Alexandroupoli (Greek: Αλεξανδρούπολη, pronounced [aleksanˈðrupoli]) or Alexandroupolis is a city in Greece and the capital of the Evros regional unit in East Macedonia and Thrace. It has 57,812 inhabitants and is the largest (in size and population) city of Thrace and the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. It is an important port and commercial center of northeastern Greece.
The lighthouse, symbol of Alexandroupoli
|Administrative region||East Macedonia and Thrace|
|• Mayor||Evangelos Lambakis|
|• Municipality||1,217.0 km2 (469.9 sq mi)|
|• Municipal unit||642.2 km2 (248.0 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||11 m (36 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|• Municipality density||60/km2 (160/sq mi)|
|• Municipal unit||61,702|
|• Municipal unit density||96/km2 (250/sq mi)|
|• Population||57.812 (2011)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
Alexandroupoli is one of the newest cities in Greece, as it was only a fishing village until the late 19th century. However, the modern city is located at the site of ancient Sale (Greek: Σάλη), a Greek city of the classical era founded by colonists from the island of Samothrace, mentioned by Herodotus.
Alexandroupoli benefits from its position at the centre of land and sea routes connecting Greece with Turkey. Landmarks in Alexandroupoli include the city's lighthouse in the port, the archaeological sites of the Mesimvria Zone, the city's waterfront (the centre of commercial activity), the Ethnological Museum of Thrace, the Cave of Cyclops Polymphemos and the nearby Evros Delta.
The municipality of Alexandroupolis was created in 2011 by the merger of the following 3 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
The municipality has an area of 1,216.954 km2, the municipal unit 642.245 km2.
The municipal unit Alexandroupoli is subdivided into the following communities (constituent settlements in brackets):
- Alexandroupoli (Alexandroupoli, Agnantia, Amfitriti)
- Aisymi (Aisymi, Leptokarya)
- Makri (Makri, Dikella, Ennato, Koimisi Theotokou, Mesimvria, Panorama, Paralia Dikellon, Plaka)
- Sykorrachi (Sykorrachi, Atarni, Avra, Komaros, Mesti, Perama, Stathmos)
The province of Alexandroupoli (Greek: Επαρχία Αλεξανδρούπολης) was one of the provinces of the Evros Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipality Alexandroupoli, except the villages Peplos and Trifylli. It was abolished in 2006.
The modern city of Alexandroupoli was founded as a small fishing village in the early 19th century (when what is now northeastern mainland Greece was still under the rule of the Ottoman Empire) by fishermen from the villages of Makri and Maroneia and it became known as Dedeağaç (Greek: Δεδεαγάτς, Turkish: Dedeağaç [dedeaːtʃ] Bulgarian: Дедеагач [dedeagatʃ]). According to the legend, the name was based on a wise old Turkish man or dede who spent much of his time in the shade of a local tree (in Turkish ağaç) and was eventually buried beside it. In 1920, King Alexander I of Greece visited the city, and the local authorities decided to rename the city Alexandroupoli ("city of Alexander") in his honor, a request which was approved by central Greek government.
Alexandroupoli is about 14.5 km (9.0 mi) west of the delta of the river Evros, 40 km from the border with Turkey, 346 km (215 mi) from Thessaloniki on the newly constructed Egnatia highway, and 750 km (470 mi) from Athens. Around the city one finds small fishing villages like Makri and Dikella to the west, and suburban Maistros, Apalos, Antheia, Aristino, Nipsa, Loutra to the east, while north of the city are the ever closing Palagia, Avantas, Aissymi and Kirkas. At the 2001 census, the main city had a population of 48,885 and the municipal unit had a population of 52,720. The current metropolitan population is estimated at around 70,000 inhabitants, and its area covers the southern portion of the regional unit, running from the Rhodope regional unit to the Evros Delta. Besides Alexandroúpolis, its other largest settlements are the villages of Mákri (pop. 820), Ávas (497), Sykorráchi (309), Aisými (289), and Díkella (288).
