© Ministry of Culture and Sports
Aerial photography of the Elea Archaeological Site
The settlement of Elea, Chrysavgi municipality department, well known as "Castle of Veliani", is located on a naturally fortified plain, at the foot of the mounts of Paramythia, above the Acheron - Kokytos valley. The settlement was founded a little before the early 4th century BC, and it was surrounded by strong polygonal walls.

Elea was the seat of the Thesprotian koinon from its foundation until 335 - 325 BC, when the political center of the tribe was transferred to Gitana. Public and private buildings bear witness to prosperity of the settlement.

The coinage of the koinon of the Thesprotians is related with Persephone and Hades and declares that the well known Necromanteion, the central sanctuary of Eleatis, place of worship of the gods of the netherworld, was under Eleas influence.

The settlement flourished during the Hellenistic period. By this period, the area of the Agora was lined by stoas, meaning long and narrow buildings, open at the front.

Habitation at this time of period spreads outside the walls, mainly in the south side. A series of fortified enclosures, probably to be associated with Elea in whose territory they stood, were erected during the same period on the general area of the Paramythia mountains and on the lower hills bounding the southern limit of the Kokytos Valley.

The ancient settlement of Elea was abandoned after its devastation by the Romans in 167 BC along with the other major cities of Thesprotia. The extensive destruction layers of the excavated buildings bear witness to that effect. In more recent periods the leveled surface of the settlement was systematically cultivated and during the last few decades it was used for the stabling and pasturing of animals.
Kassiani Lazari, archaeologist
360 B.C. - 167 B.C.