The inhabitants of Nea Anchialos are originated from Anchialos of Eastern Romylia, now a days Bulgaria’s province.
Eastern Romylia is the name given by the Berlin’s convention (July 1878), at the Othonan Empire’s territory, which by that time was belonged to them. That name has been given most probably due to the majority of the inhabitants, who were Greeks, and they have had the prevalence of the spiritual, financial and commercial life.
By Berlin’s convention (based on ethnic criteria), two hegemonies would be created: 1) Bulgaria, as an independent state (tax payable at the sultan) and 2) Eastern Romylia-as an autonomous territory governed by the sultan.
In 1885, the Bulgarians taking advantage at the disability of the Turkish leadership and the toleration of the Big Forces, started to penetrate into Eastern Romylia. Serbia began a war and was bitten. Greece unable to move its forces at the borders, under the pressure of the Big Forces. Since then the Bulgarians planned the destruction of the Greek population, which lasted 40 years, until all of them have been moved away.
Anchialos of East Romylia
Old Anchialos church
Built by the city near it Appolonia (Sozopoli) 540 BC, which was one of the colonies of the Ionic city Militos
It has been constructed on one of the Black Sea’s peninsula, at a place where Pyrgos is situated.
It was an independent city with its own laws and currency. Apollo was the god adored by the inhabitants and the Militos buffalo was decorating their coins.
During the period of the Roman Empire, it has been named «Oulpia or Oulpian Anchialos», referring to emperor Trainon family name.
At the Byzantine empire’s period, its name change again to «Ahelo» corruption of which is «Anchialos». The name Anchialos is composed of «Anchi = next,close» and «alos = sea». Indeed, Anchialos was a city of the sea, and it has been characterized as the «Nymph of the Black Sea».
By that time it was a big development, specially in the commerce; it has been a big commercial port, since it was exporting to Venice and Genoa. Anchialos was the center of defense of the northern borders of the Byzantine Empire, since it was one of the most powerful cities near Konstantinoupolis (Instabul).
The city preserved its Greek character for 2,5 thousand years, which brought about prosperity, declining catastrophes, submission. For the last 200 years there is a great vivid tradition which speaks for itself.
By the annexation of the East Romylia to Bulgaria (1885), Anchialos became a Bulgaria prefecture. But even then the people of Anchialos continued to consider themselves pure Greeks.
Anchialos population was about 6000 people. Apart from the Greeks, who were the biggest part, there were also a few Bulgarians as well as Turks and gypsies. Except for the local people Anchialos was also inhabited by Greeks from other parts, such as Mesembria, Sozopolis, Pyrgos, Crete, Moria, Minor Asia, islands... This fact can be easily justified by examining the people’s surnames, which used to show their origin or their profession: i.e. Tzoumerkiotis (from Tzoumerka), Mesimbrinos (from Mesembria), Agathopolitis (from Agathopolis), Paramanas (because a relative was working as “paramana” = governess).
The main occupation of the local people was vine growing, commerce, salt production, shipping and fishing. They used to be divided into two local social classes: The “tsorbatzides” that is to say prosperous and the “badarakides” the people. Anchialos early adapted the bourgeoisie style of life. fashion came strictly from Paris. People’s behavior was very modern. As a consequence all these weakened the bond with the tradition.
The citizen of Anchialos is good and peace-full, hardworking and social. He loves joking, entertainment, dancing, singing, going to the theater. Deeply democratic, brave patriot. As far as the woman is concerned, she was always been a great help in the house and the society.
However, the excellent laying out of the city with its friendly population was totally burnt on the 30th of July 1906. The great city of Efxinos Pontos was gone for ever but not the culture and the local civilization which continued in two other cities: Anchialos of Macedonia and Nea Anchialos of Thessaly.
Postcard of Nea Anchialos
Nea Anchialos wine factory
When our ancestors arrived here, they have been given 54,000,000 square meters by the Greek government, bought from a local farmer, but only the 34,000,000 finally were useful as the other part was swamp.
Due to swap and the mosquitoes, they have to deal with tremendous problems such as malaria and haematuria. The number of dead people was so big that they had to fill two cemeteries of 10 acts each. Some of the people left and some of them went back to Bulgaria.
During the second world war, Nea Anchialos has been destroyed completely by Italians (27 April 1943, three days after Easter).
A few years later (2 March 1948), during the civil war, the town has been destroyed once more from the rebels.
Couple of years later, phylloxera destroyed all the vineyard of the area (approximately 4,000,000 sm.). They have been thinking to buy the American type but it was tremendously expensive.
In 1954, the earthquake demolished the biggest part of the city. But in spite of the hardship and sufferings they managed to survive.
Undoubtedly life in Greece, difficult as it was, changed lots of things, which influenced even the character of the people. However, there still remain a lot of elements in the mentality and they communicated them to the local people of Thessaly.