Travel to Xanthi, Thrace

Above: View of Xanthi from Kosynthos River, Thrace

Xanthi is a city in Thrace, northeastern Greece. It is the capital of the Xanthi regional unit of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace.

Coordinates: 41°8′N 24°53′E  (1) Xanthi (2) Abdera (3) Myki (4) Topeiros

Known references to Xanthi date back to 879 AD. It began as a small village and experienced all the tumultuous periods of the history of Thrace, such as raids, disasters, ethnic conflicts, and civil wars. The population of the region of Xanthi had dwindled down to almost nothing and almost everything had been destroyed when the Ottomans conquered the region in 1361. For this reason, the Ottomans brought settlers from the depths of Asia Minor, which is how Genisea was created, while Oreo and Xanthi remained mainly Greek and Christian centres.

Old tobacco warehouse in Xanthi, Thrace, Greece
Old tobacco warehouse in Xanthi, Thrace

The old city of Xanthi, GreeceBy 1715, Xanthi, as well as Genisea, gained fame for their tobacco quality. Tobacco commerce throughout Europe led Xanthi into a course of prosperity.

In March and April 1829 two earthquakes completely leveled the city, this came to play a decisive role in the further developments. The city’s re-building immediately got underway.
In 1870, the city of Genisea was burned down and thus all of the agencies and services were transferred to Xanthi which, at that time, had a population of about 10,000 inhabitants. In 1891, the railroad line was established near the city, while further economic development led to the founding of schools and associations.

Nowadays Xanthi is a modern city, rich in history, traditions and customs, and with many attractions for the visitors (including the surrounding areas). It is worth visiting the city during the Carnival (February – March) and during the Old Town Festival (start of September). Also, one should not miss the Xanthi Bazaar every Saturday. Xanthi is known as “The city of a thousand colours”.

The old city of Xanthi, Thrace, Greece
The old city of Xanthi

Ancient Abdera

Ancient Abdera, Thrace, Greece
Ancient Abdera, Thrace

Abdera was a city-state on the coast of Thrace 17 km east-northeast of the mouth of the Nestos, and almost opposite Thasos. The site now lies in the Xanthi regional unit of modern Greece. The municipality of Abdera, or Ávdira, has 18,573 inhabitants (2001). The seat of the municipality is in Genisea.

Abdera coin, Thrace, Greece

Its mythical foundation was attributed to Heracles (on behalf of his fallen friend Abderus), its historical one to a colony from Klazomenai. This historical founding was traditionally dated to 654 BC, which is unverified, although evidence in 7th century BC Greek pottery tends to support it. But its prosperity dates from 544 BC, when the majority of the people of Teos (including the poet Anacreon) migrated to Abdera to escape the Persian yoke (Herodotus i.168). The chief coin type, a griffon, is identical with that of Teos; the rich silver coinage is noted for the beauty and variety of its reverse types.

Mosque in Ehinos, Xanthi, Thrace, Greece
Mosque in Ehinos, Xanthi

In 513 BC and 512 BC, the Persians conquered Abdera. In 492 BC, the Persians again conquered Abdera, this time under Darius I. It later became part of the Delian League and fought on the side of Athens in the Peloponnesian war.
Abdera was a wealthy city, the third richest in the League, due to its status as a prime port for trade with the interior of Thrace and the Odrysian kingdom.

The ruins of the town may still be seen on Cape Balastra; they cover seven small hills, and extend from an eastern to a western harbor; on the southwestern hills are the remains of the medieval settlement of Polystylon.

Echinos is a settlement in the municipality Myki in the Xanthi regional unit of Greece. It is 27 kilometers northeast of Xanthi. In 2001 the village had  around 2200 inhabitants of which the majority are Pomaks. As it is common for many villages in Thrace, quite a few Muslim families live here and have done so for generations. They maintain their religion, culture and language – still the Orthodox Christian Greeks and the Muslim Pomaks  live peacefully aside.
According to the legend Echinos was founded during the 1360s by Lala Shahin Pasha, hence its old name – Shahin.
The village is first mentioned in an Ottoman document from the middle of the 16th century.

Thermes Springs in Xanthi region, Thrace, Greece
Thermes Springs in Xanthi region, Thrace

Things to do

Health TravelHealth traveling: Thermes is a municipal unit in the municipality of Myki. It is located very close to the Bulgarian border north of Xanthi. It consists of the villages Ano Thermes, Kato Thermes, Meses Thermes, Medousa, Kidaris, Diasparto, and Kottani. The population of Thermes was around 1,221 inhabitant in 2001. Thermes is popular for its hot spas, which can be found all around the area.

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