Evros

Prefecture of Evros

The Prefecture covers an area of 4,241 square kilometres. To the central and southwest region are the foothills of Rodopi Mountain range. The southeast and central parts of the region are on the plains of the Evros Delta and Orestiada. The island of Samothraki comes under the jurisdiction of the prefecture.

There are two large rivers in the region, the Nestos River and the Evros River. The Prefecture of Evros is a place with natural beauty with beautiful clean beaches; the wildlife reserves of the Evros River delta the caves and the historical remains in the area of Didimoticho. It has a warm climate in summer, but cold in winter in the northern regions.

The island of Samothraki is also part of the prefecture of Evros. It has a surface area of 178 square kilometres. The capital of the island is the town of Samothraki (Hora), the islands main port is Kamariotissa. From the harbour at Alexandroupolis, visitors can board the ferry for Samothraki. Hora is 5km east of the harbour, built among hills providing protection from the winds and the pirate raids that were a common feature in times gone by. The main capital of Samothrace is charming with its meandering lanes and houses tiered on the hillsides.

The ruined fortress on the summit of the hill gives excellent views over the area. Hora has a Folklore Museum, in a restored house next to the church. The village, is of particular architectural interest, and declared a protected traditional community in 1978. The island was an important religious centre in the Mediterranean due to the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. . The port of Kamariotissa has hotels, restaurants, fish tavernas, cafés, and nightclubs and makes an ideal base from which to explore the island.

Alexandroupoli

Capital: Alexandroupolis is the capital of the Prefecture and named after its founder Alexander the Great, with its port and airport it is an important commercial, economic and tourist centre for the region. Some good examples of late 19 th century architecture in the town includes the building of the old Zarifeios Pedagogical Academy.

Places of Interest in the City:

The emblem of Alexandroupolis is the large lighthouse, constructed by the French ‘Lighthouses and Beacons’ company in 1st June 1880.

The Leontarideios School building is home to the Ecclesiastical Museum of the Metropolitan See of Alexandroupolis and Samothraki, with a collection of post-Byzantine icons, liturgical implements and relics, vestments, woodcarvings and historic documents from the region of Evros, and Eastern Thrace.

There is also the Angela Yiannakidou Thrace Collection, housed in a neo-classical building dating from 1899, once the home of the Chrysostomos family. The collection is of ethnological interest and contains such items as agricultural implements, traditional costumes, liturgical implements and relics, tools and machinery used in traditional crafts.

The Association of Antiquity and the Cultural Heritage, has a specially designed exhibition centre. This is the venue for various exhibitions, including displays of works of art and other cultural events.

The capital of the district named after the Alexander the Great and founded in 340 BC. To the east of the town are the ruins of Mesambria and can just be seen through the vegetation. At Makri one can “ Cyclops Cave ” as the local have called it, they say the cave has never been explored and has been used as a shelter in the Neolithic times.

Towns & villages in the region

Makri: a beautiful seaside village, built among olive groves on the slope of the Zoni Mountain. The village was the site of a fortified settlement from the 9th century. Remains of the Byzantine walls are still visible in the village, and within them, a three-aisle 10th basilica. Outside the walls, there are the remains of a church dating from the 12th century. The village Church of Agia Anastasia, founded in between 1800 and 1833, contains iconostasis from the 17th century and post-Byzantine icons from the 17th-19th centuries.

From Platanos beach and the little harbour of Makri, a dirt road leads to the Makri cave. It has a large natural opening and extends over two levels. Archaeological finds indicate that the cave was in use in the Neolithic period. Above the cave, the remains of a Neolithic settlement have been unearthed. Artefacts found on the site include pots flint tools.

Dikella: lies along the coast from Makri, past the beautiful beach of Agia Paraskevi. A short distance from the village is the archaeological site of Mesimvria-Zoni. Colonists from Samothraki founded this ancient city in the late 7th century. Archaeologists originally believed it was the ancient city of Mesimvria, but as excavation progressed, it became clear that it was the city of Zoni. Fortified walls surrounded the city, stretching from the shore to the Acropolis. Two main buildings of the city have been unearthed, the Temple of Apollo and the Sanctuary of Demeter. The city’s prosperity blossomed in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, when it was a flourishing commercial city. It started to fall into decline when new trade routes opened, and finally abandoned in the 6th century AD.

Loutros: is east of Alexandroupolis towards Democritus Airport, near by is the old Roman town of Traianoupolis. This town was an important staging point along the Via Egnatia; Traianoupolis was the largest military, administrative and ecclesiastical centre in Thrace. After the 14th century it fell into decline and abandoned, in the centre of the city is, a building built in the 1300s as a guesthouse for visitors to the Traianoupolis baths. These baths are reputed to relieve ailments, real or imaginary.

Feres: near to the town, are the remains of a Byzantine aqueduct, in the centre of Feres, is the Byzantine Monastery of the Panayia Kosmosoteira, built in the mid-12th century, set in the external wall is a ceramic design of an eagle, symbol of the family who founded the church. The wall paintings are the work of artists from Constantinople, they were painted over with whitewash when the Turks in 1372, converted the church it into a mosque. There are four paintings of military figures, probably representing members of the family of the Emperor Alexios.

