XANTHI - WEST AND EAST
The prefecture of Xanthi borders to the north with Bulgaria, to the west with the prefectures of Kavala and Drama and to the east with the prefecture of Rodopi. The characteristic element of the prefecture is the coexistence of the Christian and the Muslim element. It is said that Xanthi was named after one of the daughters of Oceanus and Tethys or that it comes from an amazon named Xanthi. The city has a rich history, traditions, customs while it is a spiritual and cultural center in the area. It is also considered a multicultural city and has been described as "The city with a thousand colors". In recent years, the tourist infrastructure of the prefecture has developed a lot and is among the 5-6 most important prefectures in terms of forestry. The mountain range of Rodopi gives the prefecture a unique natural beauty while among the mountains, its rich plains offer abundant agricultural products. Characteristic of Xanthi is the carnival, one of the main carnival events in northern Greece.
Xanthi has lively traditional settlements, historical monasteries, archeological sites and intense cultural activity. The Old Town presents excellent examples of traditional architecture. Sachnisia is the term of architecture, which describes the way traditional buildings are constructed and each house has its own identity. The Folklore Museum is located in the Old Town and is housed in the Kougioumtzoglou mansion. The museum includes exhibits from the heyday of Xanthi but also exhibits that characterize the daily life of its inhabitants. In the Archaeological Museum of Abdera there are objects of the city and the cemeteries from the 7th c. e.g. until the 13th c. A.D. The Municipal Gallery presents works by painters of Xanthi in exhibitions. The Museum of Natural History presents more than 80 species of stuffed animals from wolves and wildcats to vultures and eagles.
Xanthi is known for the cultivation of tobacco for this reason many tobacco warehouses were built in the plain, southeast of the Old Town. The architecture of these buildings was specific and they all have a basement and attic, spaces necessary for the processing of smoke. There are 54 stone bridges in the prefecture that vary in size, shape and number of arches. The Nestos train is a fun way to get to know the river valley. Nature lovers can get to know Nestos by kayak and it can take from 3 to 5 hours. The ascent to Gyftokastro is also a beautiful, hiking route with a unique view. Apart from Gyftokastro, well-known peaks of Rodopi in Xanthi are Chal or Ahladovouno, the peak of Karpouzi, the Egg, the Haidou, the Kara Olan, the Koula and other smaller peaks.
The homeland of the great philosopher of antiquity Democritus, Abdera, is located 25 km from the city of Xanthi. The most important during the tour of the archeological site are the area of the west gate and the wall of the 4th century BC, a complex of Roman houses on the hill of Agios Panteleimon and the "House of Dolphins'' with a mosaic floor with dolphins. The Macedonian Tomb of Stavroupolis towards the village of Komnina is the largest and most well-preserved tomb of northeastern Greece dating back to the first half of the 2nd c. BC. In the area of Therma there is the relief of Mithras that symbolizes a cave, depicting in the center the god Mithras sacrificing a bull between Kafti and Kavtopati. Between the villages of Toxotes and Paradisos are the ruins of the ancient city of Topeiros. Porto Lagos is located on the borders of the prefectures of Xanthi and Rodopi, and specifically at the point where Lake Vistonida joins the Thracian Sea. It is a quiet and picturesque port which serves boats and yachts but also has infrastructure for transporting goods.
The ecosystem around the river Nestos and especially its Delta, Lake Vistonida one of the most important in Greece and the shores of the bay are characterized by great biodiversity and are of great ecological importance. "The Straits of Nestos" a narrow valley located between Stavroupoli and Toxoton are included in the wetlands NATURA 2000. The river Nestos reaching the sea forms a large delta, which covers the riparian forest. In the part of the forest that has survived, live jackals,while many species of rare animals live in the area.The impressive waterfall of Livaditis with admirable natural beauty and height of more than 35 meters is a typical attraction of the mountainous area of Xanthi. Haydou and Koula mountains are among the mountainous and inland areas NATURA.The area is characterized as a "monument of nature" which also houses a large number of plants that are rare in Greece.
In the prefecture of Xanthi there are beautiful beaches, which are bordered by the Delta of Nestos and the lagoons of Lake Vistonida. One of the busiest beaches in Magana has been awarded a blue flag and it is a large one with crystal clear waters. Ai Giannis beach has been designated the First Archaeological Zone since 2009. The beach is flooded with people during the summer months as it is a natural bay with crystal clear waters. Porto Lagos is a large beach and was the first organized beach of Xanthi. Mandra beach is an organized beach with private camping and to the east are the lagoons Lafri and Lafrouda. The beach of Myrodatos, approximately 26 km from the city of Xanthi is accessible even by people with special needs due to the special corridors that exist to facilitate them. Skala Abdera is also an ideal place for those who want to enjoy the sunset.
Xanthi with its fertile land has to show special products such as kiwis, peaches, pomegranates, nectarines, potatoes, asparagus, truffles, mushrooms, siderite and basma (aromatic tobacco). Also, the production of sugar cane stands out in the place and the areas with sunflowers compose a unique landscape. The raw material of the cane that it cultivates, produces excellent quality syrup, which it has on the market. Fish farming offers trout, sea salt and smoked fish fillets. Kavourmas is a traditional sausage that belongs to the genuine Thracian flavors as it won a place in the Guinness Book in March 2017. The cultivation of Truffle of Xanthi stands out for its excellent quality while it is detected and collected by specially trained dogs. Fresh, dried, marinated, dessert, ribs, pesto, black truffle, truffle oil and many more are the products offered by mushroom cultivation. The cheese of Xanthi, the gypsy sausages, the pastourmas, the ariani, the yogurt, the kefir, the halva, the nuts and the Thracian pasta are well-known products of the place.