|Climate data for Alexandroupoli|
|Record high °C (°F)||17.8
|Average high °C (°F)||8.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||4.8
|Average low °C (°F)||1.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−13.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||60.4
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||6.8||6.1||5.8||5.5||5.1||3.4||2.5||1.5||2.7||4.6||6.6||8.2||53.8|
|Average relative humidity (%)||74.9||73.6||73.0||71.3||68.6||60.6||54.4||53.3||59.7||67.6||75.2||76.7||67.4|
The settlement's history goes back to the 19th century, when the area was part of the Ottoman Empire. Long used as a landing ground for fishermen from the coast of Samothrace opposite, a hamlet developed in the area during the construction of a railway line connecting Constantinople to the major cities of Macedonia from Kuleliburgaz. The work was part of an effort to modernise the Empire, and was assigned to engineers from Austria-Hungary. The settlement soon grew into a fishing village known as Dedeağaç.
In 1873 it was made the chief town of a Kaza, to which it gave its name, and a Kaymakam was appointed to it. In 1884 it was raised in administrative rank from a Kaza to a Sanjak, and the governor became a Mutasarrıf. In 1889 the Greek archbishopric of Aenus was transferred to Dedeağaç. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Dedeağaç was part of the Adrianople Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire.
Dedeağaç was captured by the Russians during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), and Russian forces settled in the village. The officers in charge saw that reconstruction incorporated wide streets running parallel to each other, allowing the quick advance of troops, and avoided cul-de-sacs. This was very unlike the narrow alleys, cobbled streets, and dead-ends that were characteristic of Ottoman cities at the time. The city returned to Ottoman control by the end of the war, but the brief Russian presence had a lasting effect on the design of Alexandroúpoli's streets.
The building of a railway station in Dedeağaç led to the development of the village into a town, and a minor trade centre by the end of the century. The town became the seat of a Pasha as the capital of a sanjak. Ottoman control of the town would last until the Balkan Wars. On 8 November 1912, Dedeağaç and its station was captured by Bulgarian forces with the assistance of the Hellenic Navy. Bulgaria and Greece were allies during the First Balkan War, but opponents in the Second Balkan War. Dedeağaç was captured by Greek forces on 11 July 1913. The Treaty of Bucharest (10 August 1913) however, determined that Dedeağaç would be returned to Bulgaria along with the rest of Western Thrace.
In September 1913 after the end of the Second Balkan War about 12 000 Bulgarian refugees took temporary asylum at the outskirts of the city. They were from 17 different villages all over the Western Thrace fleeing ethnic cleansing.
World War IEdit
The defeat of Bulgaria by the Allies in World War I (1914–1918) ensured another change of hands for the town. Western Thrace was withdrawn from Bulgaria under the terms of the 1919 Treaty of Neuilly. Alexandroupoli was under temporary management of the Entente led by French General Charpy. In the second half of April 1920 in San Remo conference of the prime ministers of the main allies of the Entente powers (except United States) Western Thrace was given to Greece. However, Bulgaria retained the right of transit to use the port of Dedeagach to transport goods through the Aegean Sea. The change of guard between French and Greek officials occurred on May 14, 1920, in the city's Post Office. In the interior of the Post Office there is a memorial plaque concerning this event. The city was soon visited by Alexander of Greece. He was the first King of Greece to visit the town which was renamed in his honour.
Following the defeat of Greece in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), the Greek Army under General Theodoros Pangalos retreated from Eastern Thrace to the area of Alexandroupoli. Bulgaria used the opportunity of the Greek defeat to demand that Alexandroupoli either be returned to its control or declared a neutral zone under international control. Both demands were soundly rejected by the Greek leadership and found no support in the League of Nations.
The Treaty of Lausanne (24 July 1923) affirmed that Western Thrace and Alexandroupoli would continue to be controlled by Greece.
World War IIEdit
During World War II (see Axis occupation of Greece), the Nazis gave Alexandroupoli to their Bulgarian partners Alexandroupoli was subsequently under Bulgarian occupation between May 1941 and 1944. The city suffered some damage to buildings and loss of population during the war, but was largely spared the effects of the Greek Civil War (1946–1949). Forces of the communist Democratic Army of Greece in and around the town area were small and loosely organized, resulting in the absence of major battles in the area; the return of peace allowed for Alexandroupoli to grow from a town of 16,332 residents in 1951 to a city of 57,812 residents by 2011.
