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For the ancient city of Alexander the Great in the Thracian mainland, see Alexandropolis Maedica

Alexandroupoli
Αλεξανδρούπολη
Location
Alexandroupoli is located in Greece
Alexandroupoli
Coordinates 40°51′N 25°52′E / 40.85°N 25.867°E / 40.85; 25.867Coordinates: 40°51′N 25°52′E / 40.85°N 25.867°E / 40.85; 25.867
Government
Country: Greece
Periphery: East Macedonia and Thrace
Prefecture: Evros
Districts: 6
Population statistics (as of 2001[1])
City
 - Population: 52,720
 - Area: 642.245 km2 (248 sq mi)
 - Density: 82 /km2 (213 /sq mi)
Other
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Elevation (min-max): 0 - 11 m (0 - 36 ft)
Postal: 681 00
Telephone: 25510
Auto: ΕΒ
Website
www.alexpolis.gr
Thrakiko Pelagos

Alexandroupoli (Greek: Αλεξανδρούπολη, Alexandroúpoli, /ale̞ksanˈðɾupo̞li/, formerly Ἀλεξανδρούπολις), is a city of Greece and the capital of the Evros Prefecture in Thrace.

Contents

Name

In the 19th century and early 20th century, Alexandroupoli was known as Dedeagatch (Greek: Δεδεαγάτς Dedeagats, Bulgarian: Дедеагач, Turkish: Dedeağaç), meaning "tree of the grandfather". The word dede means "grandfather" and the word ağaç means "tree" in Turkish. The name was based on a local tradition of a wise dervish having spent much of his time in the shade of a local tree and being eventually buried beside it.

Geography

Alexandroupoli is about 14.5 km (9 miles) west of the delta of the river Evros, 40 km from the border with Turkey, 346 km (216 mi) from Thessaloniki on the newly constructed Egnatia highway, and 750 km (466 mi) from Athens. Around the city one finds small fishing villages like Makri and Dikela to the west, and suburban Antheia, Aristino, Nipsa, Loutra to the east, while north of the city are the ever closing Palagia, Abantas, Aissymi and Kirkas. At the 2001 census, the main city had a population of 48,885 and the municipality had a population of 52,720. The current metropolitan population is estimated at around 70,000 inhabitants, and its area covers the southwestern portion of the prefecture, and it runs approximately 40 km long and wide, its length shorter northward. Its boundary goes 70% of the way from the Rhodope Prefecture to the Evros Delta. The municipality has a land area of 642.245 km² (247.972 sq mi) and is the fourth largest in all of Greece. Besides Alexandroúpoli, its other largest settlements are the villages of Mákri (pop. 820), Ávas (497), Sykorráchi (309), Aisými (289), and Díkella (288).

History

The city's history only goes back to the 19th century. Long used as a landing ground for fishermen from the coast of Samothrace opposite, a small settlement developed in the area during the construction of a railway line connecting Istanbul to the major cities of Macedonia from Kuleliburgaz. The work was part of an effort to modernise the Ottoman Empire, and was assigned to engineers from Austria-Hungary. The settlement soon grew into a fishing village, which also used the name Dedeagatch.

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Russo-Turkish War

Dedeagatch was captured by the army of Imperial Russia during the last Russo–Turkish War of 1877–1878, and Russian forces settled in the village. The officers in charge put some effort into urban planning, with an emphasis on the design of wide streets, allowing the quick advance of troops. The streets run parallel to each other, and cul-de-sacs were avoided as too confusing. This was very unlike the narrow alleys, cobbled streets, and dead-ends that were characteristic of Ottoman cities at the time. The city returned to Ottoman control by the end of the war, but the brief Russian presence has had a lasting influence in the design of Alexandroúpolis's urban streets.

