Sightseeing in Stavroupouli & Xanthi
Where to go. Where to Visit. Discover Xanthi: in Northern Greece, in Thrace, Xanthi reveals its secrets. While being in Xanthi you can take advantage of your stay and visit important and very interesting museums such as Folklore Museum of Xanthi. Learn more about the history and the culture by seeing all city monuments like Archaeological site of Avdira. Find out what is new in the art of the city by visiting Municipal Art Gallery of Xanthi. Enjoy yourself in festivals held in the city such as Carnival Festival and the Festival of Old City. Relax and take as many pictures as you can at Nestos river. Move around and explore Old City of Xanthi.
Old City of Xanthi
During the period of Ottoman rule in Greece, the way of building houses in a city usually was arranged in neighborhoods (mahalas) and was made around a religious center, a church, a mosque, a synagogue. From the first moment of your visit you will realize that Christians, Muslims and Jews were living harmoniously and created a very interesting mixture of western and eastern architecture. So, walking in the narrow streets of the old city is a great experience since you will find many interesting neighborhoods with a magnificent background, the mountain ranges of the region. The construction techniques, apart from religious beliefs, were directly related to the availability of local materials. Many of those traditional buildings are now folklore museums and art galleries and you can visit them and see the architecture from the inside.
Twelve kilometres outside the city centre you will find river Nestos and its surrounding area. The lush green banks of the river and the steep rocks form an extraordinary scenery. The lack of human and city noises make it an ideal destination for relaxation. In the whole area you will find traditional villages and also paths and places that are worth exploring on foot. The village Toxotes has one of the most picturesque railway station of Greece. Near the village Galani you will find the small church of Prtofitis Ilias, from which the view of the river is impeccable. After the village Galini a path starts that leads you to the banks of the river where you will see traditional wooden huts built on the sand of river. If you are an extreme sports fan, there are clubs that organise climbing on the cliffs or have equipment for canoe-kayak.
Over the last decades the Carnival of Xanthi is one of the most important festivals of Carnival all over Greece. from the beginning of the Festivals until the ‘50s the celebrations of the Carnival had a more traditional character and people participating were dressing up as animals, as people used to do since ancient Greece. Over the years modern characteristics were added to the celebrations. Younger people as well as visitors and the imagination of all participants created a different and very interesting atmosphere. During the Carnival the central square is always full of people where they meet, dance, have fun and also, where the revival of old traditions take place. The highlight of the celebrations is the great carnival parade which ends with the burning of “Jaroo” and thousands of fireworks.
Municipal Art Gallery of Xanthi
The Municipal Art Gallery of Xanthi is housed in a traditional house that was built during the previous century. It is a perfect example of West Macedonian-Epirus architecture with a basic characteristic its wooden carved ceilings, that were used only in the region of Xanthi. It is right in the city center and belongs to the Municipality since 1993. In the two floors of the gallery the visitor can see art pieces of local artists but also has temporary exhibitions of artists from other places. By visiting the gallery, you will be able to see interesting artwork and on the same time see a traditional house of Xanthi from the inside.
Folklore Museum of Xanthi
The Folklore museum of Xanthi is in the city center and it is housed in two traditional buildings from 1870. They both used to belong to the family of tobacco traders Kougioumtzoglou and they were designed in a Renaissance style by a Russian architect. The basic characteristic of the decoration are red bricks as well as murals made by a German romantic painter. Located almost next to the Cathedral Square, it can be found in a region that was the center of the Greeks during the Turkish occupation. By making a tour in the museum, you will have the chance to see the historical and social changes which took place in Xanthi over the last centuries. You will have the chance to learn about the everyday life in the city of Xanthi, what locals used to do on their free time over the past centuries and see from up close objects and tools that people were using every day.
Festival of Old City
For the past twenty years the Festival of Old City has become an institution in the city. The shows and exhibitions cover all aspects of literature, arts and music offering to all guests everything they wish to see and be entertained. During the days of the festival there are concerts, theatrical plays, artistic events of painting and acts of performers, folklore dances and traditional Greek dances, with a focus on the region. While you are at the Festival you can taste local foods, wine and tsipouro. The Festival of the Old City are held in September every year and many people visit Xanthi to take part in the events.
Archaeological site of Avdira
Avdira, the home town of the great Greek philosopher Democritus, is located 25 kilometers away from the city of Xanthi. According to mythology, the city was founded by Hercules himself to honor his battle partner Avdiros, who was killed by the horses of Diomedes. Archaeological findings though suggest that the city was founded in the 7th century BC by Klazomenoi, Ionian citizens from Minor Asia and then the colony was enforced by citizens of the city Teo from Minor Asia as well. The city grew culturally and economically especially after the Persian Wars and has been the most important member of the First Athenian Alliance after Athens, of course. In the years that followed, Avdira were conquered by Trivalloi, Macedonians, Selefkides and Ptolemies. In 170 BC it was conquered by Romans and entered an era of gradual decline. By the end of the ancient times, Avdira was an insignificant city, limited inside the walls of the citadel. During the Byzantine Empire it was moved further north, in a place called Paliochora. The excavations of the ancient city started in 1950 and the reconstruction and preservation of the findings continues to date. The most important things that the visitor will see in the archaeological site is the west side, where there are many Roman houses and the “House of Dolphins”, a house of the classical era that has a mosaic of dolphins on the floor. Very close to the port of the city there are also very important findings, such as defensive walls, a temple dedicated to an ancient goddess and a cemetery of the Hellenistic period. The archaeological site of Avdira is open every day during the morning.
Monasteries of Xanthi
The region of Xanthi was always known for the religious tradition and the ecclesiastical art and architecture. The most important monasteries are the ones of Virgin Mary Archageliotissa, Virgin Mary Kalamou, Moni Taxiarchon and St. Nikolaos, forming a cross, making people think that this cross protects the city from disasters, earthquakes and diseases. In the city there is an ecclesiastical museum where you can see artefacts from churches and monasteries of Xanthi and regions nearby. The museum is in the monastery of Virgin Mary Archageliotissa and you can visit it every day, although the timetable is not stable, it can be changed according to the needs of the monastery.