© Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
Alexandroupolis is the capital of the prefecture of Evros and is situated on a prominent geographical location being the main gate connecting the UE countries with the Mediterranean and Asian countries as well as the countries situated in the region of Euxine Pontus.
It was founded as lately as in 1875 to become a station on the route between Adrianople and Constantinople. The city of Alexandroupolis appears in written sources in the early 20th century. Now, it is the biggest harbour in Thrace and an important commercial crossroads. At the location where Alexandroupolis is now found, there was a small fishing village until 1872 known as Dedeagatchs (that means the tree of the monk – in Turkish dede stands for monk and agach for tree). It was named after a Muslim monk that had spent his monastic life in the shade of a big tree near the building of the Prefecture. After the Russo–Turkish war, the city was occupied by the Russians who sent civil engineers to design the urban plan of the city in 1877. The creation of the railway that linked Thessaloniki with Constantinople is probably associated with the population shift from the neighbouring Ainos, Maroneia and other areas in the vicinity of Dedeagach, which soon turned into an urban settlement. The city started to develop in 1870 and soon, once the Russo–Turkish war was over, became the seat of the eparchy of Ainos. In1889, the Archdiocese was also transferred to Dedeagach.
In 1912, Alexandroupolis was occupied by the Greek military forces and soon after, by the Bulgarians. In 1919, following the final liberation by the Greek army, the city was renamed Alexandroupolis in honour of king Alexander who had visited the then small town. Tradition has it that there was an ancient city under the same name in this area, founded by Alexander the Great as wall as a small settlement called Sali that is mentioned in Herodotus and might have been a trading station of Samothrace.
The area of Alexandroupolis owns a rich historical background. Apart from the ancient city of Sali, there are several cities nearby such as the ancient city of Mesembria-Zone, the Roman Traianoupolis, the Byzantine Vera, the open-air sanctuary of the ancient Thracians and the village of Doriscus.
There are also various museums in the city like the Ethnological Museum of Mrs Giannakidou, the Ecclesiastical Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Museum of the Friends of Antiquities. The emblem of the city is the Lighthouse constructed by the French Company of “Lighthouses and Lamps” and was set in operation on July 1, 1880.