A journey across Eastern Macedonia and Thrace

From : Kavala
To: Alexandroupolis

Route time: ~12 hours 46 minutes 38 seconds

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    Agios Charalambos
    Agios Charalambos is the port of Maroneia, approximately 4 km south of the town. Some traces of the ancient port are still visible. EMT Greece The Pilot X Project (video)
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    Ancient Maroneia
    Ancient Maroneia, the jewel of Rodopi In the Odyssey Homer mentions the mythical Thracian hero Ismarus, the land of the Cicones (Kikones) where Maron was the priest of Apollo. Tradition claims the priest to be the chief of settlers (founder) of the colony founded by the inhabitants of Chios, in the middle of the 7th century. BC, after whom the city took its name. Various historical sources testify the economic development of the city, its annexation to Macedonia in the 4th century BC. and its prosperity during the Roman period. Archaeological research in the area that lies between the beach of Agios Charalambos and Mount Ismaros has revealed ruins belonging to ancient Maroneia. One of the most important is the fortified acropolis in Ai-Giorgis. Agios Georgios which dates back to the 9th-8th c. BC. with a gate made of granite, as it is testified by the monolithic pilasters. The citadel is identified with the city of Cicones' Ismara or Ismaros.  Some of the most important sites in the area are from the 4th c. BC the sanctuary attributed to the god Dionysus, the city walls with a total length of 10 km, the house with mosaic floors, as well as other building complexes.  From the Roman Period are the Roman Agora of the city and the Roman propylon from the time of Emperor Hadrian (124-125 AD). South of the settlement of Maroneia, in "Kampana", the ancient theater is situated. The first human presence in the wider area is evident in the Cave of Cyclops Polyphemus and dates to the Neolithic period (5,300-3,800 BC) and the early Bronze Age. Ministry of Culture Diazoma EMT Greece
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    Ancient theater of Maroneia
    The Hellenistic theatre of ancient Maroneia It was built during the Hellenistic period (323-31 BC) inside the fortification of the ancient city and had a capacity of approximately 1,200 spectators. It underwent modifications during the next, Roman period when the scene and the proscenium were built. In the post-Roman period, it was turned into an arena to host the spectacles that were popular then. The theatre of Maroneia was in use until the 4th c. A.D.  Ministry of Culture Diazoma JTI Target (video) The Pilot X Project (video)
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    Tavaniotis mansion
    The traditional mansion Tavaniotis in Maroneia The Tavaniotis mansion, built between 1880 and 1885 by Parrasios Tavaniotis, is a jewel for the settlement of Maronia. The two-story mansion is a brilliant example of local architecture. In its rooms and spaces it houses findings from excavations in the surrounding area in a comprehensive exhibition on the theme: "Maroneia and Ismaros from Prehistoric to Modern Times". The exhibition of antiquities is enriched with texts and photographs for a better understanding of the history of the area. Greek Archaeological Museums
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    The capital of the regional unit of Drama, known in the ancient world as Hedonida. The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It is built at the foot of Falakro Mount. Important attractions of the city are the Macedonian Tomb, the Byzantine church of Agia Sophia (10th century), the church of Pammegistoi Taxiarhes (14th century), the old Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary (18th century), and the Byzantine city walls. Newer attractions include Agia Barbara Park in the center of the city with springs, ponds, and waterfalls, Anastasiades Mansion (1876), the old Schools (1907), the Archaeological Museum with remarkable findings, the Ecclesiastical Museum with exhibits of religious art, the church of Agios Nikolaos (Eski Mosque or Tsarsi Mosque) built by Sultan Bayezid II and the Arab Mosque (1875). Also, the tobacco warehouses Speerer (a listed building of 1924), Portokaloglou (1904), and Protopappas (1912) are important sights, as well as the 1895 Railway Station. The patron saint of the city is St Barbara. In Drama, various events take place during the year, such as the International Short Film Festival, Drama Dream City, (a Christmas festival), and the Eleftheria events. Drama is the birthplace of Olympic medalist shooter Anna Korakaki. Visit Greece
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    Ismarida is a lake in the regional unit of Rodopi. It is part of the National Park of Eastern Macedonia - Thrace. Despite the fact that it is relatively small, with an area of about 3.4 square kilometers, Ismarida still has a rich flora and fauna, characterized by the presence of rare and endangered waterfowl. As a wildlife habitat, it is a Natura 2000 area. It is the only natural lake in Thrace, and it was named after the ancient town of Ismaros, which was in turn named after the mythical Thracian hero. It hosts more than 200 species of birds, many of them endangered. Numerous ecotourism agencies organize bird watching and canoeing activities. The Pilot X Project (video)
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    Leivaditis mountain shelter
    A small mountain settlement of the Municipality of Stavroupoli and the regional unit of Xanthi. Located at an altitude of 1,200 meters on the central Rodopi Mountain range, Leivaditis is the starting point of the Haidou Forest Reserve, a 36-person capacity mountain shelter. The shelter provides all necessary amenities (electricity, water, heating) for those who wish to go hiking, mountaineering, and rock climbing or simply those who wish to be close to nature. Nestos-Rodopi trail (topoguide)
