Xanthi: Τhe Lady of Thrace
Xanthi, the "Lady of Thrace", is a place with a history that goes back to many centuries. It got its name from either a beautiful Amazon or a daughter of Oceanus. Here, Hercules arrived to tame Diomedes’ man-eating horses.
An integral part of Xanthi’s history is Roloi (the Clock), which rises in the central square, carrying memories of the distant past. Walk across the shopping streets of the city and enjoy a coffee or a drink at one of the lively café/bars of Vasilissis Sophias street, beside Kosynthos River. Visit the warehouses; these architectural giants, standing in the center's edge, reminiscent of the glamor of a bygone era. Continue the journey to the past with a visit to the picturesque Old Town. With plenty of beautiful mansions, of various architectural styles, Old Town is an outdoor museum, full of colors and scents! To get to know it, you have to walk through it; smell the freshly baked bread and the flowers in the gardens; shake hands with the locals; feel the magic of the place...
The Old Town is characterized by a residential peculiarity; harmonious coexistence of miscellaneous traditions and architectural styles, which will impress you! Each house is aesthetically unique, yet in harmony with the rest of the residential complex. Harmonic architectural details can be found everywhere; on the sidewalks, at the enclosed balconies, at the doors, the fanlights, the windows, at the corners of the houses... Catch your breath in one of the traditional cafés or picturesque restaurants and taverns. Admire the old inns which dominate the place, having now been transformed into modern hotels. Spend some time to see the building of "Christos Pavlidis” Municipal Gallery; a fine example of western Macedonian and Epirus’ architecture. Have a look at the house with the brownish stones, which now houses the Town Hall. The Folklore Museum will intrigue your attention; a former Kougioumtzoglou family mansion; this building with the stunning facade, looks like a palace. You will certainly feel amazed by Isaac Daniel’s mansion; with the brick decoration in neo-Gothic style and the many eclectic elements. Here, Manos Hadjidakis, a Greek composer and Oscar winner, spent his childhood.
Kosynthos River divides the city in two parts. Samakov district, which is perched on the slope, will charm you with its simplicity. Walk the streets of the small, minimalist village and enjoy the smells of ouzo and olive trees.
When it's time for you to go back, you will, with great difficulty, leave behind this place with its mysterious aura, which keeps intact the glamor of past eras...
REASONS TO COME BACK
1. To walk through the cobbled streets and admire the old mansions with the enclosed balconies.
2. To hear linguistically diverse idioms.
3. To taste special treats prepared from fresh ingredients, such as kebab, pastrami pie and lamb with gioufkades.
4. To enjoy the famous Xanthian sweets such as carioca, saragli, nougat, soutzouk loukoum and syrupy sweets.
5. To visit the nostalgic antiques shops in Old Town.
6. To shop from the famous Saturday's bazaar in Xanthi.
7. To make a riverside walk, crossing the Straits of Nestos, starting from Toxotes village, where nature thrives.
8. In order to live the unique experience of canoe-kayaking or rafting in the Straits of Nestos, following the meandering river.
9. To visit the ruined Kromniko village in a unique journey through history and time, and if lucky, to admire wild horses, descendants of those who were liberated by the inhabitants of Kromniko village, before they abandon it.
10. To have fun at Xanthi’s Carnival.
11. To experience the feast of the "Old City Festival", organized every year in early September.
12. To know a place that blends contrasts; past with present, in such a harmonious manner, like a fairy tale...