Thrace (Thraki) occupies the north-eastern corner of Greece. It borders Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the east and has southern shores on the Thracian sea.
Thrace is today considered a place where East meets 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 and 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 large forests 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 water birds spend the winter here. The flora has drawn the attention of ecologists.
Entering Thrace from Kavala, the visitor encounters scenic Xanthi, the capital of the same name. It is built on the location of ancient Xantheia and is justly proud of the many 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, Mesimvria and Maronia. Further to the north-east, is scenic Komotini, capital of the district of Rodopi. 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.
Alexandroupoli, the capital of the district of Evros is a seaside town well known for its fine sandy beaches. A pretty town with well laid out streets and neo-classical buildings. To the north-east of Alexandroupoli is Feres with its especially important Byzantine cathedral of Theotokos tis Kosmosotiras. Along the Greco-Turkish border to the north is Soufli, famous for its silk production and even further north are Didimotiho and Orestiada. The first is a splendid Byzantine city and second is a small town built in a fertile area.
A journey will take you through planted fields flanked by wooded mountains and the deep blue sea. Other routes 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.
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