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Thrace

Thrace is the last part of North Greece ending at Alexandroupolis on the south and Orestiada almost to the north. This is the part connecting Europe with Asia and Aegean Sea with Black Sea.

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Life shows its existence since 3000 BC here.

The name of this part according to the legend comes from "Thrace" the daughter of Oceanus, sister of Europe, Asia and Libya, or from the Greek word "trahia" which means a rough area because of the climate and the environment.

This is the place where since the ancient years as it is said many religious ideas and ceremonies (Orfika, Dionisia and Kaviria) came from.

The area of Thrace consists of three prefectures, Evros on the east, Rodopi in the centre and Xanthi on the west. Excavations at the area have brought up samples of life starting from the Palaeolithic Age near the rivers Evros and Ardas. Close to the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age Thracian races start spreading in Trace continuing the prehistoric tradition. Settlements of that age have been found both on naturally protected hills known as "Thracian Citadels" and flat locations.

When Thrace was part of the Roman Empire the Romans promoted and strengthened the local Greek character. Via Egnatia was constructed remains of which can be found in numerous places along the main route to Constantinople. During the Byzantine Era the area is close to the capital city Constantinople and once more many monuments bear witness to its prosperity: Didimotiho, with its castle and 23 towers, the fortress of Ioannis Katakouzinos in Pythio and the cavern of Agios Theodoros in Alexandroupolis transformed into a temple wall painted in two phases. Since the 18th century, the Greek element of the area has flourished both economically and intellectually. Traces of this peak can be found in Soufli, the land of silk, Metaxades and Didimotiho.

Today Thrace has to offer a lot to a visitor. The town of Xanthi the first to visit leaving the prefecture of Kavala, where the University of Thrace is based, the town of Komotini capital of Rodopi prefecture, built around a pre Byzantine fortress of the 4th century BC and Alexandroupolis the capital of Evros prefecture, from where one can easily visit the island of Samothraki and the the Evros Delta, known for the ecosystem with international importance according to the Ramsar Convention. Delta's geographical position and climate contributed into creating a vital place of hospitality for a great variety of animals. Lakes, lacy coasts, peninsulas and many branches of Evros River form a unique environment suitable for the survival of rare species of fauna and types of flora all over Europe.




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