Athens News

In the heart of Evros. maintaining its Thracian character. Alexandroupoli is a rising destination for holidays all year round. since. apart from its continuous development. it is close to areas and sights of particular natural beauty. that are becoming poles of attraction for eco-tourism. It is not accidental. that tourist facilities'Clnd hotel units have developed. with congress centers that give life during all seasons. It is a beloved city to its inhabitants and an enchanting one to its visitors.

ITS STRATEGIC POSITION, as the main gate connecting the countries of the European Union with the countries of the Mediterranean Sea, Asia and those of the zone by the Black Sea, has helped in the area's development. The airport, harbor and railway station are important centers of transit trading.

THE LARGE LIGHT-HOUSE ON THE COASTAL ROAD, the city's symbol. is one of the sights of Alexandroupoli. It was built by the French company of "Light-houses and Lanterns" and is in operation since the 1st of June, 1880. Also, the building of the old Zarifios Teacher's Academy, donated by George and Helen Zarifi in the National Independence Square, the building of the Leondaridios City Boys' School and 3rd Elementary School In the Mitropoli Square, are samples of the architecture of the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century, that are maintained in Alexandroupoli today. The Museum of Natural History is at a beautiful and green point of Platanotopos of Maistrou, one of the eastern settlements of Alexandroupoli. The coastal settlements of the Municipality of Alexandroupoli- Makri, Mesimvria. Dikella- and also the mountain settlements- Potamos, Avandas, Esimi, Leptokaria, Kirki, Sykkorachi- offer trips of unique natural beauty. Furthermore, Alexandroupoli is very near the well known Forest of Dadia, the Delta of the river Evros and the therapeutic spas of Traianoupoli.

THE DELTA OF EVROS, is one of the most important wet-lands in Europe, an ideal habitat for hundreds of species of birds and fish. At the same time, it is also a retreat for humans, generously offering peace and relaxation. One can enjoy boating in the reedy area. admire the dancing flying of the flamingos and meet people who live there every-day, the fishermen, who are ready to offer hospitality to the visitors, in their huts. In the middle of the prefecture of Evros, there is the Forest of Dadia - Lefkimi - Souliou, a protected area since 1980. It is

one of the last sanctuaries for birds of prey in the whole of Europe. It is characteristic, that of the 4 species of vultures that exist in the Old Continent, three of them reproduce in this forest. The fourth kind, the gier-eagle, visits the area sometimes. The Forest of Dadia also operates as a bird-watching area. Further north, there is Soufli, well known for its famous silken articles and its great folklore tradition. Also, at the Metaxades village at the greek and Bulgarian border, apart from a beautiful National Trust settlement, a place with a long-standing history in the silk industry, to which it owes its name, one can also see a place where the craft of "weaving on the loom" is carried on. There, one can see how carpets are woven with this technique. Near Alexandroupoli, there is Maronia, a special place on the coast of Thrace. According to the findings, it has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium B.C. As the myth goes, king and priest of Apollo in the mythical city of Ismaro, grand-son of Dionysos, was Maronas, who was known for the sweet wine he made, in a unique manner, from the vineyards of the season. With this scented wine. Odysseas succeeded in getting Cyclop Polyfimos drunk, and thus save his companion and himself.

AN ESCAPE DESTINATION, close to Alexandroupoli, is the Pomakochoria, one of the exceptional parts of our country. A Greece of past decades, as far as tradition and pace of life is concerned, still lives in the mountains of Rodopi, where Orthodoxy meets the Moslem element, and where the world struggles with earth and lives from its fruits.

(Posting date 14 November 2006)

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