of Asia Minor against the Persians in 499 BC. Darius, however, hadn’t forgotten Eretria’s involvement in the revolt and in 490 BC, when he invaded Greece he decided to punish the city by shacking it and burning it to the ground. Despite this retaliation act against their city, the inhabitants of Eretria remained allies of Athens during the Peloponnesian War against Sparta as well. But soon the Athenian leadership of the Alliance of Delos (which had been formed to promote better collaboration among the greek cities against common enemies like the Persians and whose members were considered equal) became oppressive, converting arbitrarily the institution into an Athenian Empire. As a result, when the Spartans won over the Athenians in the Battle of Eretria in 411 BC, the cities of Evia revolted. Athens soon after its defeat regained its strength and restored its influence over the island of Evia, but Eretria revolted once more in 349 BC and this time nothing could be done. In the next years the city was sometimes under the influence of Athens, some other of Macedonia and later of Romans, until it was destroyed completely and deserted in 87 BC during the Mithridatic Wars.
The modern city of Eretria was built soon after the Greek Indepence, in 1824. It is a very popular holiday destination with an abundance of tourist facilities, restaurants, cafeterias and bars for all tastes as well as a beach next to the deep blue sea to swim and sunbathe. During your stay here you can admire the remains of the city’s glorious past. Relatively recently, excavations took place in the area, bringing to the light of day the Temple of Apollo Dafnoforos as well as lots of other interesting finding that are currently displayed in the archaeological museum of the city.