At theregion situated between Vistonida Lake (east) and Nestos River (west) during the ancient years, the Thracian tribes of Vistones were leaving (near Vistonida Lake) and Sapaioi (west of Vistones till Nestos River). At the mountains of the same region the Thracian tribesof Trafses (at the Northeast, in the valley of Trafou River, which streams in the valley of Echinos and washes out at the north of Vistonida Lake), Satres at the North and Dion at the valley of Nestos.
Xanthi: The lady and noble woman of Thrace
Located in Thrace, Xanthi is a city with a long history. Glorious present and even better future, the capital of the prefecture of Xanthi. It can be reached by car from all over Greece. Specifically, it is located 204 kilometres away from the city of Thessaloniki, 703 kilometres from Athens, 121 from Alexandroupolis and 165 kilometres from Kepous, its border patrol station before Turkey, and 405 kilometres from Istanbul. It features airline connections with Athens (two flights daily with Olympic Airways) through the airport of Kavala, and has railway connection with Athens, Thessaloniki, Alexandroupolis and Istanbul.
The modern city features parks, squares and modern housing, while there are a number of industrial units at its outskirts which provide employment to the locals. Moreover, Xanthi is the headquarters of the School of Engineering of the Democritus University of Thrace.
The city also features a vast array of restaurants, taverns, ouzeri, that serve local delicacies. Special mention must be granted to the seafood taverns, both in the city and those scattered around the town’s outskirts, near the sea. Xanthi is famous for its deserts and dried nuts. Plenty of cariokes, Sutzuk loukoumia, pastelia, siropiasta, hazelnuts, almonds, etc., can be found in both the stores of the Old town, and the bazaar that is held every Saturday. Also, Xanthi is famous throughout Greece for its carnival. Every year, and for fifteen consecutive days during the period of Mardi Gras, a grand carnival is organised with references to both local customs and traditions and modern day life.
Xanthi 1900 (central square)
References to Xanthi, or Xanthia, date back to 879 BC, under this name. In the beginning it was a small village, having experienced all the tumultuous eras of the Thracian history. Raidings, disasters, race conflicts, civil wars. The Ottomans arrived at the region when its populace had dwindled down to almost nothing and everything had been destroyed. They brought settlers from the depths of Asia Minor, which is how Genisea was created, while Oreo and Xanthi are Greek and Christian centres.
By 1715 Xanthi became renowned for its tobacco, and so did Genisea. Many foreign sightseers travelled throughout the region and described the life and struggles of the locals. Tobacco commerce throughout Europe led Xanthi into a course of prosperity. Two earthquakes which literally levelled the city, in March and April of 1829, played 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 all of the agencies were transferred to Xanthi which, at that time, had a population of ten thousand. In 1891, the railroad line was grounded near the city. The economic development led to the founding of schools and associations.
In 1912, the city was seized by the Bulgarians, only to be freed eight months later by the Greek army. Shortly thereafter, the city was once again captured by the Bulgarians in whose hands it remained until the end of World War II. After lengthy diplomatic manoeuvres and struggles, western Thrace became a permanent part of Greece in 1919-1920.
Xanthi 1917 (central square)
Xanthi 1930 (central square) Xanthi 1936 (central square)
Nowadays Xanthi ?s ? modern city, rich ?n history, traditions ?nd customs, ?nd w?th many attractions f?r the visitors (including the surrounding areas). ?t ?s worth visiting the city during the Carnival (Greek: ΚαρναβÜλι) (either February ?r March ?s dates change) ?nd during the Old Town Festival (ΓιορτÝς ΠαλιÜς Πüλης) (beginning ?f September). Also, ?ne should n?t miss the Xanthi Bazaar (ΠαζÜρι) every Saturday. Democritus University ?f Thrace in, w?s established ?n July 1973. ?t ?s based ?n Komotini, Greece ?nd has campuses ?n the Thracian cities ?f Xanthi, Alexandroupoli ?nd Orestiada. The university accepted the f?rst students ?n the academic ye?r 1974-1975. ?t w?s named ?after the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus who w?s born ?n the city ?f Avdira.
The Old Town of Xanthi is situated at its north part being a historic core and cover 380.000 m2 of surface. The town is built after 1829. It is the year when strong earthquakes destroy the former settlement. The town is built on the remains having as core the churches, which pre-existed from the Byzantine Xanthia, as the town was called in the ancient times.
