In the north-eastern part of Greece, the region of East Macedonia and Thrace is made up of the eastern part of Macedonia and the western part of the historic region of Thrace (also called Greek Thrace – distinguishing it from that part of Thrace within the borders of Turkey and Bulgaria). The popular tourist destinations of Thasos and Samothrace are islands off the southern coast of the region in the north Aegean Sea. The regional units that make up East Macedonia & Thrace are Drama, Evros, Kavala, Rhodope, Thasos and Xanthi. The administrative capital is Komotini.
As recently as 1911 the aqueduct was supplying the city of kavala with water from the nearby Mount Pangaeus. While some understandably jump to the conclusion that the aqueduct has a Roman origin, it is more probably Byzantine structure. During the 14th century a barrier wall was constructed during the fortifications built to protect the Kavala acropolis. Sometime in the early 1500s the wall was replaced with the arched aqueduct. And it still dominates certain parts of the city today.
Palaiopolis is an important temple complex on the island of Samothrace. In ancient times it was one of a few principle pan-Hellenic religious sanctuaries. It was here that the so-called ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’ was found, a 2.5 metre statue of Nike that has pride of place in the Louvre Museum in Paris. A nearby museum houses the many artefacts that have been excavated from the cemeteries and various sanctuaries and temples, as well as reconstructions of architectural features too fragile to remain on site.
The ancient city of Philippi is the most important archaeological site in East Macedonia. The location was chosen by the original inhabitants because of the precious metals in the area. Realising the economic and strategic importance of the area King Philip of Macedonia established a fortified city here in 365 BC. As a result of mining activities, the city became a wealthy one and developed considerably until it was abandoned in the 14th century. It was here in 49 AD that Saint Paul built the first Christian church in Europe.
Established in 1934, the archaeology museum in Kavala is perhaps the most important archaeological museums in eastern Macedonia. Typically for a local, regional museum, on permanent display here visitors will find artefacts from a range of prehistoric and ancient sites located in the Kavala regional unit. Although there are substantial collections of objects from Neapolis, which is the ancient town of Kavala, and Amphipolis even though the archaeological site is now in modern-day Central Macedonia.