Xanthi Prefecture: covering an area of circa 1800 square kilometres, Xanthi shares its borders with the prefecture of Macedonia to the west, the prefecture of Rodopi to the east, and to the north, the Rodopi mountain range, to the south is the Thracian Sea. With the mountainous areas of Rodopi with its green slopes, to the clean sandy beaches, the prefecture offers natural beauty and an unforgettable experience.
Capital: themain city of the prefecture is Xanthi, well known for its rural production and its cultivation of tobacco. Its squares, old churches, and its tobacco storehouses reveal the culture and history of the city to the visitor. With its renovated neoclassical mansions, that were the homes of tobacco traders, the old churches and the narrow lanes all form the city into a place of unique beauty and charm.
The visitor can discover the local cuisine in the taverns and the restaurants, scattered in the city centre and the Old Town. The town is famous for its syrup sweets (Baklava, Custard-filled pastries (Galaktoboureko), Revani, Seker Pare, Kazan Dipi etc.), all made from pure fresh ingredients. The city has numerous cafes, bars and nightclubs where one can enjoy the nightlife of the city. The Democritus University of Thrace has schools of engineering and computer studies in the city.
Places of interest in the City:
Municipal Art Gallery : built in the mid 19 th century, on display are the works of Christos Pavlidis, the town’s most famous artist. Also on display are engravings and paintings by other Greek and foreign artists.
The Folklore Museum: also housed in a 19 th century building has on display local costumes and agricultural implements.
Zoagora Square : normally a car park but on Saturdays the square, becomes a market place, where traders and farmers from the outlying districts come to sell their wares. All manner of items from tools to clothing are on sale. This is when the fun starts, the traders state a price and the it is up to you to start haggling, after a hard round of bargaining you will agree on the price of your purchase, but remember they are experienced so be firm, but at the same time enjoy yourselves.
Municipal Outdoor Amphitheatre: hosts plays from many competent repertories, during the summer.
Museum of Natural History: has on display the fauna and flora of the prefecture.
Cultural Centre: this impressive building built in the 1912,houses a tobacco museum, a theatre and an exhibition centre.
The Byzantine Castle: remains of the fortifications are still visible. The castle built on the hill protected the city from raiders.
The Cathedral: has a good collection of icons and manuscripts.
The four monasteries of Xanthi located in the northern side of the city form the shape of a cross; this is according to legend protects the city from destruction.
The Monastery of Panagia Kalamous, this monastery lies to the north of the city. The present form of the monastery is from the beginning of the 20th century. The oldest part of the Monastery dates back to 1612
The Monastery of Panagia Archageliotissa, this monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, many pilgrims coming to worship here on 15 August the day of Assumption of the Virgin Mary. At night, the monastery shines like a bright star in the dark. The building dates from 1841.
The Monastery of the Pammegiston Taxiarchon, is located is at the northwest side of Xanthi in a forest of pines and acacias. The monastery dates back to the 16th century.
The Monastery of Agia Irini, built in 1972 and it takes child refugees and gives them shelter and an education.
Agios Nikolaos, this small monastery set on a small islet on Lake Vistonida, has a history dating back to the 11th century.
Towns & Villages in Xanthi
Avdira: The village of Avdira is 15km from Xanthi. Many of the traditional houses in the village have restored and converted into guesthouses. The Archaeological Museum has exhibits arranged in thematic units, burial customs, private and public life. On display are ancient coins, a mosaic floor with a representation of dolphins (3rd century BC), other exhibits include jewellery, burial urns, maps, and literature.
Thermes: near the Bulgarian border, is famous for its thermal spas where the water temperature varies between 18 and 53 Celsius degrees and is beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism, dermatitis and other ailments. The municipal guesthouses attract visitors who choose to visit the spa during autumn and summer.
Stavroupolis: this village with its many fine buildings dating fro the Ottoman period is an ideal base in which to explore the area. Around the village square are tavernas offering delicious food for you to enjoy. The Folklore Museum is in the Town Hall and includes many exhibitssuch as traditional costumes, domestic utensils and tools.
Komnina: 3.5 km from Stavroupolis, here you can visit a large Macedonian underground grave. Constructed in coloured marble during the 2nd century BC, The funereal beds complete with marble pillows are to on display.
Potamia: another village famous for its thermal springs, these thermal waters has therapeutic are reputed to cure all known ailments and probably a few more.
Porto-Lagos: constitutes a distinct corner of the Prefecture of Xanthi. This small village built on a strip band of land that separates Lake Vistonida from the Thracian Sea. It has a decent beach and the tavernas serve some wonderfully cooked fresh fish to tempt your palate.
