Tourist Destination Of Prefecture of Alexandroupoli
© Region of Eastern Macedonia-Thrace
Alexandroupoli, the capital of Evros, occupies a dominant position in the geographic area of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, as it constitutes the main communication gateway between the countries of the Mediterranean, Asia and the Black Sea Region. The town is developing rapidly. The port and railway station serve as commercial transit centres. The incorporation of new villages in the Municipality (by virtue of the Capodistrian plan) has rendered it an important tourist centre that combines marine, spa and eco-tourism. The coastal villages of the Municipality of Alexandroupoli, Makri, Messimvria, Dikela, along with the mountain villages of Potamos, Avantas, Aissymi, Leptokarya, Kirki and Sykorachi, provide visitors with routes of unique natural beauty. Alexandroupoli is also only a short distance from the forest of Dadia, the Evros Delta and the healing baths of Traianoupoli. The town’s lively artistic and cultural scenes, along with the many entertainment options afford a high quality of life to its inhabitants, which are over 50,000.
The town was named after King Alexander, who visited the area after its liberation on 14 May 1920. The town is the seat of the Medical School of Democritus University and the Teachers College. In the mid 19th century, the town’s original population consisted of a few fishermen; the town started developing after the railway line that connects Thessaloniki with Istanbul was established in 1870. The town’s commercial character was determined by its central location. The new town, with its modern urban plan, port, airport and railway station, possesses a number of museums, such as the Ethnological Museum of Mrs. Giannakidou, the Ecclesiastical Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of the Friends of Antiquities. The town’s mountainous landscape contains many castle ruins, gorges and caves. Numerous places of interest, such as the cave of Cyclops and ancient Mesembria, are situated on the seaside, which is the town’s greatest attraction. Many hotels and a large campsite are situated in the area’s long beaches and are at the disposal of visitors. A series of events, exhibitions, conferences and festivals, particularly during the summer months, lend the town its distinct character. These events are held at Egnatia Park, which includes an open-air theatre, and the central lighthouse square; the lighthouse is the town’s symbol.
Excavations have shown that the settlement of Makri, 12 km to the west of Alexandroupoli, which affords panoramic views of the sea, was inhabited continuously from the Neolithic Age (6th millennium BC) until late antiquity. The tombs discovered underneath house floors were the first Neolithic tombs in northern Greece. The settlement was inhabited throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages. The cave of Cyclops Polyfemus, which has stalactites hanging from its walls, is situated at the edge of the prehistoric settlement. During the Byzantine period the settlement was fortified. Ruins of the fortification walls are still preserved. The post-Byzantine church of Aghia Anastasia of Makri was built around 1800-1833. The settlement of Thrace maintained the traditional Thracian architecture of mixed settlements. The archaeological site of Mesembria is also very interesting. The settlement at Mesembria was founded in the 7th century BC.
Near Kirki, visitors come across the cave of Aghioi Theodoroi, which has been turned into a chapel with magnificent Byzantine wall paintings.
The Municipality of Alexandroupoli is actively involved in the area’s cultural events through the Cultural Development Enterprise of the Municipality of Alexandroupoli, which runs a conservatory, a visual arts workshop, a school of traditional music, a school choir, a mixed-voice adults choir and the traditional choir “Voices of Thrace”. Visitors have the opportunity to rest and relax along Alexandroupoli’s seafront, with its countless bars and cafes, while taking in the sea’s blue. There is also a large number of restaurants, where visitors may enjoy fresh seafood delicacies, while basking in the warm sun and enjoying the beautiful horizon.
The town’s musical scene is completed with the philharmonic orchestra. Alexandroupoli is dear to its inhabitants and enchanting to visitors.