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Kavala (Greek: Καβάλα, Kavála [kaˈvala]) is a city in northern Greece, the principal seaport of eastern Macedonia and the capital of Kavala regional unit. The unique indigenous population, the Aromanians, name it Cavala.


Panoramic view
Panoramic view
Kavala is located in Greece
Location within the region
2011 Dimos Kavalas.svg
Coordinates: 40°56′N 24°24′E / 40.933°N 24.400°E / 40.933; 24.400Coordinates: 40°56′N 24°24′E / 40.933°N 24.400°E / 40.933; 24.400
Administrative regionEast Macedonia and Thrace
Regional unitKavala
 • MayorTheodoros Mouriadis (Movement for Change)
 • Municipality351.4 km2 (135.7 sq mi)
 • Municipal unit112.6 km2 (43.5 sq mi)
Highest elevation
53 m (174 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 • Municipality
 • Municipality density200/km2 (520/sq mi)
 • Municipal unit
 • Municipal unit density520/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
 • Population56,371 (2011)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
65x xx
Area code(s)2510
Vehicle registrationKB

It is situated on the Bay of Kavala, across from the island of Thasos and on the Egnatia motorway, a one-and-a-half-hour drive to Thessaloniki (160 kilometres (99 miles) west) and a forty-minute drive to Drama (37 km (23 miles) north) and Xanthi (56 km (35 miles) east). It is also about 150 kilometers west of Alexandroupoli.


In Antiquity the name of the city was Neapolis ('new city', like many Greek colonies). During the Middle Ages, it was renamed Christoupolis ('city of Christ').


Kavala - panorama centre with harbour

The etymology of the modern name of the city is disputed. Some mention an ancient Greek village Skavala near the town. Others propose that the name is derived from the Italian cavallo which means horse. The city's nickname is "the cyan city" (Η γαλάζια πόλη) and its symbol the ancient ship.

Given the historical fact that the city is situated on the famous Ancient route Via Egnatia and the inhabitants were the retired Roman legionnaires and their famillies, one may understand that Cavala designated 'the Horses" (cavalla) - as there was a Roman fortress with a "post" where Imperial couriers had rest and changed the horses.



The archaeological site of Philippi

The city was founded in the late 7th century BC by settlers from Thassos. It was one of several Thassian colonies along the coastline, all founded in order to take advantage of rich gold and silver mines, especially those located in the nearby Pangaion mountain (which were eventually exploited by Phillip II of Macedonia).

Worship of Parthenos / the Virgin, a female deity of Greek–Ionian origin associated with Athena, is archaeologically attested in the Archaic period. At the end of the 6th century BC Neapolis claimed independence from Thassos and began issuing its own silver coins with the head of Gorgo (γοργὀνειο) on one side. A few decades later a large Ionic temple made from Thassian marble replaced the Archaic one. Parts of it can now be seen in the town's archaeological museum.

In 411 BC, during the Peloponnesian War, Neapolis was besieged by the allied armies of the Spartans and the Thassians but remained faithful to Athens. Two Athenian honorary decrees in 410 and 407 BC rewarded Neapolis for its loyalty.

Neapolis was a town of Macedonia, located 14 km (9 mi) from the harbour of Philippi. It was a member of the Second Athenian League; a pillar found in Athens mentions the contribution of Neapolis to the alliance.

Roman EraEdit

Via Egnatia in Kavala

The military Roman road Via Egnatia passed through the city and helped commerce to flourish. It became a Roman civitas in 168 BC, and was a base for Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC, before their defeat in the Battle of Philippi.[2]

The Apostle Paul landed at Kavala on his first voyage to Europe.[3]

Byzantine, Bulgarian and Crusader EraEdit

View to the old town with the Byzantine fortress
The arsenal and the food storage in the castle

In the 6th century, Byzantine emperor Justinian I, a descendant if a Romanised noble Thracian familly (see Aromanians), fortified the city in an effort to protect it from barbarian raids. In later Byzantine times the city was called Christoupolis (Χριστούπολις, "city of Christ") and belonged to the theme of Macedonia. The first surviving mention of the new name is in a taktikon of the early 9th century. The city is also mentioned in the "Life of St. Gregory of Dekapolis". In the 8th and 9th centuries, Bulgarian attacks forced the Byzantines to reorganise the defence of the area, giving great care to Christoupolis with fortifications and a notable garrison. Bulgarians captured the city in 834 under Presian First of Bulgaria and held it until it fell in the hands of the Lombards in 1197.

