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Culture Architecture East Macedonia and Thrace Prefecture of Evros

Mansion of 1893 with paintings at the entrance?s ceiling. Typical Thracian wide front symmetrical ground plan with entrance with an alcove.
(Photo: CETI)
Mosque in Didimoticho. Ground plan.
(Photo: http://www.culture.gr)

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Traditional architecture

25-10-2006
Didimoticho

Chrisa Melkidi
Source: CETI
© Eastern Macedonia ? Thrace Region
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Didimoticho appears in ecclesiastical sources since the 9th century. Its designation is connected to the architecture describing the Byzantine castle of the settlement as a ?twin tower?, a castle identical to the one in the neighboring ancient city of Plotinoupolis. Both of them were constructed for controlling the ancient road connecting the city of Traianoupolis and the one of Andrianoupolis. There are important architectural works at Didimoticho highlighting the diachronic and intercultural presence of the city. The Byzantine castle of Didimoticho, a work belonging to the Middle Ages type of fortification architecture, is well preserved. Ruins of its Byzantine gate exist along with 8 excavated basements that were sculptured at a rock, one passage, two gates, one tower and the post Byzantine burial chapel of St. Ekaterini. Didimoticho stands as a cultural crossroad while it was the first capital of the Ottoman state in the European land, the first headquarters of the Ottoman fisc and one of the seven basic cores of the Islam ? Christian-Syenitic inclination of Bektashi in the 14th century. This intercultural presence of the city is architecturally expressed through the existence of the most important early grand Islamic architectural work, the big mosque of Didimoticho that was established by the Sultan Moameth the first (1413-1421). It is a big four sided mosque, having an exceptional stone built and a grandiose entrance. It has a pyramidical roof made of lead leaves and supported by a wooden framework with four built piers. One of the seven basic opium dens (Bektashi monastery) of the Ottoman empire that exists here is the ?Segid Ali Soultan? or ?Kizil Deli? opium den [the other six cores are located in Egypt, Elmali (Atalia), Dourbali Soultan, Kerbela (Karbala, Irak), Constantinople and Roumeli Chisar (an area at a castle located at the European coast of Elispondos]. Post Byzantine churches and Armenian characteristic wooden houses with veneering existed until the 1980s. A Jewish silk workshop ? storehouse and Greek neighborhoods with special low wooden houses with an entrance and an alcove existed during the first half of the 19th century. Mansions with academic and elitist character appeared in the ends of the 19th century and the beginnings of the 20th.


Sources: Chr. Melkidi, Muslim monuments of Xanthi and their contribution to the evolution of urban planning of the city. PhD Thesis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Polytechnic School, October 1999. http://www.culture.gr V. Mirmiroglou, Dervishes, Ekati publications, Athens. E. Zeginis, Bektasismos in Western Thrace ? Attribute to the history of spreading Islam in Greece. Institute for Balkan Studies, Thessaloniki 1998. G. Kizis, ?THRACE?, Traditional Greek Architecture, v.8: Macedonia B ? Thrace. Melisa, Athens 1991.