During the 19th century, Xanthi is referred as a small country town having 8000 citizens. But there was economic prosperity due to the cultivation, processing, manufacturing and distribution of tobacco and its products, as well as due to the advantageous position of merchant routes. The town is built by Ipirotes and Macedonian craftsmen, characterized by the labyrinth form of tilled alleys and filled with folk balcanic residences, inns, shops, typical churches of the last Ottoman period but at the same time west styled neoclassic mansions whose owners are mainly tobacco merchants.
The Old Town of Xanthi is a unique place. It is a valuable cultural chapter for the contemporary town and generally for the region of Thrace. It wouldn’t exist, if in 1976 it wasn’t declared as preserved settlement. This had as effect the curbing of the street plan from 1939 which made provision for the roads to be broadened and straightened.
The town planning study that is delegated by the Prefecture of Xanthi, in co-operation with the Municipality of Xanthi, in 1992, presents with excellency and suffiency the characteristics of the old town and points the value of the preserved settlement. The ending of this study was the publication of the presidential decree in 1995 (O.G.F. 1037/11.09.1994, O.G.F. 1097/14.12.1995), which determines the allowed interventions and characterizes the list buildings.
In the Old Town there are 12000 buildings characterized as listed. From these, 140 are characterized as having of great value, 130 valuable, 260 are characterized interesting. Espousing the traditional settlement and the historical values it stands for we ENVISAGE the rescue of the Old Town to be based on the evolvement of a “new” town within the old one
The Folk Museum
The Folk Museum of Xanthi was founded by the Progressive Union of Xanthi (FEX). Due to its small place and because a number of exhibits it was expanded at Kougioumtzoglou and Kaloudi mansions at the beginning of 19th century.
Building of a typical folk Macedonian characterists, one of the oldest buildings of the town and very representative sample of the symmetrical traditional residence in the middle of 19th century. At the exterior, the sachnisia of the floor are characteristic, while in the interior there a rich wooden and carved decoration with traditional and erudite elements.
The Central Square is a sight for sore eyes by itself, since the last years it started to have it sold glamour back. It was firstly designed in 1870 and since then a lot of changes have been made having as peak at the end of 1880s when they built the huge clock.
Kosynthos river flows exclusively on the borders of the open surface. Its fountains come from the tops of Koulas (central Rodopi), crosses Pomakochoria, passes through the traditional settlement of Xanthi and after it spreads tin the valley, it washes up ay the north-west of Vistonida lake. The name of Kosynthos river in the ancient years was “Kossinitis”.
Xanthi’s flee market
The history of the flee market of Xanthi is long, it is lost in the years of Ottoman period. It unfolds through the many and detailed narrations of the elders as well as the ones of the travelers of Thrace , meeting the first of them in the 15th century.
(I) The Holy Monastery of Pammegiston Taksiarchon is situated at the north-west of the town and in an altitude of approximately 150 metres high. The history of the Monastery is unknown, since no sources have been found from its long run history. The Monastery seems to be acquainted with the prosperity in the 19th century , while in the 20th century the Metropolitan Bishop of Xanthi Ioakim Sgouros put a lot of efforts to rebuild it. Today, in the Monastery, which is Monastery for men, the Ecclesiastic School is hosted. At its present shape, the Monastery was rebuilt around 1840 by the Metropolitan Bishop of Xanthi Eugene (1831-1848). The Holy Monastery of Panagia Archaggeliotissa is situated at the north east of Xanthi in an altitude of 160 metres high. At its present shape, the Monastery was rebuilt around 1840 by the Metropolitan Bishop of Xanthi Eugene (1831-1848). The expenses were covered by the money the residents that gathered with donations. The economic support by the tobacco merchants of Xanthi was of great importance. In 1913m during the first Bulgarian occupation, the relics of the Monastery were taken and transferred to Sofia . Today, the Monastery is only for men and at its left wing the Ecclesiastic Museum of the Metropolis of Xanthi is hosted
(II) The Holy Monastery of Panagia Archaggeliotissa is situated at the north east of Xanthi in an altitude of 160 metres high. At its present shape, the Monastery was rebuilt around 1840 by the Metropolitan Bishop of Xanthi Eugene (1831-1848). The Holy Monastery of Panagia Archaggeliotissa is situated at the north east of Xanthi in an altitude of 160 metres high. At its present shape, the Monastery was rebuilt around 1840 by the Metropolitan Bishop of Xanthi Eugene (1831-1848). The expenses were covered by the money the residents that gathered with donations. The economic support by the tobacco merchants of Xanthi was of great importance. In 1913m during the first Bulgarian occupation, the relics of the Monastery were taken and transferred to Sofia . Today, the Monastery is only for men and at its left wing the Ecclesiastic Museum of the Metropolis of Xanthi is hosted