In 1302, the Catalans failed to capture the city. In order to prevent them from coming back, the Byzantine emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos built a new long defensive wall. In 1357 two Byzantine officers and brothers, Alexios and John, controlled the city and its territory. Excavations have revealed the ruins of an early Byzantine basilica under an Ottoman mosque in the Old Town. It was used until the late Byzantine era.

Ottoman EraEdit

The Ottoman Turks first captured the city in 1387 and completely destroyed it in 1391, as a Mount Athos chronicle testifies. Kavala was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1387 to 1912. In the middle of the 16th century, an Aromanian converted to islam in his late teenhood, Ibrahim Pasha, Grand Vizier of Suleiman the Magnificent, contributed to the town's prosperity and growth by the construction of an aqueduct.[4] The Ottomans also extended the Byzantine fortress on the hill of Panagia. Both landmarks are among the most recognizable symbols of the city today.

Mehmet Ali, the founder of a dynasty that ruled Egypt, was born in Kavala in 1769. His house has been preserved as a museum.

20th centuryEdit

Kavala in 1942
The landing of Greek troops in Kavala by Vasileios Hatzis
View of the marina at the seafront
Central part of the city, Kapnergati Square

In August 1916 remnants of the IV Army Corps, stationed at Kavala under Ioannis Hatzopoulos surrendered to the advancing Bulgarian army. These events provoked a military revolt in Thessaloniki, which led to the establishment of the Provisional Government of National Defence, and eventually Greece's entry into the First World War.

After the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, the city entered a new era of prosperity because of the labour offered by the thousands of refugees that moved to the area from Asia Minor. The development was both industrial and agricultural. Kavala became greatly involved in the processing and trading of tobacco. Many buildings related to the storage and processing of tobacco from that era are preserved in the city. During the Interwar period and the Second Hellenic Republic, Kavala was the 4th largest city in Greece (after Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras). In 1934 Dimitrios Partsalidis was elected mayor of Kavala, the first communist mayor in modern Greek history. The city gained temporarily by the Press, the nickname "little Moscow".

During World War II and after the fall of Athens, Bulgaria conquered the city. Almost the entire Jewish community of the city was exterminated during the Occupation.

Following the years after WWII, the city faced economic decline and immigration.

In the late 1950s Kavala expanded towards the sea by reclaiming land from the area west of the port. In 1967, King Constantine II left Athens for Kavala in an unsuccessful attempt to launch a counter-coup against the military junta.

Historical populationEdit

Year Town Municipal unit Municipality
1961 44,517 44,978
1971 46,234 46,887
1981 56,375 56,705
1991 56,571 58,025
2001 58,663 63,293
2011 54,027 58,790 70,501


Municipal units (former municipalities):
The town hall


The municipality of Kavala was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the two former municipalities, which became municipal units:[5]

Municipal unit Population (2011)[1] Area (km2)[6]
Kavala 58,790 112.599
Filippoi 11,711 238.751

The municipality has an area of 351.35 square kilometres (135.66 square miles).[6] The population of the new municipality is 70,501 (2011). The seat of the municipality is in Kavala. Some of the most important communities inside new municipality are:

Community Population
Kavala 56,371
Krinides 3,365
Amygdaleonas 2,724
Nea Karvali 2,225
Zygos 2,057

Subdivisions (districts)Edit

Kavala is built amphitheatrically, with most residents enjoying superb views of the coast and sea. Some of the areas inside Kavala are:

Agia Varvara Agios Athanasios Agios Ioannis Agios Loukas Chilia
Dexameni Kalamitsa Kentro (Centre) Neapolis Panagia
Perigiali Potamoudia Profitis Ilias Timios Stavros Vyronas

International relationsEdit

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Kavala is twinned with:



The province of Kavala (Greek: Επαρχία Καβάλας) was one of the provinces of the Kavala Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipality Kavala, and part of the municipal unit Eleftheroupoli.[8] It was abolished in 2006.


Traditionally the primary occupation of the population of Kavala was fishing. The fishermen of the town were well known all over northern Greece.

After the country's industrialization, Kavala also became a center of the tobacco industry in northern Greece. The building of the Municipal Tobacco Warehouse still stands today.

