© Ministry of Culture and Sports, © 10th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities
General view of the archaeological site
The ancient city of Kirra is situated in the bay of Itea, at the end of a valley, where the river Pleistos flows into the Corinthian gulf and the main roads from Thessaly, Boeotia, and western Greece meet with the seaways from the Peloponnese and the islands. Homer refers to the city as Krisa (Iliad, B, v. 250), and the poet Alkaios as Kirsa. It is mostly known, however, as Kirra (Strabo, 9.3.1, and Pausanias, 10.1, 2.8.8).

The earliest traces of habitation in the area date from the Early Helladic period. A large settlement was formed during this period and developed into a major commercial centre during the Middle Helladic period. It began to decline, however, at the end of the Late Helladic period, when most of its inhabitants abandoned the shoreline, most likely after a devastating earthquake, and settled in the hinterland's Mycenaean citadels.

In the Archaic period, rivalry between Kirra and Delphi for the control of the valley of the river Pleistos and the surrounding roads led to a ten-year war. The confrontation ended in 590 BC with the destruction of Kirra by the Great Amphictyonic League, the religious organization that supported the sacred site of Delphi. The city gradually recovered and, by the end of the sixth century BC, had founded an important sanctuary. It was later fortified and became an important port, which also served as a haven for both Delphi and Amphissa. The remains of several Byzantine and Medieval monuments, including those of an Early Christian basilica with its baptistery, bathhouses, and a coastal medieval tower made of re-used ashlar blocks from the ancient port, demonstrate that Kirra retained its importance during these periods. The modern village of Kseropigado was built over the ancient ruins of Kirra in 1870.

The French School at Athens undertook the first excavations at Kirra, which lasted from 1936 until 1938. Recent excavations are carried out by the Tenth Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.
A. Tsaroucha, archaeologist