Amphitheatrically built on the foot of Rodopi mountain chain, Xanthi is located in Thrace (Northern Greece), the crossroads of the Black Sea and the Aegean, Europe and Asia.
Kosynthos River divides the city into the west part, where the old and the modern town are located, and the east part, the “Samakov district”, that boasts a rich natural environment. Both parts still preserve their traditional flair, mesmerizing visitors with their nobility and magnificence. The cobbled narrow streets of the Old Town are decorated by gorgeous mansions, whose architectural style is a marvelous blend of local and ottoman architecture as well as Greek Neoclassicism architectural style. Together with the Byzantine churches and the picturesque squares, the city’s Old Town could be said to be an open museum, the glory of which remains untouched through the years. The modern part of the city boasts a beautiful square with a Clock and the renovated tobacco warehouses including the famous “Π», on Kapnergaton str., which took its name from the shape of the 1890’s edifices. Don’t forget to visit the flea market with its distinctive local flavor taking places every Saturday at Zoagoras Square!
Get a deeper insight into the rich history of the area through your visit to the Folk Art Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Municipal Gallery and Avdera Archaeological site. Colourful cultural events organized throughout the year provide another strong reason for visiting Xanthi; experience the party atmosphere of the renowned Carnival of Xanthi, standing out for its focus on the traditions and folklore of the region through a modern approach; the Old Town Festival in September, during which all events take place in the narrow paved streets of Xanthi’s Old Town; the Youth Festival and River Nestos (Music) Festival in summer, particularly popular among young people.
Nature lovers will discover that Xanthi is an unspoiled paradise: the serpentine river Nestos, its Delta (the unique aquatic forest of Europe) and its passes, the Drymos Forest (or Haidou), Lake Vistonida, the forest village of Erimanthos and Rodopi mountain range with its virgin forests and traditional villages are only some of this destination’s gems. Among the mountain villages stand out the “Pomakohoria”, a cluster of approximately 40 villages north of Xanthi, renowned for their cultural and architectural uniqueness.
Action fans and nature lovers will feel excited by the variety of possibilities offered: canoe-kayak in Nestos passes, hiking, cycling, bird watching, archery, off-road driving and horseback riding are only a few of the activities that someone can pursue in Nestos, Livaditis or Vistonida area.
Whether you are a history or tradition fan, a lover of nature, a gastronomy specialist wanting to indulge in delicious local specialties and eastern type sweets, or even an entertainment addict seeking to experience the city’s vibrant night life, the region of Xanthi will definitely satisfy even the most demanding ones amongst you. Take the chance to discover this unspoiled destination and let your spirit free to enjoy sounds and colours that will uplift your senses.
The carnival of Xanthi is incomparable and offers an unforgettable experience for anyone lucky enough to visit this northern city at Carnival time.
The event stands out for its focus on the traditions and folklore of the region, though a modern approach is taken which is free of extraneous elements and graceless influences. People gyrate in disguise through the streets, playing pranks and generally having a good time. Over 40 cultural associations participate in the Carnival program and set up their stalls in the streets of the city to wine and dine the guests with plenty of local wine and delicacies.
Numerous folk and cultural celebrations will take place as part of the famous carnival. The festivities which take place during the period of the carnival include concerts, theatre plays, music and dance nights, exhibitions, a cycling event, games on the streets, and re-enactments of old customs.
Look out for the custom “To kápsimo tou Tzárou” (the burning of Tzaros), a custom of Eastern Thrace, re-enacted every year in the district of Samakov close to the River Kossynthos in Xanthi. A local tradition in Eastern Thrace, the “Tzáros” or “Tzárous” is a human effigy placed on top of a pile of brushwood. It took the name “Tzáros” from the noise that is produced by the burning wood “tz,tz,tz…”. It is a custom to burn the “Tzáros” in the middle of a neighbourhood, square or on a hill on the last Sunday of the Carnival (“Tyrine Sunday”) so that people will not have to put up with fleas during the summer months. The end of the event is marked by an extravagant firework display.
Why not take a look at the Folk Parade, where folk dance groups from the town’s Cultural Associations and guest groups from all over Greece parade, dancing and singing through different neighbourhoods of the town? Let yourself be spellbound by the magic of the Carnival Night Parade, when all the participating crews of the Great Sunday Carnival Parade march past your eyes dancing to a delirious Carnival rhythm. The parade ends up in the Central Square, where the feast continues with a wild party.
The highlight of the Carnival celebrations is the Great Carnival Parade (float parade) on the evening of the final day. Floats with thousands of masked revellers fill the streets of the town with music and colors to accompany the King of the Carnival. The celebration culminates late at night with the ceremonial burning of the effigy of the King on the banks of the River Kóssynthos.
Stavroupoli – Xanthi (Greek: Σταυρούπολη) is a village and a former municipality in the Xanthi regional unit, East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Xanthi, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 342.002 km2. Population 2,050 (2011). Stavroupoli and Nestos Valley (Greek: Κοιλάδα του Νέστου) including Nestos River Tempi (Greek: Τέμπη του Νέστου) is a popular tour region and vacation target in North Greece.
The municipal unit Stavroupoli is subdivided into the communities Dafnonas, Gerakas, Karyofyto, Komnina, Neochori, Paschalia and Stavroupoli. The community Stavroupoli consists of the settlements Stavroupoli, Lykodromi, Kallithea and Margariti.
During the Bulgarian occupation of the region in World War II from 1941 to 1944, the village was renamed Krastopole Bulgarian: Кръстополе and was infamous as the location of the Krastopole or Enikyoy concentration camp where Bulgarian Communist Party and other left-wing enemies of the ruling regime were interned.