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THRAKI - SAMOTHRAKI ISLAND
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XANTHI

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General Information

The westernmost prefecture of the province of Thracia, Xanthi, borders to the west with the prefectures of Drama and Kavala, to the east with the prefecture of Rodopi, while to the north it shares borders with Bulgaria. The Rodopi mountain range, with its affluent flora and fauna, the region of Livaditis, the river of Nestos with the majestic forest of Stena and its marvelous delta, the lake Vistonida, the traditional hamlets of the capital city and the mountainous Xanthi, the archaeological site of Avdira, and the famous resort Porto Lagos, attract annually numerous visitors. Xanthi is a prefecture with an important role in history and a dynamic one in the present, and it is characterized by the coexistence of Christianity with Islam. Its population reaches is 101856 inhabitants, while its extent covers 1793 sq.km.

 

History - Culture

There is evidence that places the existence of civilized mankind in the region in the Neolithic period. As mentioned in ancient Greek mythology, Thrake was the daughter of Ocean -the grandsire of the Olympian Pantheon- and Parthenope, and the sister of Europe. According to the famous ?and first- historian Herodotus of Alicarnassos, the Thracians were the largest people in numbers upon the earth, second only to the overpopulous Indians. The first inhabitants of Thrace were Pelasgians and Achaeans, among the most ancient Greek tribes. Along with the Thracian tribes that followed sometime around the 11th century BC, they created a nation whose glory and fame spread from the area north of Mount Olympus to the Danube River and to Pontus Euxinus. Its position, directly on the passage to and from the east, naturally rendered it a stage of frequent battles, war clashes, and invasions of many barbarian and civilized enemies. The 2nd colonization of Thrace, done by Ionians, transpired between 800 BC and 500 BC. This led to the founding of a tight chain of purely Greek cities all along the coast, forcing the earlier residents inland, before they were finally completely  hellenized, a process which was completed with the Macedonian conquest by Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, in 356 BC. Macedonian rule established Thrace as a Macedonian county commanded by an appointed general. As Macedon fell to Rome, so did Thrace, which later was to become its most significant province, as rule passed from Rome to the west to Byzantium ?later Constantinople- to the east. The Ottoman Turks gradually pushed into Thrace during the 13th and 14th century, especially after the fall of Kallipolis in 1354 AD. Their coming was accompanied by merciless slaughters and violent islamizations, but the Greek Christians, having seen the light of the True Faith by none other than St. Paul himself, were not intimidated. Instead, they gradually prevailed over the Ottomans, but, weakened from this struggle, they were later occupied by the Bulgarians. However, the Berlin Conference (July 1876) ruled that Thrace should remain under Ottoman occupation, with the exception of Northern Thrace, which would be autonomous. Many years later, after the constant efforts of Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, the Treaty of Sιvres was signed granting Greece the whole of Western Thrace and part of Eastern Thrace (up to Kallipolis). Unfortunately on the 30th of January 1923, according to the Treaty of Lausanne, two big parts of Thrace were given to Bulgaria and Turkey, and have remained so ever since. 

 

Sights

The natural landscape, especially around the banks of the River Nestos, is wild and beautiful. There are forests, mountains and hidden lakes, which can be explored by road or rail, and will fascinate visitors in either case. The capital city of the prefecture, the city of Xanthi itself, also creates an atmospheric setting with the mosques, the Grove, the Byzantine Castle and the old city, the ancient ruins, the modern buildings and shops. The 15km-long Gorge of  the river Nestos, the archaeological site of ancient Abdera, the Byzantine monasteries, and the gorgeous remote mountainous villages, all present first-rate attractions every visitor should seek to see.

 

Entertainment-Sports-Shopping

Most accommodation and entertainment facilities are concentrated in the capital city of Xanthi, whose vivid pace and lifestyle is set by the thousands of students of the University. There are extensive sports facilities in and around the National Stadium. Xanthi is renowned for its carnival festivities, considered to be among the best in Greece. Oriental sweets and fine pork dishes award those who will venture into trying the local delicacies.

 

Access

There are flights carried out from Athens to Kavala from where there is a bus service for Xanthi. There are also coach services from Athens and Thessaloniki. Trains depart from Athens and other cities to Thessaloniki where one must change and take the local train to Xanthi.

 

Connections

Coaches link Xanthi, Thessaloniki, Kavala, Komotini, Drama, while there is a  railway connection with Thessaloniki.

 

Museums

There is a Folk Art and Archaeological Museum in Xanthi, an Ecclesiastical Museum within the Cathedral of Xanthi, and an Archaeological Museum of great importance at Porto Lagos (24 km SE of Xanthi) with findings originating from Abdera-Vistonida and the surrounding area.

 

Alternative Tourism

Ecotourism, birdwatching, archaeology, spiritual, caving, sporting, (canoe, kayak, rafting, rappel, mountain climbing, trekking, mountain bike, jeep safari, horse riding).

 

Useful Telephone Numbers:

XANTHI AREA CODE:  25410-

POLICE STATION: 25410-84116, 84141

TRAFFIC POLICE: 25410-84125

PORT POLICE: 25410-96666, 51520

BUS STATION: 25410-22684

RAILWAY STATION: 25410-22581

MUNICIPALITY: 25410-70108, 24444

TAXI STATION: 25410-29977, 72801, 25900

POST OFFICE: 25410-23195, 22511, 21166

HOSPITAL: 25410-47100, 47200, 22475, 22120, 25350, 21721, 22466

 

 

 

Photo Gallery
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THRAKI - SAMOTHRAKI ISLAND XANTHI
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