Oil deposits were found outside the city in the mid-20th century and are currently exploited by an oil rig.


Kavala's overview

Kavala has a hot-summer mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa) that borders on both a semi-arid climate and a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: BSk, Cfa) with annual average precipitation of 460 mm (18.1 in). Snowfalls are sporadic, but happen more or less every year. The humidity is always very high.

The absolute maximum temperature ever recorded was 38.0 °C (100 °F), while the absolute minimum ever recorded was −16.1 °C (3 °F).[9]

Climate data for Kavala Weather Station 2006-2018
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 9.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.8
Average low °C (°F) 4.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 57.5
Average precipitation days 9.2 9.1 11.6 7.9 8.5 7.7 4.2 2.8 5.4 7.4 7.9 9.3 91
Average relative humidity (%) 64.9 65.0 66.6 65.8 67.8 67.8 68.4 68.8 67.7 65.8 66.1 67.7 66.9
Source: [5]

Education and researchEdit

The Technological Educational Institute (panoramic view)
  • The Technological Educational Institute of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (Greek: ΤΕΙ Ανατολικής Μακεδονίας και Θράκης) is a public institute providing education at university level in the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. The main campus of the institute located in St. Lukas, Kavala and is approximately 132,000 m2 with buildings covering an area of 36,000 m2.The campus is home to two faculties (Faculty of Engineering Sciences and Faculty of Business and Economics) with a total of nine departments.
  • MSc in Management and Information Systems[10]
  • Fisheries Research Institute (FRI)[11] is one of the five specialized research institutes of N.AG.RE.F, being responsible to conduct research and to promote technological development in the fishery sector. The institute is located 17 km (11 mi) from Kavala, in Nea Peramos, at the centre of a marine area with rich fishery grounds and high biodiversity in the surrounding lagoons, lakes and rivers.
  • Institute of Mohamed Ali for the Research of the Eastern Tradition (IMARET)[12] is a registered NGO with the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was established by concerned citizens in Kavala. Its aims include the study of the Egyptian influence in Greece and vice versa. The intra-cultural exchange and dialogue, as well as the promotion of art as a means of intra-cultural understanding. The first major co-operation partner is Cultnat of Bibliotheca Alaxandrina with the aim of documenting and digitizing the architectural heritage of the Mohamed Ali era in Egypt and Greece. The most important event that takes place every year at the institute is the International Roman Law Moot Court Competition.
  • Historical & Literary Archives of Kavala[13] is a non-profiteering, public utility foundation. Its foundation was not subsidized by the Greek State, neither by any other enterprise of the private sector. Its operational cost is covered only by its founders and by infrequent aids of the local self-government.
  • Egnatia Aviation[14] is a private training college for pilots that started training in Greece in July 2006. The facilities of Egnatia Aviation are mostly located in the former passengers' terminal of the Kavala International Airport "Alexander the Great".


Festivals and eventsEdit

Kavala hosts a wide array of cultural events, which mostly take place during the summer months. The top festival is the Festival of Philippi[15] which lasts from July to September and includes theatrical performances and music concerts. Since 1957, it has been the city's most important cultural event and one of the most important of Greece.

Cosmopolis is an international festival held in the Old Town of Kavala that offers an acquaintance with cultures around the world through dancing and musical groups, traditional national cuisines, cinema, and exhibits at the kiosks of participant countries. The first festival took place in 2000, and from 2002 until 2009 was organised annually. It was revived in 2016 with a participation of 250 artists and musicians from all over the world.[16]

Giannis Papaioannou's Festival includes concerts and music seminars.[17]

Ilios ke Petra (Sun and Stone) (July) is a festival held in "Akontisma" of Nea Karvali. The event is of folkloric character, with the participation of traditional dancing groups from all over the world.

Wood Water Wild Festival[18] is an outdoor activities festival, inspired by nature. It includes live bands and DJ sets, body&mind activities, a book fair, outdoor theatre, ecology, camping, and debates.

Kavala AirSea Show[19] is an annual air show held in late June.

Various cultural events are held in all municipalities of Kavala during the summer months.


Fish and seafood, as well as the products of the local livestock breeding and agricultural sectors are the prevailing elements of Kavala cuisine. In Kavala, the traditional local recipes have been influenced by the cuisine of the refugees from Pontos, Asia Minor and Kappadokia.

