The Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace lies at the north-eastern extremity of Greece and it is endowed with an incomparable environment and superb surroundings.
The locals are very warm, friendly and openhearted, and we can count on them to tell us all about their history, culture and myths. Here any traveler will certainly feel welcomed.
First time you enter Greece from Bulgaria you get to know The Regional Unit of Evros that took his name from the river who constitutes the natural border between Greece and Turkey. If you travel by car or by bus first stop in Greece should be Orestiada, a beautiful town. Orestiada is the cultural, administrative and commercial center of the northern Evros region.
On the way to Alexandropoulis you should stop in Didymoteichon, a small city with a rich history, well-preserved ancient Byzantine and Ottoman monuments.
Here one can admire:
- The walls surrounding “Pano Poli” (the upper town).
- The castle and Byzantine monuments of the archaeological site. The ruins of buildings and basements carved on the rock, the church of Aghia Aikaterini comprising tombs, the cathedral of Aghios Athanasios (1834), the church of the Christ (1846) and the two caves next to the Cathedral are to be seen.
- The Great Mosque (14th century), the oldest and biggest Muslim sacred precinct on European soil.
- The Feridun Ahmet Hamam (16th century) as well as the one of Oruç Pasha (14th century), on the banks of Erythropotamos, also known as “the Baths of Love and Whispers”.
Soufli is the unique “silk town” of Greece, located in Evros valley. It is also famous for its wine, tsipouro and delicatessen as well as for its rich tradition and cultural heritage. If you are in the area you must visit the remarkable Silk Museum. The museum presents the history of silk over time beginning from China where it was accidentally discovered in 3,000 B.C. until the present days, the stages of silkworm and cocoon breeding, the history of prosperity and decline of sericulture in Soufli.
Alexandroupolis is a modern town whose trademark is the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse was built in 1880 by the French Lighthouse and Lantern Company “Administration Generale des Phares de l’Empire Ottoman”, it is 27 m high and can be seen from a distance of 23 miles.
Starting from the Lighthouse you can walk along the seaside and enjoy the beautiful panorama. Other sights in Alexandroupolis : the Municipal Park, the ruins of two mosques, the old Town Hall exhibiting a small but interesting collection of antiquities, the small church of Aghios Eleftherios.
From Alexandropoulis one can easily go to Samothraki. The Island of the Great Gods is wreathed by mount Saos, the highest mountain on the Aegean islands. Legend says that Poseidon sat on its top to watch the Troy war. The attractiveness of the island is now made up of the steep peaks of the holy mountain of the ancients (the highest of which – 1.611 meters – is called “Fengari” = “moon”) the pebbly beaches, the streams and rivers, the pristine natural beauty, the famous healing sources, and the archaeological finds.
Greece is also well-known for its archaeological sites. One of this is a few kilometers away from Alexandropoulis. The Ancient Zone was founded by Greek colonists from Samothrace, probably in the late 7th century B.C. It was an important commercial centre in this region and reached the height of its prosperity during the 5th and 4th century B.C.
Sources : Tourist Guide Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace; www.visitgreece.gr
Upper photo credit: Mircea Baciu