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Culture Architecture East Macedonia and Thrace Prefecture of Rhodope Komotini

The Imaret of Gazi Evrenos Bey of Komotini
(Photo: CETI)
The mansion of Peidis at Komotini restored as it was in the 19th century.
(Photo: CETI)

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Chrisa Melkidi
Source: CETI
© Eastern Macedonia ? Thrace
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The biggest and the most ancient architectural work of Komotini is its Byzantine castle. Some parts of it are preserved till today. It was built in the first Byzantine period, in the 4th century, from the emperor Theodosios the first (379-395) at the strategic position of the contemporary Komotini?s location, an ideal position for controlling one of the three gateways of the Rodopi mountain chain to the Aegean Sea, since it lies on the Egnatia road. The castle was partially destroyed from the Turks during the capture of Constantinople in 1363 from Evrenos Bey, the independent islamized warrior. In 1910 the Bulgarians destroyed the towers and the biggest part of the castle that was four sided, had four entrances and 16 towers. It was in 9.60 m height and surrounded by the Byzantine city (Koumoutzina), including a Byzantine church -witnessed since 1548. In 1800 the metropolitan church devoted to Madonna?s assumption, was built on the ruins of the aforementioned church. Komotini was the first city that functioned as the headquarters of Evrenos Bey who built the Imaret, the most ancient Ottoman monument of Europe, built between 1370-1380, belonging to the T typology of the early Ottoman architecture of mosques and preserved till today. It was a place of gathering, a base of operations of the achides, members of the Turkish fraternity who were in charge of the islamization of Thrace in the early Ottoman period ?under the commands of the sultans Mourat the first and Vagiazit the first-, because of their special capabilities. Today it is an ecclesiastical museum. Another important architectural monument of the Ottoman period is the Geni tzami, a small but luxurious mosque with a square pray room, covered with an exceptional dome. It was established by Ekmektsioglou Achmad Pasa, minister of Economy during the dominance of Sultans Achmad the first and Osman the second, in the first decades of the 17th century. Its construction was made during 1600 and 1618. In the end of the Ottoman period it was morphologically reshaped under the neoclassicism aesthetics? influence. A characteristic monument of the Ottoman modernization is the Clock tower, a work built in 1884 and devoted to the Sultan Abdul Chamit. Architectural interventions were made during the 1950s.
There are mansions in Thracian architectural style of the late Ottoman period in Komotini. One of the oldest ones is the Peidis mansion, a house of a tobacco trader, where you can find the arrangement and decoration of an urban house in the middle of the 19th century along with the primal ground floor residence of the owner. There are also more recent neoclassic buildings with baroque influences constructed between the middle of the 19th century and the beginnings of the 20th: the Greek School of Nestorals Tsanaklis and the mansions of Z.A. Tsanaklis, Z. Stalios, Maliopoulos and Zografos. After 1924 the Thracian refugee house arrived at Komotini with the settlements of the Asia Minor destruction.

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. G. Vogiatzis. The early Ottoman occupation in Thrace, direct demographic consequences. Herodotus publications, 1998. M. Kiel, Studies on the Ottoman architecture of the Balkans, Variorum Publications, Hampshire 1990, Μ. Anagnostidis, ?Study of erection and reconditioning of the building of the Folklore Museum of Komotini, Thrakiki Epetirida, 1, Komotini, 1980. pp.307-312.