Xanthi (Ξάνθη, Xánthi, ˈksanθi) is a city in northern Greece, in the East Macedonia and Thrace periphery. It is the capital of Xanthi Prefecture. The city is known as İskeçe in Turkish, and Ksanti (Ксанти) or Skecha (Скеча) in Bulgarian.
Known references to Xanthi (Ξάνθη), or Xanthia (Ξάνθεια), date back to 879 BC. It began as a small village and experienced all the tumultuous periods of the history of Thrace
, such as raids, disasters, race conflicts, civil wars. The population of the region of Xanthi had dwindled down to almost nothing and almost everything had been destroyed. This was the situation when the Ottomans arrived at the region. As a result, the Ottomans
brought settlers from the depths of Asia Minor
, which is how Genisea
(Γενισέα) was created, while Oreo (Ωραίο) and Xanthi remained mainly Greek and Christian centres.
By 1715, Xanthi, as well as Genisea
, became renowned for its tobacco
quality. Many foreign sightseers traveled throughout the region and described both the life and struggles of the locals. Tobacco commerce throughout Europe
led Xanthi into a course of prosperity. In March and April 1829 two earthquakes
literally leveled the city, however played a decisive role in the further developments. The city's re-building immediately got underway. In 1870, the city of Genisea
was burned down and thus all of the agencies and services were transferred to Xanthi which, at that time, had a population of about 10000 inhabitants. In 1891, the railroad line was established near the city, while further economic development led to the founding of schools and associations.
took the city of Xanthi in 1912, but after a period of eight months it was taken by the Greek
army. Shortly thereafter, as part of the accords concluding the Balkan Wars
, Xanthi and Western Thrace
were ceded to Bulgaria, and remained under the control of the latter till the end of World War I
. Following the Bulgarian defeat in this war, Western Thrace
(Δυτική Θράκη), and thus Xanthi, became a permanent part of Greece in 1919-1920.
Nowadays Xanthi is a modern city, rich in history, traditions and customs, and with many attractions for the visitors (including the surrounding areas). It is worth visiting the city during the Carnival (Καρναβάλι) (either February or March as dates change) and during the Old Town Festival (Γιορτές Παλιάς Πόλης) (beginning of September). Also, one should not miss the Xanthi Bazaar (Παζάρι) every Saturday. Xanthi is known as "The city of the thousand colours".
Famous inhabitants of Xanthi
Xanthi has three municipal districts, the municipal district of Kimmerio has half of its settlements abandoned from the 1990s.