Alexandroupolis is now following rapid economic growth with levers on Egnatia Odos, the airport, the port and the railway station. It is an important center of transit trade. Alexandroupolis has over 70,000 inhabitants as municipal unit and today offers a high quality of life with an environmental balance and intense cultural activity.
Until 80s in the city, the Wine Festival was held under the auspices of the Greek Tourism Organization. This celebration revived after 25 years, in the summer of 2013 at the initiative of the Municipality of Alexandroupolis and is the city's greatest cultural event. The city's and Evros's regional unit cultural associations offer red and white local wine along with various meats.
Since May 2017, Alexandroupolis has a new 1400-seat gardening theatre in "Ecopark Altinalmazis ", where various cultural events such as theatrical performances and concerts are held. It has an area of 80 acres, 135,597 sq.m. and has a refreshment, walkways, green spaces and kiosks. This park is named after Constantine Altinalmazis, the longest city mayor (1925-29, 1929-33, 1933-37,1937-41).
Each year, in the summer on the coast road of Alexander the Great book exhibition is held, and every two years near the harbor the international trade fair "Alexpo" is organized.
The Lighthouse of AlexandroupoliEdit
Attraction and symbol of the city is the Lighthouse (recognized as a cultural heritage monument in 2013) located on the city's coast road, Alexander the Great. It was built in 1850 and started operating in 1880, built on the western side of the city's harbor to facilitate the coasting of local sailors who traveled to the area of Hellespont. It is on a cylindrical pedestal and is 27 meters from the seabed and 18 meters from the ground, making it one of the tallest lighthouses in Greece. It operates with electricity and its distinctive feature is its light beam reaching 24 nautical miles (approximately 44 km) and three white blinks every 15 seconds.
Just 20 miles from the city, the Evros Delta is one of Europe's most important habitats with 200,000-acre area, which is on the list of protected areas of the International Ramsar Convention (1971) due to the significant and rare species of plants (more than 300 species), fauna (40 species of mammals, 28 species of reptiles and 46 species of fish) and birds(320 species). Part of the Delta has been designated as a Special Protection Area and is proposed as a Site of Community Interest in the Natura 2000 Network.
Ethnological Museum of ThraceEdit
It is housed in a 1899 built neoclassical stone building on 14th May, 63 street, and has been operating since October 2002 to preserve historical memory in the wider geographical area of Thrace. It includes exhibits on the tradition of Thrace and covers the following themes: clothing, music and worship, confectionery, bronze and earthenware, textiles, land cultivation.
Cave of CyclopsEdit
It is located in Makri and is a famous cave of the Cyclops Polyphemus according to local folk tradition. It has traces of use since the Neolithic period (about 4,500 BC) and today the Neolithic settlement, one of the most important in the Balkans, has been discovered.
- Historical Museum of Alexandroupolis (335, Democracy Avenue)
- Ethnological Museum of Thrace (63, 14th May street)
- Archaeological Museum of Alexandroupolis (44, Makris Avenue)
- Ecclesiastical Museum of the Holy Metropolis of Alexandroupolis (Mitropoleos Square)
- Folklore Museum of Cappadocian Association of Alexandroupolis (1, Mitropoulou street)
- Museum of Folklore and Natural History (8, Thermopylae street, Nea Chili)
- Museum of Natural History (Platanopathos of Maistros)
- Museum of Flora and Fauna (Art & Culture Center of the Municipality of Alexandroupolis "Georgios Vizyinos")
Alexandroupoli houses four Departments of the Democritus University of Thrace. These Departments are the following:
- Department of Medicine
- Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
- Department of Primary Level Education
- Department of Education Sciences in Early Childhood
Some highly specialised medical operations are performed in the new Regional University Hospital – Research center, currently the largest one in the Balkans. The Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics is the only one in Greece in this scientific field.
The city has a network of public schools, from nurseries to high schools, under the responsibility of the city council (though the student are subjects under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education). There are also many private language schools, most of them offering European Languages courses. Languages spoken by the citizens include: Greek, English, Russian, Bulgarian, Armenian, German, and Turkish. The city has a reputation of consistently sending large number of students to attend national and international universities.