(I) (II) (III)
(III) TheHoly Monastery of Panagia Kalamous is situated at the North of Xanthi in an altitude of 170 metres high. Its name, according to the tradition, came from the finding of a miracle icon of Panagia in a reed bed at the banks of river Kosynthos. The Monastery was probably founded in the 11th century. Indirect sources for its historical presence during the period from 11th to 15th century are the functional hand written artifacts that are in Sofia. After the middle of 15th century, the Monastery met with prosperity and at the 16th century it is seemed that at that place a bibliographical laboratory was hosted. Since the 17th century a code having a possessive note, dated back in 1645. At the 18th and 19th centuries the Monastery raises its possessings. After the significant destructions that were made by the earthquakes in 1829, its rebuilt started, which will be finished at the era of Metropolitan Bishop of Xanthi Ioakim Sgouros. From that era only the south wing is preserved. Its relics were taken from the Bulgarians in 1913 and are presently in Sofia. After the Minor Asia destruction its possessings was given to the refuges that didn’t have any land. From the saved relics, the household icon of Panagia “Kalamiotissa”, masterpiece of probably around the 15th century and the icon of “Koinisis tiw Theotokou”, also made around the 15th century, are the sole who present interest. It isa nunnery.
Xanthi, the Thracian town at the Balcanic neighbourhood, where different population groups co-exist, presents four festive institutions that diffuse throughout the four seasons of the year and are organised by both the Municipal Company of Development (D.E.A.X.) and the Municipal House of Culture
- Old Town Festival
- Youth Festival
- Chatzidakis Festival
Beyond the history of tradition as far as these institutions are concerned, their presence is due to the vivid cultural activity, which characterizes the whole town during the years and not just when the festival take place. Xanthi is a town having a variety of culture clubs, lots of which were created by groups of citizens having their origins from different places of Greece – firstly as a means of rallying around and connecting with the far away home-town- near which lots of carnival rhythms were added. The town also has institutions, centres, clubs of culture and tradition, and it neighbours with Bulgaria, European Turkey, Minor Asia and Aegean Sea, and has rich urban and cultural past that roots at the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th. Under these circumstances the town manages to stimulate even today our interest on the fields of culture, reflected at these festive institutions and claims deservedly the title it is often attributed as “The Lady of Thrace”.
Xanthi’s Old Town Festival
Since 1991, Xanthi’s Old Town Festival takes place at the beginning of autumn. This year, it will offer us once again unforgettable moments of recreation and fun! The festival programme is rich: concerts of famous and local artists, theatrical plays, art and photography exhibitions, book fairs as well as parallel events excite different kind of interests!
It’s quite appealing that all events mentioned above take place in the enchanting setting of Xanthi’s Old Town. We could describe it as an “outdoor museum” with traditional, colourful mansions, the glory of which remains untouched through the years, and beautiful paved streets that travel us back in time…
The visitor is invited to discover the town’s beautiful traditional settlement, to go back in time and -last but not least- to have endless fun in one of the stands set by the various associations of Xanthi in the narrow, paved streets of Old Town, offering plenty of food and drinks.
All those who wander around town merge into one single company dancing and celebrating together! If you are planning on visiting Thrace this period of time, don’t miss this incredible event that appeals to every single age group! Apparently, the variety of the events scheduled indulges all tastes and satisfies the most demanding spectator! Here, you will also have the chance to discover a unique destination of endless possibilities that will certainly impress you!
Official organiser of the Festival is the Municipal Utility Service of Xanthi, on the site of which you can find Festival’s full programme: www.deax.gr.
(Hotels in the town)
Hotel Orfeas - (Address: Michail Karaoli 40) just 200 metres from the main square of Xanthi, Hotel Orfeas offers accommodation with a private balcony and free Wi-Fi. It serves buffet breakfast in the morning and has a bar. Orfeas rooms and suites are air conditioned with carpeted floors (Category:**, Beds:87, Tel.:003025410-20121-22, Fax:003025410-20998, Address: 40, M. Karaoli str., 67100 Xanthi).
Natassa Motel - (Address: 1km Xanthi-Kavala National Road) The easily accessed Hotel Natassa is located in the Xanthi-Kavala National Road and it offers 3 restaurants, a conference hall and elegant rooms with free Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service. All rooms are spacious and luxurious (Category: ***, Beds: 151, www.hotelnatassa.gr, tel.: 003025410-21521-4, Fax:003025410-21525, Address: 1st klm Xanthi-Kavala, 67100, Xanthi).
