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A few words about Komotini:

Komotini

Komotini (or Komotene Greek: ΚΟΜΟΤΗΝΗ) is a city in north-eastern Greece. It is the capital of the periphery of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace and the Rhodope Prefecture. In the Byzantine Era, the city was known as Koumoutzina or Komotina and in the Ottoman Era, Komotini was known as Gumuldjina. It is also the centre of the prefectural administration of Rhodope-Evros. Also based in the city is the Democritus University of Thrace, which opened in 1973.

The city is flat, built on the Thracian plain and next to the feet of the Rhodope Mountains at an altitude of 32-38m. There is little urban planning, particularly in the Old Town. Exceptions to this rule are the most recently constructed quarters. Trying to abolish the image of a cluster of oriental slums, the inhabitants of the city have been endeavouring to highlight its European image. According to the 2001 census, the city's population amounts to 52,500, a number that excludes the approximately 13,000 resident students, trainees and soldiers.

The city's history is practically contemporary with that of Via Egnatia, the Roman road which connected Dyrrhachium with Constantinople and grew with that trade route, firstly under the shadow of Maximianopolis and then under Ottoman occupation, while the Christian element was acutely suppressed. During the first Balkan War, Bulgarian forces captured the city, only to surrender it back to the Greek army during the second Balkan War on July 14, 1913. The Treaty of Bucharest, however, handed the city back to Bulgaria and Greece decided to respect it. Despite various schemes by the residents to avoid Bulgarian occupation, the city remained in the jurisdiction of Bulgaria until the end of World War I. In 1919, in the Treaty of Neuilly, Komotini was handed back to Greece, along with the rest of Western Thrace.

Komotini today

At the heart of the city lies the evergreen central park of Agia Paraskevi and the open-air municipal theatre, which hosts many cultural shows and events such as politistiko kalokairi (πολιτιστικό καλοκαίρι = cultural summer). The Central square or Plateia Irinis (Square of Peace) is the focus of a vibrant nightlife boosted by the huge number of students living in the city. The 'Old commercial centre' is very popular with tourists as it houses traditional shops and workshops that have long vanished from other Greek cities. There is a Regional Theatre (DIPETHE) whose company produces many plays all year round. In the northwestern outskirts of the city (Nea Mosinoupoli) is a newly built shopping mall, which houses department stores, shops, supermarkets, a cinema complex, cafes and restaurants.

6 km NE of Komotini is the Nymfaia forest. It has recreational facilities which comprise trails, courts, playgrounds and space for environmental studies. The forest is divided by a paved road which leads to the Byzantine fortress and the historical fort of Nymfaia. On the way to the fortress one can stop at the municipal tourist centre of Nymfaia and enjoy the 270 degree views along with various refreshments/food.

Komotini has several museums including the Archaeological, Byzantine and folklore museums.

The population is extremely polyglot for a city of this size and it is made up of local Greeks, Greek refugees from Asia Minor , Turkish-speaking muslims, Pomaks, gypsies, descendants of Armenian refugees, and recent refugees from the countries of the former USSR (mainly Georgia, Armenia, Russia and Kazakhstan).

Other

Komotini is the administrative seat of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace region, the Democritus University (third biggest in the country) and numerous governmental organisations. It has primary schools, gymnasia, lyceums, a Police Academy, Army bases, 7 University departments, banks, a post office, 3 Sports centres, a train station (Thessaloniki - Drama - Alexandroupoli) an Intercity Bus Station and several squares (plateies). Komotini also has one of the biggest and better organised Industrial Areas in Greece.

Archaeological museum

The local museum is a window to the history of Komotini and the entire area of Thrace. You can wonder around the numerous exhibits from all of Greek Thrace. From the recent exhibits, the museum features Byzantine and folklore museum and the agricultural straw objects agriculture and domestic uses in the museum, basket makers of the Romas.

 

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