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Culture Archaeology Archaeological Sights Settlements Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Prefecture of Evros Municipality of Alexandroupolis

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02/12/2007
Byzantine Makri

Aikaterinh Balla
Source: C.E.T.I.
© Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
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The village of Makri is found a few kilometres west of Alexandroupolis. The archaeological research brought to light finds attesting that the prehistoric tumulus of Makri as well as the wider area have been inhabited from the prehistoric times (Neolithic Age) through the Byzantine era.

Byzantine Makri was next to the route of the Via Egnatia and, most probably, succeeded the ancient city of Orthagoreia. The city was known with this name since the 9th century and, according to written sources, it was the bishopric seat from the 9th to the 14th centuries, under the administration of the Metropolis of Traianoupolis. From the 14th century onwards, the city appears in the navigation maps and the portolan charts. In 1361, it was already under Turkish occupation, while in 1433, only a section of the fortification survived from its extensive destruction.

The archaeological research carried out in the area has revealed parts of the Byzantine settlement and of the fortified enclosure. The Early Christian marble architectural members indicate that the area was inhabited in the Early Christian times, although no buildings from the 5th-6th centuries have been found yet in the area. At the boundaries of the Byzantine settlement and the fortified enceinte, the remains of a bishopric church were found as well as a three-aisled basilica of the 9th-10th centuries, over which a Muslim mosque was erected. A cross-in-square inscribed church of the 12th century, which had probably upgraded to Metropolis after the death of Alexius III (1341), is preserved in the position “Episkopio” of the village. Between the years 1344 and 1361, Jacob, the Metropolitan of Makri, was involved to a certain point in the political events of the time.
There are remains of another church in the olive grove of Makri, at the site of “Aghios Georgios”. Near the shore and before the village, there are numerous rocky caves that seem to have served as worship places in prehistoric times, while they must have been used in Byzantine times, too. The abundant quantity of churches and finds in the area of Makri demonstrate that the city played a key role during the Byzantine era.