Sérres or Sérrhae (Greek: Σέρρες, older form: Σέρραι), is a city in Macedonia, Greece. It is situated in a fertile plain at an elevation of about 70 m, some 24 km northeast of the Strymon river and 69 km north-east of the Macedonian capital, Thessaloniki. The Rhodope Mountains rise to the north and east of the city. The city is the capital of the homonymous prefecture of Serres and is situated in the Central Macedonia periphery. Its population was 56,145 in 2001.
Known to the Romans
, Serres became the site of a major fortress built by the Byzantine Empire
to guard the empire's northern frontier and the strategic Rupel Pass
. It was seized by the Bulgarians
in the 10th century. In 1196 in the battle of Serres
the Byzantines were defeated by the Bulgarian Emperor Ivan Asen I
. Nine years later in 1205 the Bulgarian Emperor Kaloyan defeated here
an army of the Latin Empire
and incorporated the town in the Bulgarian Empire
. In 1256 it was captured by the Nicaean Empire
. Serres fell to Serbia
in the 1345 and became a capital of Stefan Dušan
, the Serbian King
. Dušan was so satisfied with the hard siege of the third Byzantine city that he crowned himself Emperor of Serbs and Greeks. After his death the Empire fell apart into feudal anarchy and the Empress Consort Helena continued to govern Serres area from 1356, but already in 1365 she was ousted by Despot Jovan Uglješa Mrnjavčević
, who forged a tiny but powerful mini-state in Serres. After the 1371 Battle of Maritsa
, the Byzantines returned Serres to their control. However already in 1383 the Ottomans
conquered it. In the early 20th century, the city became a focus of anti-Ottoman unrest, which resulted in the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising
of 1903. A Bulgarian
army captured Serres in the First Balkan War
of 1913, but was forced to withdraw by Greek forces in the Second Balkan War
. The city had to be completely rebuilt after being burned to the ground by the retreating Bulgarians. It was reoccupied by Bulgaria in both the First World War
and Second World War
and suffered further severe damage. Since the war, Serres has benefited from government-led programmes to develop its economy with foreign capital.
Serres is the capital of a primarily agricultural district and is an important trade centre for tobacco
, and livestock
. Following the development of a government-sponsored manufacturing area in the late 20th century, it has also become a centre for the production of textiles
and other manufactured items.
The city has forests, parks, non-gridded roads and squares. Serres stretches from the ruins of the castle up to the forested hills of Koula. On the road to Koula
hills on Exochon (Exochi) Street, two parks, one is the Agioi Anargyroi Park founded near the downtown area. Night clubs and cafeterias are popular attractions, especially in the summertime.
In Serres, gyros
are standard forms of Greek cuisine
served in many restaurants and taverns. One delicacy that is truly unique to the region is akanes
, which is a type of gourmet candy delight prepared according to a secret recipe since the beginning of the 20th century by the Roumbos family. Allegedly, Aristeidis Roumbos, the confectioner who invented this candy, disclosed the recipe to one of his loyal trainees, who then proceeded to establish a rival akanes business. Nevertheless, the Roumbos family, to this day, continues to produce this delight in their quaint workshop, which is reminiscent of life in the 1950s.
- Katakonozi is one of the most prosperous neighborhoods of the city, and it is currently experiencing a real estate boom.
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- "Sérrai." Encyclopædia Britannica, 2006.
- "Sérrai, Siris, or Serres." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004.