It has about 4800 inhabitants, and is the seat of a bishop. The present town occupies the site of the ancient citadel, the Cadmea; two fragments of ancient wall are visible on the north, and another, belonging either to the citadel or the outer wall, on the south.
From the west side of the Cadmea another copious fountain (Paraporti) falls to the Dirce.
The Cadmea itself is supplied with water brought from an unknown source to the south by works supposed of prehistoric antiquity.
The most curious of later buildings is the church of St Luke, south-east of the Cadmea, believed to contain the tomb of the evangelist.
Five main cycles of story may be distinguished: (1) the foundation of the citadel Cadmea by Cadmus, and the growth of the Sparti or "Sown Men" (probably an aetiological myth designed to explain the origin of the Theban nobility which bore that name in historical times); (2) the building of a "seven-gated" wall by Amphion, and the cognate stories of Zethus, Antiope and Dirce; (3) the tale of the "house of Laius," culminating in the adventures of Oedipus and the wars of the "Seven" and the Epigoni; (4) the advent of Dionysus; and (5) the exploits of Heracles.