Municipality of Vyssa
Source: CETI/ Athena R.C.
© Prefecture of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
The Municipality of Vyssa, which is seated at Nea Vyssa, has a population of 8,968 and covers an area of 1,701 km2. It is situated in the Prefecture of Evros, north of Orestiada and it includes the municipal districts of Kavyli, Kastanies, Nea Vyssa, Rizia and Sterna. The locals? main occupation is agriculture. Their main cultivations are beet, corn and cotton.
Nea Vyssa, the seat of the Municipality, which has a population of 3,300 inhabitants, is situated in the low-lying areas of river Evros and the northeastern lowlands of the Prefecture of Evros, south of the old Greek city of Adrianople. Its people probably descend from the Bessi, an ancient, powerful and warlike people of Thrace, who according to Herodotus were a tribe of the Nation of Satres. The Bessi were an unruly, belicose and rapacious people. Until 183 BC, they are recorded as the main people of Thrace. With the passing of centuries, their population declined.
The village of Aterna is situated in close proximity to the Greek ? Turkish borders. It has approximately 1,000 inhabitants and is located at exactly the same site where its Greek inhabitants, distant descendants of the Peloponnesians, came and settled during the Turkish domination, some 200 years ago.
The village of Kastanies is one of the oldest villages in Thrace with an indigenous Greek population. By virtue of the Lausanne Treaty, Kastanies were ceded to Greece due to the Greek character of its population. Up to the 1980s they underwent rapid economic development thanks to the cultivation and processing of the broom. The village?s Cultural Rural Youth Society revives the ?Bey? custom every carnival, whereas it also possesses a football club, a women?s society, a credit cooperative, agriculture associations, an association of voluntary blood donors and a Greek Red Cross youth club. Every summer since 1995 the ?Ardas Youth Festival? takes place.
The village of Rizia has 1,765 inhabitants and it is situated 6 km from the borders between Greece ? Turkey. River Ardas is located to the north of the village and is a source of life for the area and the irrigated land, serving to increase the production of agricultural goods. Archaeological excavations have brought to light a grave tumulus with small objects dating to the 2nd century AD, which are kept in the archaeological museum of Komotini.
Until 1922-23 the village Kavyli, north of Nea Orestiada, was called Emirli and inhabited by 60-70 families, who were occupied in agriculture, livestock farming and apiculture. In the autumn of 1922 Greek refugees from Zaloufopoulo (Ambalar) in Eastern Thrace and Sidiropetra from the area of Orestiada replaced the locals of Emirli. At the same time, the village was renamed Kavyli, after the ancient city of Kavyli, which was probably situated to the north of Adrianople.
Every August an ?evening dedicated to the soldiers? is held in Kavyli. Every Easter the ?Bey? custom is revived at Nea Vyssa, where a carnival and float parade is also held. During the 1st ten days of August a photography exhibition, an exhibition of books and traditional materials and traditional dance and concert evenings with the accompaniment of traditional and modern folk music is organised at Rizia. Every year, at the end of July, the ?Ardas Youth Festival? takes place at Kastanies. At the meeting point of 3 civilizations, the young of Greece and the Balkans meet in order to celebrate, create and exchange experiences and to publicize actions promoting peace and cooperation between people.