General information on the Municipality of Orestiada
Source: CETI/ Athena R.C.
© Prefecture of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
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It is situated in the northern section of the Prefecture of Evros. It consists of 40,049 inhabitants, 41 villages and 25 communities. Due to its position in the prefecture's northernmost edge, it holds one of the most strategic sites of Greece and consequently of the European Union. It covers an area of 944 km2 and includes the following villages: Nea Orestiada, Ambelakia, Arto, Valtos, Dikaia, Elaia, Zoni, Kavyli, Kastanies, Komara, Kyprinos, Marassia, M. Doxipara, Nea Vyssa, Neo Chimonio, Neochori, Ormenio, Pentalofos, Petrota, Plati, Ptelea, Rizia, Spilaio, Sterna, Fylakio and Chandra. The locals are mainly farmers. In addition to agriculture, livestock farming is also important, whereas the area also possesses considerable industrial and telecommunication infrastructure. A sugar factory and asparagus and potato sorting facilities operate in the area.
From the 6th century BC this area was inhabited by the "Odrysai", an ancient Thracian tribe, whose capital was Oskoudama, which means wealth, gold. In 127 AD, emperor Adrian named the settlement Adrianople and fortified it. Old Orestiada was evacuated in July 1923 and surrendered to the Turks because our English, French and Italian allies succumbed to the demands of the Turk Ismet Pasha, later known as Inonou, who requested that Greece provide compensation in the form of 4 billion gold francs and the surrender of half the Greek naval and commercial fleet and that the patriarchate be removed from Istanbul and a referendum be held in Western Thrace. The strong reaction on the part of Eleftherios Venizelos in May 1923 led the French General Maurice Pelle to propose that "Since Greece is unable to make the payment, old Orestiada - Karagatch should be ceded to the Turks", which was met with approval. The people of Orestiada abandoned Palia Orestiada and 900 families built Nea Orestiada; the new town was founded on 12 August 1923. The town's establishment in the area's most appropriate site was one of the most significant factors for the town's development. The locals were productive in all sectors and their hard work turned Orestiada into a jewel of Thrace. Today, the town has 14,783 inhabitants and its simple town plan and wide vertical roads and squares render it a characteristic example of a refugee settlement.
River Evros marks Greece's easternmost border with Turkey. The borderline between Greece - Turkey extends from Nea Vyssa until the river's mouth. Between Derio and the sea the landscape around the river is marked by a diversity of habitats, which is abundant in fauna and flora. Nea Orestiada is prospering economically and progressing culturally. In addition to the existence of industries and workshops that process local produce, its peoples' cultural, spiritual and artistic capabilities are also cultivated. A department of agricultural development and a department of forestry & management of the environment and natural resources have been founded and operate in Orestiada by the Democritus University of Xanthi. Orestiada also has a Folklore Museum where visitors appreciate the depth of Thracian tradition. It also preserves the memory of the first town that was founded 84 years ago. Many houses preserve the traditional architecture of Adrianople. Orestiada also possesses numerous churches and picturesque country churches. Visitors will also come across the bust of Polykarpos Varvakis, the Metropolitan of Adrianople of Orestiada (1923-1931), the statue of Cyril VI, Patriarch of Constantinople, etc. The area?s numerous cultural events are coordinated by the Orestiada Municipal Enterprise for Cultural Development, which runs a music school, a school of Byzantine music, theater workshops, a library and a philharmonic orchestra. The area?s cultural events culminate with the "Orestia", which are held in commemoration of the town's founders at the end of June.