Traveler's Guide

East Macedonia & Thrace

Route ιn τhe town of Drama - Drama

Start at the Archaeological Museum at 2 Patriarchou Dionysiou Street. It operates daily from 8:30 till 15:00. Closed on Monday. Entrance: 2 euro. Telephone: +3025210 31365 In the small, but well organized Archaeological Museum, the visitor will see interesting evidence of over 50,000 years of man’s presence in the region from the time when nomadic cattle farm- ers populated the Cave of Aggitis and the first Neolithic farmers and cattle breeders lived in the villages of Sitagra and Arkadiko, until the Inter-war Period. A replica of a Neolithic house made of wood, branches and mud, complete with an oven and household items, even bobbins, attracts the attention of young and old alike. A stage post sign from Macedonian times and a milestone from Egnatia Highway, which were found in Kalabaki, indicate the pres- ence of a signifi road network and the position of the area as a crossroads of trade routes. Time is measured by a sundial with etched hour indicators and the date, 1069. The latest fi in the museum is a Mammoth tusk which was found in 2005 in the Aggitis area. From the Museum, head toward the Municipal Garden, with wa- ter features, perennial plane trees and the Statue of Liberty in the east side of the garden, created by the sculptor Laz- aros Lameras and the architect I.N. Halepas. Turn left at Atha- nasiadis Street and you will fi Eleftsquare on your right. Agios Nikolaos church (formerly Eski Minaret), built in the 15th century, complete with a cu- pola, 9 domes and semi-circle arches, overlooks the square. In the NE corner of the square you can see the bust of Macedonian fiArmen Koubtsios, who was hanged there in 1907. From Eleft Square, go down G. Zervos Street and turn right into Armen Street. At the corner of Armen Street and Agamemnon Street, you will fi the Sardivan Mosque featuring frescoes on the portico and an illustration of a paradisaical town, which is presumed to represent Drama at the end of Ottoman Rule. Head towards Tria Street where you can see a Hellenistic tomb in the Macedonian style. Carry on towards Di- kastirion Square and admire the Ottoman fountain in front of the Law Courts on Themidos Street. From Themidos Street, continue onto K. Palaiologou Street where you can see the Arap Mosque at the junction of Megalou Alexandrou Street and L. Labrianidou Street. The Municipality of Drama plans to convert the minaret into an art gallery. On Megalou Alexandrou Street, go towards 19 May Street which was created when the Monastiraki Stream was fi in the 1960s and constitutes a signifi shopping street in the town. From 19 May Street, head towards EleftVenizelos Street. Going up this main road around which the town was built, you see the Byzantine Pammegiston Taxiarchon Church on your left The walls were made with the ‘opus incertum’ technique, and parts of the interior walls have survived, with some of their icons (Circle of Passions and the Archangels Michael and Gabriel), Ga- briel, dating back to the fi two decades of the 14th century. On the south side there is a crypt (ossuary). The church is thought to have been a burial chapel for Empress Ireni - Palaiologina. At the junction of Venizelos Street and Kountouriotou Street, is the his- toric Eleft cafe, a two storey neoclassical building, which was built by the Greek Community of Drama at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, there is a café on the ground fl and a cultural centre on the fi fl . The entrance is on Kountouriotou Street. To the right, a part of the eastern Byzantine wall can be discerned as well as the rear of the inns whose façade is on Venizelos Street. The Byzantine Walls of Drama, 850m in perimeter, date to the 10th century. In 1206 they were completely rebuilt by Boniface of Mont- ferrat. In the Taxiarches Church precinct (SE corner of the walls) there are visible traces of one of two known stairways. The town clock, which was removed in 1945, was on a tower on the crum- bling north side wall, accessible from 19 May Street. At 18 Kountouriotou Street, one can admire an excellent example of urban architecture; the tobacco agent Gian- noulils Dakos mansion built in 1926- 1927. Carry on till Agia Sophia Church, the oldest surviving church in the town. The 10th century church, which is approximately 2 metres below present ground level, consists of a transitional style basilica (octagonal dome) and peristyle and is of a similar structure to that of the walls. The pillared antechamber