Maroneia (Greek: Μαρώνεια, Bulgarian: Мароня) is a village and a former municipality in the Rhodope regional unit, East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Maroneia-Sapes, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 7,644 (2001). The seat of the municipality was in Xylagani.
In legend, it was said to have been founded by Maron, a son of Dionysus, or even a companion of Osiris. According to Pseudo-Scymnus it was founded by Chios in the first half of the 6th century BC. According to Pliny, its ancient name was Ortagures. It was located on the hill of Aghios Gheorgis, and archaeological findings date it as a much older and as a pure Thracian city.
Maroneia was close to the Ismaros mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey. Some scholars identify Maroneia with his Ismaros. Homer has Odysseus plundering the city but sparing Maron, whom he identifies as a priest of Apollo. Maron presents Odysseus with a gift of wine, as well as with gold and silver.
In the era of Ancient Greece and Rome, Maroneia was famous for its wine production. The wine was esteemed everywhere; it was said to possess the odor of nectar, and to be capable of mixture with twenty or more times its quantity with water. That the people of Maroneia venerated Dionysus, we learn not just from its famous Dionysian Sanctuary, the foundations of which can still be seen today, but also from the city’s coins.
In 200 BC it was taken by Philip V of Macedon, who vented his rage by slaughtering a great number of the city’s inhabitants. The Roman Republic subsequently granted Maroneia to Attalus, King of Pergamon, but almost immediately revoked their gift and declared it a free city.
Marmaritsa beach, Maroneia.