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    Village of the regional unit of Xanthi, built at an altitude of 1,200 m. on Haidou Mountain. Near the village is Leivaditis, the highest waterfall in the Balkans.
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    Village in Rodopi, known since the Homeric times as it was the homeland of Maron, priest of Apollo, but also a place of cultivation of olive trees and grapevines. According to mythology, Odysseus intoxicated Cyclops Polyphemus with Maronite wine. Maroneia was also an important Greek colony on the coast of Western Thrace. Sights include the ancient theater, Marmaritsa beach with the ancient marble quarry, the archeological site of Synaxi, and the cave of Maroneia. Municipality of Maroneia-Sappai JTI Target (video) The Pilot X Project (video)
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    Maroneia olives
    Medium-sized round olives from the region of Maroneia with a characteristic bittersweet taste. They are edible but can also be used to produce oil.
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    City in Thrace, at the foot of Rodopi Mountains. Xanthi is the twelfth largest city in Greece and it covers an area of 495.1 square km. The city is the capital of the Regional Unit of Xanthi and the Municipality of Xanthi and it gathers the largest commercial and cultural activity of the wider area. Important attractions of the city are the Castle, the Clock, the Holocaust Memorial of Xanthi, the Tobacco Warehouses, the Folklore Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Municipal Art Gallery and more. Xanthi is the birthplace of composer and Oscar winner Manos Hatzidakis. Municipality of Xanthi (video) Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (video)
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    Rodopi Mountains
    Rodopi mountains, also called the Rhodopes is a mountain range in Southeast Europe. Over 83% of its area is in southern Bulgaria and the rest in Greece. The Greek part of Rodopi extends from the Greek-Bulgarian border to the riverbanks of the Nestos. The Nestos is the main water resource of Rodopi, giving life to its rich flora and fauna. According to the myth, the son of Rhodope and Haemus was Evros, who was worshipped by the Thracians as a god. The unknown Greek nature - ERT Archives The Pilot X Project (video)
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    Roman Forum of Maroneia
    Where the heart of Roman Maroneia beat Near the monumental Propylon of Hadrian's era, part of the Roman Forum of Maroneia has been excavated. Large buildings and the paved road can be seen. The Forum, together with the other public buildings of the city, gives a complete picture of ancient Maroneia.
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    Strymi caves
    Ancient habitation in the Strymi Caves  The gorge of Strymi or "Kato Rema" (In-Dere) is at the foot of Ismaros, near the village of Dioni. The area is of particular geological interest as there are many caves.  The most important of these are the three caves that form a complex. In the two caves, which happen to have both double entrances, excavations revealed the remains of habitation from the Neolithic period and the following Early Bronze Age (around 4th-3rd millennium BC) as well as from the Byzantine period. Ministry of Culture Regional Guide of E. Macedonia & Thrace
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    Cyclops Polyphemus cave
    A cave out of the Odyssey! The cave is 350m long with width ranging between 15 and 50 m. There are two openings for entering. The cave is interesting for its stalactite and stalagmite relief but also for its connection with Homer's Odyssey. Specifically in rhapsody i352-452 Homer refers to the Kikones and Maron, the priest of Apollo in the city of Ismaros.  Human presence is testified in the cave, though not continuous. The first evidence of use comes from the Neolithic period and the early Bronze Age, whereas the last dates to the Byzantine, towards the late 12th and 13th c. AD. The organized settlement in this period is justified by the upheavals in the Byzantine Empire due to civil wars between the emperors and the attacks by the Catalans on the coast of Thrace. The excavations brought to light burials and many sherds from commercial wine amphorae from the late antiquity, so the cave would have served for storage.   Ministry of Culture
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    Platanotopos cave
    North of the settlement at the foot of the Paggaio Mountain there are many caves and rock shelters. The Platanotopos Cave consists of two chambers. Its interior was in use in ancient times as ceramic sherds of prehistoric and historical times have been found. It is not an archeological site open to visitors.
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    The Trypes of Mary cave  
    In the devotional cave of the Virgin Mary In the  proximity of the southeastern houses of the settlement of Moustheni, at the southern foot of Mount Paggaio, the 'Trypes" (holes) of Virgin Mary cave is located. The cave has three entrances and is used as a place of worship. It had a similar religious use in the past. According to local traditions, the cave communicates internally with the Monastery of Panagia Eikosifoinissa located at the northern foot of Paggaio near Nikisiani. It is speculated that the three cave openings may have been mining galleries from antiquity.  Ministry of Culture 
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