History of the Prefecture of Drama
© Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
The Prefecture of Drama is located at the northeastern end of Macedonia and borders the Prefectures of Kavala and Serres. The earliest sign of human life in the area appears during the Middle Paleolithic Age (50,000 years ago). This is confirmed by the excavations in the Cave of Aggitis river (cave Maara), where a layer of this era as well as remains of a settlement were found dating to the late Neolithic Age (late 3rd Millennium BC).
The research gives evidence on the existence of settlements during the Middle (5000 – 4500 BC) and Late Neolithic Ages (4500 – 3200 BC) on small hills (the so-called toumbas) found scattered all over the region. In the village of Sitagroi, systematic excavations have revealed examples of houses, everyday use vessels and tools dating from the mid- 6th through the late 3rd Millenniums. The existence of a settlement dating to the same period is also attested at the site of “Arkadikos” in the city of Drama.
Many of the Neolithic settlements persisted throughout the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age (1050 – 700 BC), while new settlements appeared not only in areas close to rivers, such as the location of Kali Brisi, but also in mountain sites-citadels like the fortress on the hill of Platania.
The foundation of the city of Drama, with its port at Philippi is evidenced in the historic times, in particular the 4th century BC. The sanctuary of Dionysus in the location of “Mikri Toumba”, 2.5 km far from the village of Kali Brisi, dates to the late 4th century BC.
The Holy Monastery of Eikosifinissa on Mount Pangaion is one of the most important Orthodox monastic centres preserved since the Byzantine period. The monastery, built in the 5th century AD, experienced a heyday in the 15th and the 16th centuries AD. 33 post-Byzantine churches and several Byzantine monasteries are preserved in the city and throughout the Prefecture of Drama pointing out the religious background of the area.