Balkan War

The building of a railway station in Dedeagatch led to the development of the village into a town, and a minor trade centre by the end of the century. The town became the seat of a Pasha with administrative duties. The Ottoman control of the town would last until the Balkan Wars. On 8 November 1912, Dedeagatch and its station was captured by Bulgarian forces with the assistance of the Hellenic Navy. Bulgaria and Greece were allies during the First Balkan War, but opponents in the Second Balkan War. Dedeagatch was captured by the Hellenic Army on 11 July 1913. This would prove short-lived, for the Treaty of Bucharest (10 August 1913) determined that Dedeagatch would be returned to Bulgaria along with the rest of Western Thrace.

World War I

The defeat of Bulgaria by the Allies in World War I (1914–1918) ensured another change of hands for the town. The Treaty of Neuilly (27 November 1919) required the ceding of Western Thrace from Bulgaria to Greece. However, Bulgaria retained the right of transit to use the port of Dedeagatch to transport goods through the Aegean Sea. The change of guard between Bulgarian and Greek officials occurred on May 14, 1920. The city was soon visited by Alexander I of Greece amidst great celebration. He was the first King of Greece to visit the town which was renamed in his honor.

Greco-Turkish War

Following the defeat of Greece in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), forces of the Hellenic Army retreated from Eastern Thrace to the area of Alexandroupoli under the leadership of General Theodoros Pangalos. Bulgaria used the opportunity of the Greek defeat to demand for Alexandroupoli either to be returned to its control or to be declared a neutral zone under international control. Both demands were rejected by the Greek leadership and found no support in the League of Nations.

The Treaty of Lausanne (24 July 1923) affirmed that Western Thrace and Alexandroupoli would continue to be controlled by Greece. The previous agreement allowing a Bulgarian presence in the town port had expired; representatives of Greek Prime Minister Stylianos Gonatas offered a renewal of the agreement in an apparent attempt to improve the relationship between the two Balkan countries. Their Bulgarian counterparts informed Prime Minister of Bulgaria Aleksandar Tsankov and returned with a negative reply.[citation needed]

World War II

Bulgaria used its alliance with Nazi Germany to regain control of Western Thrace during World War II (see Axis Occupation of Greece during WWII). Alexandroupoli remained under Bulgarian occupation between May 1941 and 1944. The city suffered damage to buildings and loss of population during the war but was largely spared the effects of the Greek Civil War (1946–1949). Forces of the communist Democratic Army of Greece in and around the town area were small and loosely organized, resulting in the absence of major battles in the area; the return of peace allowed for Alexandroupoli to grow from a town of 16,332 residents (1951) to a city of 35,999 residents by 1981.

Recently in Alexandroupoli

The area in Aissymi north of Alexandroupoli was ravaged by a forest fire in late-July 2007. Another natural disaster occurred on 6 August 2007, days after the fire; it happened near the villages of Makri and Dikella, with a tremendous rainstorm brought across from a low pressure system in Central Europe. Heavy rains during the morning hours were extensive enough to flood homes and damage properties, even cutting off a bridge and splitting Mesimvria in two. Several mudslides were reported and properties flooded in the prefectural capital city of Alexandroupoli and several stores, and near Alexandroupoli, in its main railway linking west to Thessaloniki cutting the entire Evros Prefecture's railway into two, a bridge was washed away by its stream, leaving nothing but tracks; residents watched the phenomenon next to the train tens of metres from where the bridge had stood. The Egnatia Odos motorway was also shut off to traffic. Off the Thracian Gulf by the coasts of Makri by its campground and beach, a trailer floated as far as 1 km away from the seashore, and the rainstorm also affected Dikella and the surrounding areas, particularly on the coastline.

It has sister city of Edirne since November 30, 2007[2].

2009 photos of Alexandrouplis

Education

Alexandroupoli houses four Departments of the Democritus University of Thrace (based in Komotini). These Departments are the following: Department of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Department of Primary Level Education and Department of Education Sciences in Pre-School Age. Some highly specialised medical operations are performed in the new Regional University Hospital - Research center, currently the largest one in the Balkans.

