The village of Kechries
Kechries is a village in the municipality of Corinth in Corinthia in Greece, part of the community of Xylokeriza. Population 238 (2011). It takes its name from the ancient port town Kenchreai or Cechreae, which was situated at the same location.
In ancient times, Kenchreai was one of the two ports of the inland city-state of Corinth. While Kenchreai served the eastern trade routes via the Saronic Gulf, Lechaion on the Corinthian Gulf served the trade routes leading west to Italy and the rest of Europe. Situated on the eastern side of the Isthmus of Corinth, Kechreai sat at a natural crossroads for ships arriving from the east and overland traffic heading north and south between central Greece and the Peloponnese. The origin of Kenchreai is unknown, but it must have been inhabited from early times, probably in prehistory, on account of the deep natural harbor that was favorable for landing ships. The area is endowed with abundant water sources, a massive bedrock of oolitic limestone that excellent building stone, and several defensible positions with good viewpoints. The name of the site seems to derive from the ancient Greek word for millet, and the area's capacity for agricultural production is still evident.
The earliest textual sources for Kenchreai, an epitaph of the Late Archaic period (late 6th-early 5th century BC) and references in historical and geographical writings of the Classical to Hellenistic eras (5th-2nd centuries BCE), reveal that there was a permanent settlement and a fortified naval station. Few archaeological remains survive from this early settlement, but it seems to have been located westward from the modern coast, along the prominent ridge that borders the modern village to the north.