General information on the Municipality of Soufli
Source: CETI/ Athena R.C.
© Prefecture of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
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The geopolitical area of Soufli includes the town under the same name and an area that extends to the north until the village of Lavara, the south until Lefkimi, to the west it covers a mountainous area that is approximately 20 km long and to the east it includes a stretch that extends for a few kilometers around the river Evros and includes the village of Kioupli. 24 villages and 9 communities belong to the Municipality, which is seated at Soufli.
The area used to be inhabited by the ancient Thracians, but was colonised by settlers from southern Greece, who travelled up Evros with their ships and built a town 5 km south of Soufli, on a small rise where a relief depicting a Thyrsus was found. During the mid 16th century Christian populations from Epirus settled here. One century later, Soufli was the largest town in the area and it reached its population and economic peak during the 2nd half of the 19th century. Majestic churches and schools were built, sericulture expanded and silkworm-rearing houses were being built. Viniculture also flourished. The area?s development was completed with the arrival of the railway line, which brought about its literary and cultural development. Its growth was arrested by the Balkan wars and the Asia Minor Disaster, which led to the secession of eastern Evros. Its growth was particularly affected during the post-war period due to the discovery of synthetic fibers that led to a decrease in sericulture.
Visitors will find the Silk Museum of Soufli, which is accommodated in the mansion of K. Kourtidis in Soufli and belongs to the Cultural Technological Foundation of the Hellenic Industrial Development Bank, particularly interesting. The museum displays appliances that were used by sericulturists in their homes, the craftsmen who made the silk and the women of Soufli, who worked on their looms. The exhibition also includes maps, diagrams and photographs. The Folklore - Historical Museum of Soufli was built in 1890. It contains agricultural tools, household furniture and appliances, ornaments, jewellery and many male and female traditional costumes.
The women's Monastery of Panaghia Portaitissa, a dependency of the Holy Monastery of Iviron, is located outside the village of Kornofolia, 5 km south of Soufli.
The houses of Soufli depict the professional occupations of its residents at different times. Originally, Soufli consisted of single-storey houses, which in addition to the family quarters, also contained a cellar where the vine-growing proprietors kept a barrel for their wine; later, two-storey houses were built, containing rooms where beds were set up for rearing silk worms. Many such houses survive in Soufli.
Around the square of Soufli there are shops selling silk and other local goods, such as kavourmas, sausages and excellent tsipouro and wine. Visitors should not neglect to visit the "bitzikliki" of Kalessis, a representative example of a silkworm-rearing house and an example of "industrial" architecture at the beginning of the century. The mansion of Brikas, which was specially designed for the rearing of silkworms, is also unique and destined to become a historical, ethnological and Byzantine museum. The hare farm, an area that if full of hares and other animals, is ideal for walking and affords nice views.
A tourist center and hostel are situated inside the Dadia forest, 300 meters outside the village of Dadia. Dadia is special and unique because almost all the birds of prey and wild animals that have disappeared from Europe or are under direct threat can be found here. From the watchtower visitors may observe the arrival of some of the 36 bird of prey species that exist here. This place incorporates and represents the abundance of landscapes and species that visitors may come across. The number of birds has been constantly increasing since 1980, when Dadia was officially declared a protected area by the Greek State.