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THRAKI - SAMOTHRAKI ISLAND
THRACE
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THRACE

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GENERAL INFORMATION

Thrace, the most eastern province of the country, has much to show the visitor although relatively undeveloped for tourism. It has unaffected charm, beautiful scenery, unique traditions, and its own history to tell. Overlooked by the sophisticated it is valued by the discerning traveller.

HISTORY- CULTURE

Thrace has been inhabited since Palaeolithic times. Archaeological finds have revealed its importance in the Neolithic period.

Greek Mythology is full of references to the Thracian tribes who appear in history around 1000 BC, giving their name to the region.

The area became prosperous when Greeks from the South founded major coastal cities such as Abdera and Maronia. Near the end of the 6th century BC these cities were occupied by the Persians and then passed into the hands of powerful Athens.

Thrace incorporated into the Macedonian Empire soon after this and became a Roman province in 168 BC.

The Roman period was one of relative prosperity mainly thanks to the Via Egnatia which linked all the major Thracian cities boosting trade and broadening culture.

The frequent barbarian raids during the ensuing Byzantine era brought about its decline. The 9th century BC was marked by the foundation of the monasteries on Mount Papikios and the construction of many defensive works in the region.

The Bulgarian raids at the beginning of the 13th Century heralded an era of suffering and collapse culminating in it becoming part of the Ottoman Empire in 1361.

Liberation and incorporation into the Greek state came late in 1920 at the unavoidable expense of the retention of Eastern Thrace by the Turkey.

SIGHTS

Thrace has a complex geography. This combines with remarkable historical monuments and Oriental influences on its civilisation, to satisfy the visitor.

Large rivers such as the Nestos and the Evros, imposing mountains such as those in the Rodopi range, historical sites such as Abdera and ancient Samothrace, all repay exploration.

Then there are the two caves of Didimotiko, the internationally recognised nature reserve of the Evros Delta, Evros bridge, the ancient agora of Xanthi with its oriental nuances, the walks through the beautiful forest along the Nestos river, and the monasteries built on the Mount Papinios in the Rodope Mountains.

ENTERTAINMENT - SPORTS - SHOPPING

Thrace offers the visitor a choice of facilities not yet overlaid by the trappings of commercialised tourism.

Those seeking night-life will find clubs, bars, restaurants and cinemas in Xanthi, Komotini, Alexandroupolis and elsewhere. Local events and festivals occur here as everywhere in Greece. As far as sports are concerned there are basketball, football, volley-ball pitches and tennis courts in all the major cities. In Alexandroupolis, one can enjoy sailing and rowing at the local Nautical Club and at Komotini there is a modern swimming pool. Climbers on Mount Livaditis will find a shelter at 1200m.

There are dozens of beaches where visitors can sunbathe or enjoy sea leisure activities.

Finally, as far as shopping is concerned, Thrace offers a full range of products in its towns and its traditional agoras. Distinctive regional wares include silk from Soufli, embroidery, hand-woven articles, and copper and silverware in the old shopping areas of Xanthi and Komotini.

Visitors should also try the local dishes and specialities such as pastourma, kavourma and local cooked meats, soutzouk-loukoum, saragli, bourek, oriental sweets, carioca, sorma of Didimotihos, mizithra cheese and dozens of other local delights offering pleasure and a few - extra - kilos!

ACCESS

There are regular flights to Alexandroupolis and from there, Komotini and Xanthi are served by regular KTEL coach routes. Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupolis have daily KTEL coach services from Athens and Thessaloniki.

Thrace is linked by rail from Thessaloniki via Drama, Xanthi, Komotini, to Alexandroupolis and beyond.

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