Fresh fish and seafood, salted food, mackerel "gouna" (sun dried mackerel on the grill), sardine pantremeni, mussels with rice, herring saganaki, anchovies wrapped in grape leaves, and stuffed eggplant are some very renowned recipes in Kavala and the coastal settlements of the region. The grapes, wine and tsipouro produced in the area, as well as the kourabiedes (sugar-coated almond biscuits) from Nea Karvali, are particularly famous.


Outside the airport Megas Alexandros

Highway networkEdit

European route E90 runs through the city and connects Kavala with the other cities. The Egnatia Motorway (A2) lies north of the city. One can enter the city from one of two junctions: Kavala West and Kavala East. Kavala has regular connection with Interregional Bus Lines (KTEL) from and to Thessaloniki and Athens.


The Kavala International Airport "Alexander the Great" (27 km (17 mi) from Kavala) is connected with Athens by regularly scheduled flights and with many European cities by scheduled and charter flights.


Kavala is connected with all the islands of the Northern Aegean Sea with frequent itineraries of various ferry lines.


The city is connected with all of the large Greek cities such as Thessaloniki and Athens. All of the local villages are also connected via bus lines. The cost of tickets is very cheap. There is also a shuttle bus in Kavala with these lines:

  • Vironas – Kallithea
  • Dexameni
  • Cemetery
  • Kipoupoli – Technological Institute
  • Agios Loukas
  • Profitis Ilias
  • Stadium
  • Kalamitsa – Batis (only in summer)
  • Agios Konstantinos
  • Neapoli
  • Hospital – Perigiali


Municipal stadium Anthi Karagianni
  • Kavala F.C.: AO Kavala (Greek: Athlitikos Omilos Kavala, Αθλητικός Όμιλος Καβάλα), the Athletic Club Kavala, is a professional association football club based in Kavala. The club plays in the municipal Kavala Stadium "Anthi Karagianni".[20]
  • Kavala B.C.: Enosi Kalathosfairisis Kavalas (Greek: Ένωση Καλαθοσφαίρισης Καβάλας – Basketball Union of Kavala) is a Greek professional basketball club in Kavala. The club is also known as E.K. Kavalas. The club's full Greek name is Ένωση Καλαθοσφαίρισης Καβάλας (Kavala Basketball Union or Kavala Basketball Association). The club competes in the Greek League.
  • Kavala '86: a women's football club, founded in 1986, with panhellenic titles in Greek women football
  • Kavala Chess Club:[21] Chess is very popular in Kavala and the local chess club ranks top in Greece, enjoying plenty of success both domestically and internationally. The highlight is the club's annual International Open, which takes place every August in Kavala and attracts the biggest names in chess from all over the globe.
  • Nautical Club of Kavala (1945, Ναυτικός Ομιλος Καβάλας, ΝΟΚ): maritime sports (swimming, yachting, water polo)
  • Kavala Titans (2009, Τιτάνες Καβάλας): rugby union/rugby league

Ecclesiastical historyEdit

Saint Paul church, patron saint
St John the Baptist

Christopolis was important enough in the Late Roman province of Macedonia Secunda to be a suffragan of its capital Philippi's Metropolitan Archbishopric, but the Catholic succession ended.

Titular seeEdit

The diocese of Christopolis was nominally restored in 1933 as a Latin Catholic titular bishopric.

It is vacant, having had the following, far from consecutive, incumbents of the lowest (episcopal) rank, except the latest (archiepiscopal, intermediary rank):

