Thrace

Information about Thrace

Thrace, in Greek ThraW, occupies the north-eastern comer of Greece. It borders with
Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the east and has southern shores on the Thracian Sea.
Thrace is today considered a place where the East meets the West in perfect harmony,
as it is the connecting link between Asia and Europe. It is a special place with a very rich
history, and it has been relatively untouched by the tourism explosion.
Neolithic  finds,  antiquities dating from the  Hellenistic era, Roman and Byzantine
monuments, can be found everywhere in Thrace.
To the north it meets the Rodopi mountain range, whose foothills become fertile plains
to the south.
The climate ranges from continental  to Mediterranean with lots of rain and snow. Vast
plains, such as those of Xanthi and Komotini, fertile valleys, such as the Evros valley, great
rivers, rich vegetation, and forests with  many trees mark the region.

The lakes and wetlands of Thrace are among the most important in Europe with
perhaps more than three hundred protected species of birds. More than 200,000 wild
waterbirds spend their winters here. The flora has drawn the attention of ecologists.
Entering  Thrace from Kavala, the visitor encounters scenic Xanthi, the capital of the
prefecture (district) of Xanfhi. It is built on the location of Ancient Xantheia and is justly
proud of the many well-preserved old houses and mansions which are prime examples of
local architecture. A Byzantine castle dominates its surroundings from the top of a nearby
hill to the north of town. Picturesque monasteries lurk among the pine-wooded hills. Porto
Lagos, an attractive fishing village is nearby, as are Avdira, Messimvria, and Maronia.
Further to the north-east, is scenic Komotini,  capital of the prefecture of RodopL The
forts of the area, which date from pre-Christian times to the Byzantine era, are of special
interest. Finds from all of the archaeological sites in Thrace are displayed in the Komotini
Museum.
iilexandroupolis the capital of the prefecture of Evros, is a seaside town known for its
fine sandy beaches. A pretty town with well laid-out streets and neoclassical buildings. To
the north-east of Alexandroupolis is  Feres with its  especially  important  Byzantine
cathedral of “Theotokos tis Kosmosotiras”. Along the Greek-Turkish border, to the north,
is Soufli famous for its silk production and its silks, and even further north are Didymotiho
and Orestiada. The first is a splendid Byzantine city and the second is a small town built in
a fertile area. Other Evros’ attractions are the protected area of the Dadia Forest and the
wetlands ecosystem of the Evros Delta (see “Ecotourism” section of this guidebook).
Roads pass through planted fields, flanked by wooded mountains and the deep blue
sea. Other roads pass through cities, villages, and landscapes possessing a rare Greek
beauty. The same  roads lead the visitor through nature, history,  and tradition to the
easternmost point of Greece, wonderful Thrace.
Opposite Thrace’s seaboard, to the south-west of Alexandroupolis, is the  island  of
Samothrace that boasts  abundant natural beauty, lush vegetation, running waters, virgin
shores, important antiquities, and charming villages .

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