The city has a network of public schools, from nurseries to high schools, under the responsibility of the city council (though the student are subjects under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education). There are also many private language schools, most of them offering European Languages courses. Like many other cities in Greece, Alexandroupoli now handles the integration of a large number of expatriates and immigrants from Russia, Central Asia and Middle East. Languages spoken by the citizens include: Greek, English, Russian, Bulgarian, Armenian, German, and Turkish. The city has a reputation of consistently exporting high number of students to attend national and international universities.

Transportation

The old military train station (Gare Militaire) of Jonction Salonique-Constantinople railway at Alexandroupolis

Alexandroupoli is served by Dimokritos International Airport (IATA:AXD) in the suburbs of Apalos, about 6 km from Alexandroupoli city center. It is one of the busiest airports in Greece and a main hub for Olympic Airways and Aegean; there are 6 daily flights to Athens, and also flights to Creta, while during the summer months some seasonal flights operate to\from Germany and Russia. The airport is connected to the city by highway, taxi services and scheduled bus services. The port of Alexandroupolis has been used principally by travellers. There are daily services to the Island of Samothraki and a weekly Trans-Aegean service to all the eastern islands of the Aegean, with the final destination of the island of Rhodes.

Trains run frequently to Thessaloniki and Athens, Burgas in Bulgaria and Edirne or Istanbul in Turkey. There is an extensive network of train and bus replacements services through out the region of Evros.

The bus network is much more extensive and frequent. Hourly buses to the major municipalities within Macedonia and Thrace offered from the Regional Coaches KTEL as well as daily services to Bulgaria and Turkey. OSE-Varan and Ulusoy have daily services to Istanbul and Athens each and depart from Alexandroupolis Train Station in early mornings.

Municipal districts

  • Agnantia
  • Amfitriti
  • Aissymi
    • Leptokarya
  • Kirki
  • Makri
  • Sykorrachi
    • Atarni
    • Avra
    • Komaros
    • Mesti
    • Perama
    • Stathmos

Notable people

Historical population

Year Population Change Municipal population Change
1981 35,999 - - -
1991 37,904 1,905/5.29% 41,860 -
2001 48,885 10,981/28.97% 52,720 10,860/25.94%

See also

References

  1. ^ "Δείτε τη Διοικητική Διαίρεση" (in Greek). Hellenic Interior Ministry. www.ypes.gr. http://www.ypes.gr/UserFiles/f0ff9297-f516-40ff-a70e-eca84e2ec9b9/D_diairesi.xls. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  2. ^ http://www.samanyoluhaber.com/sondakika-81569.html Edirne and Alexandroupoli became sister cities

External links

Municipal districts of the city of Alexandroupoli
Alexandroupoli | Aisymi | Avas | Kirki | Makri | Sykorrachi
Greece | East Macedonia and Thrace | Evros Prefecture | Alexandroupoli

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

This page may not meet the Wikitravel criteria for a separate article, and should be merged into Alexandroupoli. If you have an opinion, please discuss on this article's talk page. You can help by copying any relevant information from this page to the new page. Once all content has been copied, this article should be made into a redirect. Some important notes:
  • Attractions are not given their own article, nor are very tiny towns or districts. See the Wikitravel article criteria for a guideline about what topics get their own article.
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Alexandropolis is in Western Thrace. It is a small town with a harbour and an airport. Though the Lonelyplanet describes it as "dusty", it has a rocky beach, and a typical greek nightlife. Go there if heading to the island of Samothrace, or to change train for Istanbul.

Get in

By train

There are several trains from Thessaloniki. Slow trains take 6h (9€), fast ICs take only 4 1/2 (16€)

By ferry

Ferries to Samothrace leave mostly twice a day - but irregularly. There is a fast one (1 h /17,7€) and a slow one also for cars (3h/8,8 for a single person). Tickets have to be bought in a travel agency near the port.

Sleep

There are no cheap youth hostels, but a couple of mid-range hotels by the seaside. Backpackers often just stay at the beach near the train station.

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