Prefecture of Evros: Tourism-Modern life
The Prefecture of Evros, the borderline of Greece is the largest prefecture of Thrace. It borders Bulgaria to the north and northeast and Turkey to the East, having the river Evros, to which the prefecture owns its name, as a natural boundary. To the west it borders the prefecture of Rhodope while the Thracian Sea is on the south. The island of Samothrace also belongs to the prefecture of Evros. Samothrace lies to the northeast of the island of Lemnos and off the estuary of the Evros River. The prefecture of Evros covers 4,242 sq. km and the population numbers 143.000 people. Samothrace covers an area of 178 sq. km and has 3,000 residents.
The prefecture is administratively divided in 13 municipalities: Alexandroupolis, Orestiada, Didymoteicho, Soufli, Feres, Trigono, Orfeas, Tychero, Vyssa, Kyprinos, Metaxades, Traianoupolis and Samothrace. There are also five provinces. The capital of the prefecture is Alexandoupolis. Alexandroupolis is located 840 km from Athens, 340 km from Thessaloniki, 295 km from Istanbul and 60 km from Komotini.
Two of the most important biotopes of Greece, the Evros River Delta and the Forest of Dadia, are in this prefecture.
Alexandroupolis, with 70,000 residents, is a modern, beautiful coastal city with sufficient touristic facilities and excellent town-planning. The lighthouse dominates the city, while the public park is very appealing. The city is lively throughout the year, but particularly in the summer the cafeterias and the fish restaurants along the seafront are full of life. At Makri, near the small harbour of Platanos, the cave of the Cyclops is located; according to tradition it was the home of the Cyclops Polyphemus. In the archaeological site of Traianoupolis (founded in the 2nd cent. AD by the emperor Traianus) some monuments are still preserved. The remains of the ancient fortification wall and the sanctuaries of Apollo and Demeter have been discovered in the archaeological site of Mesembria. The tumulus of Mikri Doxipara in north Evros yielded rare finds, including the burials of the members of a wealthy family of landowners, dated to the 2nd cent. AD, who had received as burial gifts five chariots and their horses.
The biotope of the Evros River Delta is a protected reserve of rare species of flora and faunaand a popular destination for fishing and hunting (in the defined areas only). The biotope of the forest of Dadia, near Soufli, is of equal significance as many rare species of predatory birds live here. The Ecotourism Centre of Dadia manages an information centre and a permanent exhibition. In the town of Soufli you can visit the Museum of Silk and the deserted silk factories, as well as the neo-classical houses, reminiscent of the heyday of Soufli. The town of Feres is known for the Byzantine monastery of Panagia Kosmosoteira (d. 1152 AD), one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Greece. Water sports are available on the beaches of Agia Paraskevi, Makri, Akti EOT and Agios Georgios.
The island of Samothrace is picturesque and verdant. The main attractions of the island include the beautiful forests, the plane-trees, springs of crystal-clear water and the famous ponds in the river called 'Rema tou Fonia'. The island is also rich in history. In the archaeological site of ancient Samothrace the most important monuments to visit are the Sanctuary of the Great Gods and the ancient theatre.
In Traianoupolis and in Psarotherma there are thermal baths that can be visited.
The prefecture is connected to the rest of Greece by the motorway Egnatia, which reaches the Kipoi customs post, and by railway to Athens and Istanbul. Alexandroupolis is served by the Democritus International Airport with flights to Athens, Heraklion and Sitia. Ships travel from Alexandroupolis to the islands of North Aegean Sea and Lavrion in Attica. There is daily connection to Samothrace. From the port of Samothrace 'Kamariotissa', ships travel to Kavala, Lavrion and other islands in the Aegean Sea. There are good hotel units on the island and their facilities cater for the needs of travelers and conferences alike. There are also small units of agritourism in other areas.
The capital of the prefecture is its administrative centre and houses the Port Authorities, the University Hospital, the Department of Medicine, the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, the Department of Primary Education. In Orestiada the Department of Agricultural Development and the Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources are based. In Didymoteicho the Nursing School of the Technological Educational Institute of Kavala is based as well as a police academy.
In the Prefecture of Evros there are customs posts for Turkey (Kipoi, Kastanies, Pythio) and for Bulgaria (Dikaioi, Ormenio, Kyprinos).