Stagira is built on the foothills of Mount Stratoniko (Strebenikos), at an altitude of about 500 m. The village lies on the main road that links Thessaloniki and Ouranoupolis; it has about 500 inhabitants and is just 8 km from the sea. Its previous name was Kazantzi Mahala and was part of the commons of Mademochoria. The locals worked in the nearby mines since Byzantine times and continued under the Ottoman occupation.
The renowned Greek scholar Athanasios Stageiritis (1780 – 1840), vocal critic of Adamantios Korais, and Dimitrios Stageiritis, renowned fighter in the Greek War of Independence of 1821 and Macedonian delegate in the Third National Assembly in Epidaurus and the Fourth in Argos, were both from Stagira. The 1821 fighter Eleftherios Michael was from the nearby and now abandoned village of Chorouda. It must also be noted that the great Greek philosopher Aristotle was born in ancient Stagira, about 8 km to the northwest, with which the present-day settlement claims historical continuity.
In the entrance to the village, you can see the park of Aristotle and to the left, the hill of Agios Dimitrios with the Sidirokafsia compound that was built during the early period of Ottoman occupation. Sidirokafsia was the seat of the mine and an important administrative center in the region, with its own mint. There are other interesting monuments, including towers, public baths, and the konak [mansion] of Madem Aga, from the Sidirokafsia era.
Upon entering Stagira, you will notice the church of Gennisi tis Theotokou [the Nativity of the Virgin Mary], of great historical significance. It was built in 1814 with the assistance of Hilandar monastery from Agion Oros and is one of the very few cruciform churches in Greece. It is worth seeing the interior, so ask the priest to let you in.
Ask also about Panagouda, also called Spiliotissa [of the caves], the old church on the upper part of the village, which was built in 1903 inside the rocks. It is the site of the village’s great feast on 8 September. Next to it stands one of the towers from the Sidirokafsia era, and in the nearby neighborhood many houses are built over older ones from the 15th and 16th centuries.