Places of interest in Xanthi Prefecture
The Ancient city of Abdera: Built on the side of the hill, Abdera constituted the biggest centre of intellectual and commercial transactions since the 5th century B.C. Main source of wealth were the culture of cereals, viticulture and trade. The city walls starts from the sea and has a perimeter of 5.000 m. Many residences of the Classic, Hellenistic and of the Roman era existed, with an internal peristyle and tiled courtyards. South of the walls one finds the citadel; near the harbour, to the north existed a theatre from the 5th century BC, today only the foundations are still visible.
The city was the birthplace of Democritus (460-370 BC), reputed to be the father of atomic philosophy. Other notables born here include, Protagoras and Anaxarhos, a counsellor to Alexander the great. In the Byzantine period was renamed Polystylo, due to the numerous pillars in the city. On the site an ancient temple was discovered (9th-10th century AD) with an older eight sided baptistery. Other remains discovered were a cemetery, ruins of a spa and a Byzantine tower. The city fell into decline after the Ottomans took control of the region.
Nestos River: the riveris the pride of North-Eastern Greece, its source is in Bulgaria and its total length is 233 kilometres. Out of the 233 km, the river flows 140 km in the Greek territory. Rafting the river is very popular, trips start from the town of Stavroupolis, and one can make the trip either in an inflatable raft or in a two-man canoe. Guided trips take about four hours, and are suitable for all ages, with stops to enjoy a picnic on the banks of the river. The trip is spectacular and ends in the Delta of Nestos.
The Delta of Nestos: is located in the southern part of the Prefectures of Xanthi and Kavala. This area is now a national park for the preservation of the wild fauna, with bears, wolves and wild bars. In addition, over 254 species of birds including herons, ibis and sea eagles nest in the area. Birds on the edge of extinction such as the Imperial Eagle, the Dalmatian Pelican, the Slender-billed Curlew and the Spotted Eagle also visit the delta.
Lake Vistonida : covers an area of 45 square kilometres and has an average depth of two metres. The northern part of the lake is fresh water coming from the rivers of the region, whilst the sea makes the southern part salty. This variation of salinity attracts a wide range of birds. The lake is area classified as an area of special protection.
Events in Xanthi Prefecture
The largest event in Xanthi is the fifteen-day carnival, when the town enjoys the festivities that include, concerts, music and dance nights, theatrical plays, exhibitions, cycle tours and games. The celebrations end with the burning of an effigy of the “Carnival King” on the banks of the Kosynthos River.
In May, the youth festival takes place with the students of the town present their work through cultural exhibitions and concerts.
The Hatzidakeio Festival, one of the more important cultural activities, is dedicated to the memory of the composer Hatzidaki. It is organised each year in October, and includes choral nights (hosting more than 300 chorus from Greece and abroad).
Events in the District:
The Dimokriteia Festival takes place in the village of Avdira at the end of July. Well-known artists hold concerts and plays.
The Festival of the Patatiada takes place in August and is in honour of the humble yet versatile potato in the region of Diomideia-Feloni, 5 km from Xanthi. The visitor can try dishes, where the potato is always the basic ingredient. Theatrical plays, folk feasts and athletic events are part of the potato Festival.
There is a custom from the Eastern Romylia, that the residents of Stavroupolis still preserve, the custom of the Camel. Animal skins and old clothes are sewn together to make the shape of a camel. Then two men of the village become the camel’s front and back legs, while a third, dressed as an Arab, leads the camel around the village. The residents give delicacies to the camel and money to the cameleer.
In many villages of the Prefecture, but mainly in New Kessani and Maggana the custom of “Babos” also known as Ginekokratia takes place on 8 January. The married women of the village dress in traditional costumes visit the midwife of the village, and they offer her gifts, honouring her for the children she has delivered. The men of the village must not leave their houses on this day.
Beaches in Xanthi
Beach of Myrodato – Avdira beach – Beach of Maggana – Porto Lagos
Beaches: The area has many fine beaches along the Thracian Sea; the beaches of Erasimo, Maganon, and Mirodato are exceptionally good. The beaches of Saint John and Porto Molos in Avdira offer deep waters and dark sand. At 5 km from the village, they are equipped with a cafeteria, umbrellas, reclining chairs, kiosks and other facilities that attract a large number of visitors. Most of the beaches have facilities for the visitor.
Sports in Xanthi
Sports: the region offers a variety of sports from rock climbing, mountain trekking to rafting on the river Nestos.
Where & What to Eat
Ta Tempi tou Nestou
Next to river Nestos in a region full from the beauties of nature you will find the tavern of “Ta tempi tou Nestou”. Twenty years now we attend the flavours and the visitors of this beautiful region.
Ta Tempi tou Nestou
Galani – Xanthi
Phone: (+30) 25410 93 071
E mail: [email protected]
Web site: www.temph.xan.gr