Alexandroupolis is a modern city with a careful urban design and is growing fast. It is one of the major transport hubs in Greece, as it is accessible by all means, by air, by train, by road and by sea. Notable infrastructure projects are the modern-international port "Dimokritus", the Egnatia Motorway and the railway connection with major cities that make it a commercial hub and create the right conditions for its further development in the future. Bicycle lanes also run in the city center.
Alexandroupoli is served by Dimokritos International Airport (IATA:AXD) in the suburbs of Apalos, about 6 km from Alexandroupoli city centre. It is one of the busiest airports in Greece and a main hub for Olympic Airways and Aegean; there are 6 daily flights to Athens, and also flights to Crete, while during the summer months some seasonal flights operate to/from Germany and Russia. The airport is connected to the city by highway, taxi services and scheduled bus services.
The port of Alexandroupolis has been used principally by travellers. There are daily services to the Island of Samothraki.
Alexandroupoli has two train stations: Alexandroupoli and Alexandroupoli Port. Both are served by trains to Thessaloniki and to Dikaia. There is an extensive network of train and bus replacements services throughout the region of Evros. There were railway connections to Burgas in Bulgaria and to Edirne and Istanbul in Turkey, but those were suspended.
The bus network is much more extensive and frequent. Hourly buses to the major municipalities within Macedonia and Thrace offered from the Regional Coaches KTEL as well as daily services to Bulgaria and Turkey. OSE-Varan and Ulusoy have daily services to Istanbul and Athens each and depart from Alexandroupolis Railway Station in early mornings.
The Volleyball team of Ethnikos Alexandroupolis has a long-standing presence in the Greek Volleyleague with a long history in the sport, being the first provincial team to participate in the A1 Volleyball championship (41 years). He has made significant progress in all three home titles (Championship, Cup, League Cup), reaching the final, but also in European competitions, reaching two times the quarterfinals of the CEV Challenge Cup in 2015 and 2016. He has also featured great athletes of the Greek and world volleyball players such as Marios Giourdas, Theodoros Baev and Andreas Andreadis, while Thanasis Moustakidis and Nikos Samaras also wore his shirt. He has also won many national championships in the infrastructure departments. In total, she has won 5 Junior Leagues in Greece (1976, 1987, 2011, 2012, 2013), 2 Greek Children's Championships (2008, 2011), 3 Greek Championships of Junior children (2007, 2008, 2009). The headquarters of the team is the closed gym of "Michalis Paraskevopoulos", 1000 seats, located next to the Fotis Kosmas athletic stadium.
Other city's Volleyball Teams are:
- Nike Alexandroupolis: Women's team with 9 participations in Women's Greek Volleyball Championship, 2 National Junior championships (1990, 1992) and 1 National Girls Championship (1989)
- G.E. Alexandroupolis, which has competed in the A2 Men's Volleyball category.
- Finikas Alexandroupolis, women's volleyball team
The main sporting facilities are situated around the football and athletics stadium Fotis Kosmas. The stadium hosts various football teams, such as:
|Notable sport clubs based in Alexandroupolis|
|Ethnikos Alexandroupolis||Football||1927||Earlier presence in 2nd Greek Division|
|Enosi Alexandroupoli F.C.||Football||1995||Earlier presence in 3rd Greek Division|
There are two basketball teams in the city: Ethnikos Alexandroupolis and Olympiada Alexandroupolis. Each game between them is a local derby. These two teams compete in the regional basketball championship of East Macedonia and Thrace. Ethnikos Alexandroupolis has celebrated two rises and participations in the 3rd National Men's Basketball Division (1995, 2014), counting equal relegations.
The new Municipal Swimming Pool of Alexandroupolis "Dimosthenis Michalentzakis" was inaugurated in June 2013, with two swimming pools, a large Olympic specification, depth of 3.5 meters and a smaller - warm-up, changing rooms, saunas, gymnasiums and a viewing platform with a capacity of 1000 seats. It is the most modern swimming pool in Greece in terms of technical equipment and one of the most modern in Europe. It has hosted major international events such as the Hellas Beetles Fina Artistic Swimming World Series International Swimming Meeting in April 2019. It is the seat of the Olympic clubs: OFTHA and NOA, as well as the water polo team of Ethnikos Alexandroupolis. The team of OFTHA has been for many years the first place in Thrace and the first in Greece, while many athletes and athletes have been distinguished in national championships.
