Chalkida

Chalkida (or Chalkis) is a modern town on the island of Euboea, and about 75 Km northeast from Athens. The current Jewish population is approximately 100, and the extant sites are a functioning synagogue and a cemetery.

 

Synagogue

 

It is located at 27 Koutsou St., most likely on the same site that it was erected after the Jews were allowed to move their ghetto into the town. There are indications that it was rebuilt after the fire of 1847, in the same proportions and using some of the remaining sections of the older synagogue. (For more on the history of the Jewish community of Chalkida, click here).  It is, thus, an important example of the traditional Romaniote type of Greek synagogue.

The exterior is low and modest. Adjacent to the synagogue is a small garden with an etrog tree, as well as other plants necessary for the celebration of Sukkot.

 

The cemetery

 

It is located on Mesapion St. The graves in the cemetery date from the Ottoman period. The earliest are of considerable interest as they have gabled superstructures that are slanted and with an opening at the head to permit the insertion of a commemoration stone. Most of the 16th century graves have disintegrated and the headstones have been incorporated into the arches above the windows of the synagogue. (A number of other headstones in the synagogue were found during the razing of the old Venetian fortifications of Chalkida. It is recorded that the Jews were forced to assist in constructing those fortifications in the 14th century, using material from their own cemetery)

 

Colonel Mordechai Frizis monument

 

Mordechai Frizis, a native Jew of Chalkida, was the first Jew to graduate from the Greek officers school, and was killed in the Albanian campaign of the Second World War. He was well known as a brave and popular leader to his troops.

 

Location:  Just after crossing the bridge from the mainland to Chalkida, you will see a public park on your right. Facing the water, the third one of the row of commemorative statues is that of Frizis.

 

Based on Jewish Sites and Synagogues of Greece -

Nicholas P. Stavroulakis and Timothy J. DeVinney - Talos press