Monday, July 29, 2013

Kavala, a beautiful and picturesque Greek city

The prefecture of Kavala is situated between the rivers Nestos and Strymonas, which are also its natural borders. Its geographical location on the shore of the Aegean Sea and over the ancient route (Via Egnatia) that linked East to West makes it an ideal point of communication between people and cultures. As you enter Kavala, you will admire the panoramic view of the town that is nestled between the slopes of the surrounding hills and the northern coast of the Aegean Sea.
The historic settlement of Kavala was established and developed on the peninsula of Panagia where the earliest evidence of human presence dates back to 1050-700 BC. The city's history begins in the second half of the 7th century BC when Parian settlers, who in the meantime had colonized the island of Thassos, passed on to the opposite mainland coast and founded a new colony called Neapolis. Around the same time, another walled settlement was created in the area of Kipoupoli, named Antisara.

During Macedonian rule Kavala, as a harbor serving Filippi, gained great prosperity, after Philip II -father of Alexander the Great -annexed it. During the Roman Empire the city upgraded into a major port in the region and a travel station, as in front of its walls was passing through Via Egnatia (the main thoroughfare of the Roman Empire connecting Durres to Constantinople).
In 45A.D. the Apostle Paul visited Kavala on his way to Philippi, where he founded the first Christian community in Europe. In the eighth century the city was known as Christoupolis. After intense adventures and struggles, during the times of the Crusades, it was eventually conquered and completely destroyed by the Turks (about 1391). After almost a century of desolation, and in the second half of the 15th century the city appears again under the current name and quickly developed into a major port. Not until 1864 did the Greek people get permission from the Turkish state and created the first neighbourhood outside the walls in the area of St. John.

The 20th century was the golden age of Kavala. From 1903 until 1909, the Greek inhabitants, with a high national morale, took part in the struggle for Macedonia (i.e. the struggle for the unification of the Northern part of Modern Greece with the rest of the Modern Greek state). The booming of the tobacco industry and the population growth resulted in an economically prosperous middle class and a broad working class, organized into powerful trade unions, vigorously asserting its claims.

Nowadays Kavala is one of the largest cities (about 80,000 citizens) in Northern Greece. It is a city that many people rank among the most beautiful and picturesque of the Mediterranean country. The reason for this, is its unique character, its privileged location and its warm and friendly atmosphere.

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