Elisso - (Address: Vasilissis Sofias 9) Surrounded by traditional restaurants and café-bars, Elisso is located in the old city of Xanthi. Boasting free Wi-Fi, the stylish rooms and suites offer a balcony with mountain views or the surrounding area (Category: ****, Beds:43, www.hotelelisso.gr, Tel.: 003025410-84400-84888, Fax: 003025410-84890, Address: 9, Vas. Sofias str., 67100 Xanthi).
Hotel Xanthippion - (Address: 28is Oktovriou 212) Centrally located in the scenic town of Xanthi, Hotel Xanthippion is just 500 metres from the Old Town and offers a snack bar. It features air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi.
Hotel Z Palace & Congress Center - (Address: Terma G. Kondili) Z Palace Hotel is situated 800 metres from the centre of Xanthi. It features an outdoor swimming pool with sunbeds and umbrellas. Free Wi-Fi internet access is available throughout (Category: *****, Beds: 183, www.z-palace.gr, tel.:003025410-64414, fax:003025410-64410, Address: End of G. Kondili str., 67100 Xanthi).
Hotel Casino Xanthi - (Address: Latomion Area) Set amidst a well-tended garden with pool, the 5-star Hotel Casino Xanthi lies 2 km from the centre of Xanthi Town. It features a casino, and fitness centre with hot tub and sauna. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout (Category:*****, Beds:61, www.hotelcasinoxanthi.gr, Tel.:003025410-84805-13, Fax:003025410-84814, Address: Latomion region, 67100 Xanthi).
Agriani Hotel - (Address: 4Th Km Xanthis-Dramas) The Agriani Hotel is located in an area of almost 40 acres, on the 4th kilometre of Xanthi-Drama National Road, close to River Kosynthos. It features a swimming pool and restaurant (Category: ***, Beds: 40, www.agriani-hotel.gr, tel.: 003025410-83777, fax:003025410-83777, Address: 4th kil. Xanthi-Stavroupoli, 67100 Xanthi).
916 Mountain Resort - (Address: Periochi Panagia Kalamou) Located amongst oak and pine trees in Panagia Kalamou, 8.5 km away from Xanthi, 916 Mountain Resort offers stone-built houses with fireplace and a balcony overlooking Mount Rodopi.
Le Chalet - (Address: Kimmeria) Set amidst landscape gardens, Le Chalet features an outdoor pool with a children’s section, a bar-restaurant and a snack bar, within 8 km from the centre of Xanthi Town (Category: ***, Beds: 82, www.lechalet.gr, tel.: 003025410-68511-15, Fax.: 003025410-68516, Address: 67100 Pigadia, Xanthi).
Nestos Hotel - (Address: 28is Oktovriou) Hotel Nestos is located at the entrance to the city of Xanthi, only half in hour from the Kavala Airport. The rooms are modern and comfortable. Free Wi-Fi is available (Category:***, Beds:142, www.nestos-hotel.gr, tel.:003025410-27531-4, Fax:003025410-27535, Address: End of 28th Octobriou str., 67100, Xanthi).
Hotel Elena: Category: ***, Beds: 90, www.elenahotel.gr, tel.:003025410-63901, fax:003025410-63906, Address: 2, Leoforos Stratou str. Xanthi)
Means of Transports
Trains Xanthi's Railway Station is at the end of Sidirodromikos Stathmos str. There are daily services to Thessalonika, Athens, Alexandroupoli and Istambul. One can find about the timetables by contacting the station 0030 25410 22581.
Buses Xanthi's K.T.E.L. is roofed the last few years in a new station and has the capability to serve bigger number of passengers with great convenience. There are interurban services towards all over Greece as well as towards Xanthi's skirts 0030 25410 22684.
Airplanes The airport serving the Prefecture of Xanthi is called "Alexander the Great" (KVA), and is situated at Chrysoupoli, Kavala, South-west of Xanthi in a 35 klm. distance from the center of the town. Chrysoupoli's airport: 0030 25410 23601
Moreover Xanthi features airline connections with Athens (El. Venizelos Intl Arpt (ATH)) through the airport of Kavala (“Alexander the Great” Arpt (KVA)), one flight daily with Olympic Air and through Alexandroupolis (Democritus Arpt (AXD)), two flights daily with Olympic Air.