Avantas: here are the ruins of a Byzantine fortress; nearby is the Agion Theodoron cave. Inside the cave is a chapel decorated with wall paintings from the 11th century to the 13th century.

Kirki and Sykorrahi: These two villages lie among the plane trees on the slopes of the Zoni Mountain, where according to the myth Orpheus played his lyre, soothing the wild beasts and making the birds stop their singing in order to listen to his divine music.

Tychero: here is unique fossilised forest – 25 million years old. Further along is the National Park of the Dadia Forest, and the Kornofolias Monastery.

Soufli: is famous for its long tradition of silkworm breeding. The architecture of the town is dominated by one distinctive type of building, known as the koukoulospito, in which the living quarters are combined with the area where the silkworms are bred – which in fact takes up the greater part of the house. Among the most striking of these houses are those on Mokali, Kyrillou and Kourtidou Streets. There is an interesting Greek Silk Museum, housed in the traditional mansion house of the great Thracian teacher Konstantinos Kourtidis. Visit is the Church of Agios Georgios (early 19th century) and of Agios Athanasios (1840) with their famous carved wooden iconostases. At Soufli, the visitor should call in at the shops selling silk goods, and make sure to purchase some of the delicious local sausages.

Didymoteicho: is on a hill by the River Erythropotamos, a tributary of the Evros River. The hill of Agia Petra rises southeast of the town, with the remains of the Roman Plotinopolis. The family of Laskarides (1204-1261), Kings of the Empire of Nicaia, interested themselves in the reconstruction of Didymoteicho. The famous five sided towers have survived at the entrances to the fortress. At the northern corner of the fortification, stands a circular tower from the late-Byzantine period.

Within the fortifications, the Church of Agia Aikaterini (14th century) has survived. In The centre of Didymoteicho is the Ottoman Mosque of Vayiazit, founded by Mohammed I (1413-1421). This building, which was never completed, has a monumental entrance and a hipped, lead-covered roof. The Didymoteicho Folklore Museum has a collection of everyday implements, agricultural tools, and a reconstruction of the kitchen of a Thracian house. Two of the important sights to see in the town are the Municipal Art Gallery and the Military Museum.

Orestiada: is a new town, built 1923 by refugees from Karagach in eastern Thrace. It is an attractive town built to a contemporary plan, buzzing with life and enjoying continual and steady growth. The Orestiada Historical and Folklore Museum, has a collection of agricultural tools, traditional costumes, and a reconstruction of the living room of a townhouse in Adrianoupolis.

Nea Vyssa: here the Ardas Youth Festival takes in July. Where a week long event of cultural events take place that includes visual arts workshop for children, concerts, and dances. Visitors can stay at hotels in the region or camp at special sites in the festival area. After Nea Vyssa, we come to the village of Kastanies, where there is a customs post for those crossing the frontier to Turkish Adrianoupolis.

Ormenio: the last village on the Greek side of the border with Turkey and the meeting point of three states: Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, called ‘Trigono’. At Ormenio, there is a customs post for those wishing to cross into Bulgaria.

Traianoupolis: This small town is known for its Byzantine ruins and the delta wetlands of the Evros River , and for its Therapeutic Springs.

Places of interest

Alexandroupolis

To the east of the town are the ruins of Mesambria and can just be seen through the vegetation. At Makri one can “ Cyclops Cave ” as the local have called it, they say the cave has never been explored and has been used as a shelter in the Neolithic times.

Didymoteicho: is on a hill by the River Erythropotamos, a tributary of the Evros River. The hill of Agia Petra rises southeast of the town, with the remains of the Roman Plotinopolis. The family of Laskarides (1204-1261), Kings of the Empire of Nicaia, interested themselves in the reconstruction of Didymoteicho. The famous five sided towers have survived at the entrances to the fortress. At the northern corner of the fortification, stands a circular tower from the late-Byzantine period.

Within the fortifications, the Church of Agia Aikaterini (14th century) has survived. In The centre of Didymoteicho is the Ottoman Mosque of Vayiazit, founded by Mohammed I (1413-1421). This building, which was never completed, has a monumental entrance and a hipped, lead-covered roof. The Didymoteicho Folklore Museum has a collection of everyday implements, agricultural tools, and a reconstruction of the kitchen of a Thracian house. Two of the important sights to see in the town are the Municipal Art Gallery and the Military Museum.

Tychero: here is unique fossilised forest – 25 million years old. Further along is the National Park of the Dadia Forest, and the Kornofolias Monastery.

Where & what to eat in Evros

Astir
DEMOKRATIAS 280
68100 Alexandroupolis
Phone.: 25510 26448 Fax.: 24651

Hotel Vienna
ORESTOU 64
68200 Orestiada
Phone: 25520 22578 Fax.: 22258

Tourist info

Read Previous

Scuba Diving in Greece and the Islands

Read Next

Kos Island