  • Jean Isembert, Dominican Order (O.P.) (1450.05.11 – 1465.09.08)
  • Jaime Perez de Valencia, Augustinian Order (O.E.S.A.) (1468.10.01 – 1490.08.03)
  • Ausiás Carbonell, O.P. (1509.04.16 – 1532.12.09)
  • Enrique Rutil (1525.11.10 – ?)
  • Bishop-elect Francisco de Jaén (1530.12.05 – ?)
  • Francisco Estaña (1534.12.16 – 1549.06.23)
  • Gian Antonio Fassano (1544.06.04 – 1568.09.10)
  • Juan Segría (1547.11.28 – 1568.07.23) as Auxiliary Bishop of Valencia (Spain) (1547.11.28 – 1568.07.23); later Metropolitan Archbishop of Sassari (Sardinia, Italy) (1568.07.23 – death 1569.09.26), Metropolitan Archbishop of Palermo (Sicily, Italy) (1569.09.26 – 1569 not possessed)
  • Pedro Coderos (1570.02.20 – 1579.10.21) as Auxiliary Bishop of Valencia (Spain) (1570.02.20 – 1579.10.21); later Metropolitan Archbishop of Otranto (Italy) (1579.10.21 – 1585)
  • Marcin Szyszkowski (1603.11.24 – 1604.06)
  • Ludovico de Taragni, Benedictine Order (O.S.B.) (1612.03.21 – ?)
  • Michael Chumer, Friars Minor (O.F.M.) (1639.10.03 – 1651.06.30)
  • Maxime Tessier (1951.05.28 – 1955.05.08)
  • Otto Spülbeck (1955.06.28 – 1958.06.23)
  • Michael William Hyle (1958.07.03 – 1960.03.02)
  • Titular Archbishop Sante Portalupi (1961.10.14 – 1984.03.31), papal diplomat, as Apostolic Nuncio to Honduras (1959.01.29 – 1967.09.27), Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua (1959.01.29 – 1967.09.27), Apostolic Delegate to Libya (1967.09.27 – 1979.12.15), Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Algeria (1972 – 1979.12.15), Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Tunisia (1972 – 1979.12.15), Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Morocco (1976 – 1979.12.15), Apostolic Nuncio to Portugal (1979.12.15 – 1984.03.31)


Postage stampsEdit

Austrian Levant stamp with blue Cavalla cancellation[22]

Austria opened a post office in Kavala before 1864.[23] Between 1893 and 1903, the French post office in the city issued its own postage stamps; at first stamps of France overprinted with "Cavalle" and a value in piasters, then in 1902 the French designs inscribed "CAVALLE".


In the past the city hosted consulates from different European countries. Currently hosts consulates from the following countries:

Notable figuresEdit


See alsoEdit


  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
  1. ^ a b c "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
  2. ^ Appian, B.C. iv. 106; Dion Cass. xlvii. 35
  3. ^ Acts, xvi. 11
  4. ^ Kiel, Machiel (1971). "Observations on the History of Northern Greece during the Turkish Rule: Historical and Architectural Description of the Turkish Monuments of Komotini and Serres, their place in the Development of Ottoman Turkish Architecture and their Present Condition". Balkan Studies. 12: 416.
  5. ^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (in Greek)
  6. ^ a b "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2015.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Detailed census results 1991" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. (39 MB) (in Greek) (in French)
  9. ^ "EMY-Εθνική Μετεωρολογική Υπηρεσία". Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  10. ^ MSc in Management and Information Systems
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Official website
  17. ^ (in Greek) Φεστιβάλ κλασικής μουσικής «Γ. Α. Παπαϊωάννου»
  18. ^ Wood Water Wild Festival
  19. ^ Kavala AirSea Show
  20. ^ "Anthi Karagianni Stadium".
  21. ^ [4]
  22. ^ Die Poststempel auf der Freimarken-Ausgabe 1867 von Österreich und Ungarn, Edwin Mueller, 1930, # 6814
  23. ^ Handbook of Austria and Lombardy-Venetia Cancellations on the Postage Stamp Issues 1850–1864, by Edwin MUELLER, 1961, p.215


  • Koukouli-Chrisanthaki Chaido, Kavala. Αrchaeological Museum of Kavala, Kavala: D.E.T.A., 2002 (in Greek).
  • Stefanidou Emilia, The City-Port of Kavala during the Period of Turkish Rule. An Urban Survey (1391–1912), Kavala: Historical & Literary Archive of Kavala, 2007 (in Greek).
  • Karagiannakidis Nikos – Likourinos Kyriakos, Neapolis-Christoupolis-Kavala, Kavala: Municipality of Kavala, 2009 (in Greek).
  • Koutzakiotis Georges, Cavalla, une Échelle égéenne au XVIIIe siècle. Négociants européens et notables ottomans, Istanbul: The Isis Press, 2009.
  • Roudometof Nikolaos (ed.), Notebooks of Bulgarian Occupation. Eastern Macedonia 1916–1918. v. 1, Kavala – Chrisoupoli – Eleutheroupoli, Kavala: Historical & Literary Archive of Kavala (in Greek).

External linksEdit