In the handball there are two teams: Cyclops Alexandroupolis, a team that also has a women's team with participations in the Women's A1 Handball Championship and Asteras Alexandroupolis
The Athletics team of Ethnikos Alexandroupolis also has a great tradition as since 2015 is constantly emerging the first team in Thrace, and it has featured great athletes such as: Hrysopigi Devetzi, Dimosthenis Magginas and Fotis Kosmas.
Run Greece AlexandroupolisEdit
Since 2014, with the help of the track team of Ethnikos Alexandroupolis, Run Greece Alexandroupolis is held, which continues until today, on the last Sunday of September, co-organized by SEGAS, Municipality of Alexandroupolis and Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.
Via Egnatia RunEdit
The international race 'Via Egnatia Run' is an action of Evros Regional Unit which started in 2016 and is being held every May. It is a 21.1 km half-marathon on the route of the Ancient Via Egnatia, which once connected Constantinople to Rome, culturally, economically and commercially, passing through the ancient city of Sale (today's Alexandroupoli) and Traianoupoli. There is also a race of 8 km, and a rece of 800 meters for disabled people and children. It takes place on the Alexandroupolis-Kipoi National Road and the routes have been certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS). The goal is through the sport to get to know the culture and history of this important route.
- Hrysopiyi Devetzi (1976), Greek athlete, silver medalist in triple jump (Athens 2004)
- Dimosthenis Michalentzakis (1998), Greek Gold paralympic champion swimmer S9 (Rio, 2016)
- Demis Nikolaidis (1973), Greek former international footballer, Euro 2004 champion
- Nikos Hadjinikolaou (1962), Greek journalist
- Marios Giourdas (1973), Greek former international volleyball player
- Marinos Ouzounidis (1968), Greek former international footballer, football coach
- Lefteris Hapsiadis (1953), Greek Lyrics creator and writer
- Manolis Siopis (1994), Greek international footballer
- Rafail Koumentakis (1993), Greek international Volleyball player
- Dimosthenis Magginas (1982), middle-distance and long-distance runner
- Stavento (Michalis Kouinelis) (1979), Greek hip-hop singer
- Athanasios Tsigas (1982), Greek former footballer
Alexandroupolis is the 11th largest city in Greece.
- "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
- D. C. Samsaris, Historical Geography of Western Thrace during the Roman Antiquity (in Greek), Thessaloniki 2005, p. 126
- Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior ‹See Tfd›(in Greek)
- "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-21.
- "Detailed census results 1991" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. (39 MB) ‹See Tfd›(in Greek) ‹See Tfd›(in French)
- "ALEXANDROUPOLIS Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Dédéagatch". Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 917–918.
- Л. Милетичъ, Разорението на Тракийскитѣ българи прѣзъ 1913 година, р.222
- "Treaty of Neuilly, article 27 (3), 48". Lib.byu.edu. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
- "New Rule in West Thrace, The New York Times, December 8, 1919" (PDF). New York Times. 1919-12-08. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
- "Grafiki Palia Alexandroupoli". Oldalexandroupoli.gr. 1920-05-14. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
- K.Svolopoulos, Greek Foreign Policy 1945–1981
- "The Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, DUTH". www.mbg.duth.gr. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
- TrainOSE schedule Archived 2013-01-19 at the Wayback Machine
- "ESPN Scrum.com". ESPN Scrum.com. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
- "List of cities in Greece", Wikipedia, 2019-05-29, retrieved 2019-07-17
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Alexandroupolis.|
Media related to Alexandroupoli at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website ‹See Tfd›(in English) ‹See Tfd›(in Greek)
- Ethnological Museum of Thrace (Angeliki Giannakidou).
- Department of Education Sciences in Early Childhood, Democritus University of Thrace
- Department of Medicine, Democritus University of Thrace
- Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Democritus University of Thrace
- Department of Primary Level Education, Democritus University of Thrace
- Η σύγχρονη πόλη που δημιουργεί την ιστορία της. (archived from the original on June 1, 2009)
- Alexandroupolis Live WeatherCAM
- Alexandroupolis LIVE Webcam at the Port
- 2009 photos of Alexandroupolis on Flickr