Traveler's Guide

East Macedonia & Thrace

Tour of Xanthi Town

Route a_From Dimokratias Square to the old town and Ecclesiastical Museum Begin your tour in Democratias Square, a border between the old and new town. It was created in the second half of the 19th century and was home to the weekly open market for many decades. Its main feature: the Clock Tower, built in 1859. Traffic never stops here. Follow V. Konstantinou Street and go uphill towards the old town. The road on the right, P. Tsaldari (from Komotini) leads to the Kosinthos bridges and the eastern tip of the town, passing amongst old shops. To the left, the narrow streets lead to the western part of the old town. V. Konstantinou Street was an old trade road and ended in the fish market (Balouk Bazaar), or Antika Square, as it is known today. There are renovated buildings, busy cafes, tavernas and cake shops there. From Antika Square, follow V. Sofias Street to the right, which leads to the river and go over the bridge, in the Samakof neighbourhood, to the old road towards Komotini and the monasteries on the hills above the town. Cross the famous “beach”, as the locals call the southern outskirts of the old town with its cafes and clubs and head to the right towards the market square (behind the Fire Station), where the bazaar is held on Saturdays. A little further down you come to the Polytechnic School Buildings. This is where the town’s tanneries used to be. Go through the “Xenia” Hotel park, cross the road and you will find yourself in front of the Municipal Garden which, together with the swimming pool park, are ideal for walks and recreation. Staying on B. Sophia Street, cross Kosinthos Bridge and walk upwards to the left to the Samakof neighbourhood which took its name from Samakova of Bulgaria, place of origin of the families who settled here in the 18th century. Muslim families reside in the district today. One of the first schools in Xanthi operated here, funded by the wealthy tobacco merchant, Theodoros Zalakas. By car, take the old Komotini road and follow the winding road which goes up through dense pine forest to the Archangeliotissa Monastery and the Ecclesiastical Museum. The Holy Metropolis Ecclesiastical Museum of Xanthi and PerithorioThe Holy Metropolis Ecclesiastical Museum of Xanthi and Perithorio is housed in the east wing of Panagia Archangeliotissa Monastery. The exhibits date from the end of the Byzantine period until the beginning of the 20th century and present a panorama of  Byzantine History and Post-Byzantine Art from the Thrace area. Panagia Archangeliotissa Monastery was founded during the mid-Byzantine period. The nave, in its present form, was rebuilt in 1841 after the destructive earthquakes of 1829. The Monastery celebrates on 15th August. It is open daily. Telephone: +30 25410-29799 Route b_From Antika Square, go straight on towards Mitropoleos Square It is at this junction that most of the 19th century mansions are found. The Town Hall, built in 1830, belonged to a Jewish tobacco merchant and was bought by the Municipality in 1926. Go down Palaiologos Street. On the corner of Palaiologos Street and Mavromihalis Street, the Orfanidis Mansion is home to Xanthi Town Hall. It was built by Austrian- Hungarian architects at the end of the 19th century and is distinguished by the carved ceilings, mosaic door, Mandra sandstone and Rodopi granite used in its construction. Moisis Inn next door is one of the most characteristic examples of a 1870 inn. The building of “The Progressive Union of Xanthi” is opposite the Town Hall. A little higher, at the junction of Orfeas Street and Antika Street is a representative example of Macedonian architecture with large sachnisia (enclosed balconies) and beautiful wood carving on the interior. It houses the Municipal Picture Gallery. Opposite is the Kaloudi Mansion (1877) with its lovely painted exterior facades. On Antika Street, the Folklore Museum awaits. Xanthi Folklore Museum The Xanthi folklore museum is housed in identical houses which were built touching each other and sharing a roof that is formed by a gable. The buildings are on three levels and there is remarkable wall decoration on the interiors. The layout of the facades and the creative use of the building has created an interesting architectural style with neoclassical influences. The original owners were the tobacco merchants Athanasios and Pantelis Kougioumtzoglou, who used plans they had brought from Russia before 1860 that are kept at the Cultural and Arts Centre. One building was donated to the Cultural and Arts Centre in 1968 to be used by the Progressive Union of Xanthi, whilst the other one was bought in 1976. They are used as a Folklore Museum. You can see the exhibition “Xanthi 1860-1940, in its prime” here, with references to the middle class and tobacco trade, the exhibition “Weekdays and Holidays”, with evidence of agricultural and cattle farming life in Thrace and also the exhibition “Business in Xanthi at the beginning of the 20th century – Working Class Professions”, based on a professional guide from 1910-11. Outside, there are two Turkish Baths, one for men and the other for women, as well as the Agion Akindinon Chapel. The entire building is a cutural showpieceand is considered a jewel for the town of Xanthi town of Xanthi. The exterior of the building is also remarkable because of its remarkable symmetrical decoration. Continue towards Mitropoleos Square. The Timios Prodromos Metropolitan Church (1839) and the neoclassical building of the Metropolitan Hall (1897) are opposite Matsineio School, the first primary school in town. A little further down, is Taxiarches, the oldest church in town (mid 18th century – 1834). Route c_From Antika Square, turn left into Christidi Street  and, following a circular route, you will reach Agios Georgios Church. From there, following Botsaris Street and Agios Vlasios Street, you reach the church of the same name and opposite, on Venizelos Street, you will find the imposing mansion of Isaac Daniel. To the left on the same road at the junction with V. Constantinou Street, you will find the Dimitrios Hasirtzolgou Mansion which is home to Lykeio Ellinidon. Xanthi Museum of Traditional Dress Lykeio Ellinidon and an exhibition of traditional dress can be found at the draper Hasirtzoglou’s Mansion (late 19th century) which used to be the Post Office and has recently been renovated. The exhibition can be viewed on request Telephone: +30 25410 28188, +30 69745 86742, Tobacco Warehouses In 1995, there were 57 which had survived the passage of time, of which 27 had been abandoned. At 9 Kapnergates Street, You can see the famous “P”, the largest group of tobacco warehouses in the Balkans at the time (49,000 cubic metres capacity) which created the Ottoman Monopoly (known in the west as the ‘Régie Co Intéressée des Tabacs de l’ Empire Ottoman’). Further on, on Kapnergates and Dimokritos Street, a smaller warehouse functions as Xanthi KAPI (Centre for Protection of Elderly People), whilst the Foundation of Thracian Art and Tradition can be found in the warehouse at 12 Apostolon and Androutsou Street. Telephone: +30 25410 29282.