west of the church and the clock tower (former minaret) were added when the church was transformed into a mosque under Ottoman Rule. Originally dedicated to the Assumption, the church took its present name from refugees in 1922. Next to Agia Sophia is the Bouboura Mansion (1972), which, with its extravagant exterior relief decoration and a main entrance in the Art Nouveau style, unavoidably attracts attention. Return to E. Venizelos Street, where the “OLYMPIA” cinema, one of the oldest in Greece, can be found on the corner. Owned by the Israeli Community of Drama, it operated from the beginning of the 1920s. In 1940 it was named “Olympia”. It was bought by the Mu- nicipality of Drama and now serves as as a cultural centre. Every year, in September, fi from The Greek and International Short Films Festival are screened here for a week. A truncated aisled basilica with a pitched roof can be seen op- posite “OLYMPIA” - the old Metropolitan Church of Drama – built in 1834 on the site of an older church of 1721, which was prob- ably destroyed in the earthquake of 1829. There are remarkable icons from the mid 19th century on the ornate wooden iconostasis. Some bear the signatures of the artists Stergiou and Anthimou from Nevrokopi and the artist Iakovos Melenikiotis. The Ecclesiastic Museum is at the end of Venizelos Street on the right. The treasures on display mainly come from heirlooms brought by refugees from Asia Minor and Ponto between 1922- 1924. Particularly valuable are the icons of Theotoko Odigitria and Mr. Evlogoudos, which are among the oldest found to date. The Greek Schools of Drama are at the junction of Perdikka Street and Venizelos Street, built between 1907-1908 with a donation by the family of Macedonian Fighter Pavlos Melas and the support of Bishop Chrisostomos, National Martyr of Drama. Continuing your walk down Perdika Street, you fi yourself in front of Pabouka Mansion, an ex- ample of late 19th and early 20th century eclectic ar- chitecture. Its designer, Chr. Dimopoulos, was as- sistant to the Austrian architect, Konrad von Vilas. The incorporation of the building on this particular plot, shows Dimopoulos’ ability in architectural composition. An impressive large multi-storey tobacco warehouse, work of Konrad von Vilas, awaits you at 10, Perdikka Street. The façades indicate central European infland elements of Art Nouveau. Machinery has been preserved inside, as has the stairwell with its iron banister which leads to the fifl, where the offi used to be. The tobacco warehouse belongs to the Municipality of Drama and hosts some of the events during the Short Film Fes- tival every year. In Taxiarches Square, the Taxiarchia, or Tzimou mansion, was built in 1925 by Konrad von Vilas for the tobacco merchant Andreas Tzimou, an example of eclecticism with ele- ments of the Renaissance, Baroque and recent central European architecture. Vilas brought craftfrom Austria to build the mansion. From here, go down Perdikka Street once more, turn right into Elli Street, go along Kilkisi Street until you come to Agia Barbara church, patron saint of Drama. On the night of her name day celebration, children flsmall boats decorated with candles lit in her honour in the springs. You are in the area of the Agia Barbara springs, that earthly paradise of still and running water, which travelers have praised and locals worship. In the southern area of the Agia Bar- bara springs, stone built pre-industri- al establishments can be discerned: traditional watermills of the 19th cen- tury: The blower drive mechanism and grinding area with its millstones and the miller’s two storey house have been preserved at Zonke mill. Dimitropoulos watermill has survived almost intact behind Melina hall. Pantoulis watermill has been converted into a leisure centre. The Monument to Jewish Holocaust Martyrs stands next to the small outdoor theatre (where Giosef Faratzi’s tobacco warehouse used to be and where the Nazis locked up Jews in 1943, before moving them to Tremplinka) and behind the Visitors Information Centre, which used to be an old OSE pump station. On the north side of the park, the multi-story tobacco warehouse belonging to the Swiss-Jewish tobacco merchant, Erman Spirer, from 1925, (property of Manolis Ledaki today and presently being converted into a luxurious hotel) is witness to the golden age of the town, when tobacco workers swamped the tobacco shops and basmas scattered its heady aroma everywhere. Finish your walk with a meal at one of the small tavernas in the park.