Xanthi (Greek: Ξάνθη, Xánthi, [ˈksanθi]); is a city in Thrace, northeastern Greece. It is the capital of the Xanthi peripheral unit of the periphery of East Macedonia and Thrace.
Xanthi is known as "İskeçe" in Turkish and "Скеча" (Skecha) in Bulgarian.
Known references to Xanthi (Ξάνθη), or Xanthia (Ξάνθεια), date back to 879 AD. It began as a small village and experienced all the tumultuous periods of the history of Thrace, such as raids, disasters, ethnic 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 conquered the region in 1361. For this reason, 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 10,000 inhabitants. In 1891, the railroad line was established near the city, while further economic development led to the founding of schools and associations.
Following the First Balkan War, Bulgaria 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 (where it also called Скеча Skecha), and remained a part of the latter until the end of World War I. Following the Bulgarian defeat in this war, Western Thrace (Δυτική Θράκη), and thus Xanthi, became a part of Greece in 1919–1920. It was occupied by Bulgaria in the period 1941–1944 during World War II. During this time, in March 1943, its entire Jewish population was rounded up by the Bulgarians and transferred to the Germans for deportation to Treblinka, where they were murdered.
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 (Greek: 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".
The municipality Xanthi was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 2 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
The municipal unit Xanthi is subdivided into the communities Evmoiro, Kimmeria and Xanthi. These communities contain the following settlements:
Gialisteri [2001 pop: 7]
Livadi [2001 pop: 5]
Pelekito [2001 pop: 4]
the abandoned villages Alikochori, Anthiro, Askyra, Eranos, Ketiki, Porta, Prioni and Ydrochori
Democritus University of Thrace
Xanthi FC which plays in the Super League Greece
Xanthi BC which plays in the Greek A2 League
Famous inhabitants of Xanthi
Democritus: he was from the village Abdera, which is 20km far from the capital
Protagoras: he was from the village Abdera
Manos Hadjidakis (1925–1994): worldwide famous Greek composer
Şerif Gören: Turkish film director. Winner of 1982 Palme d'Or in Cannes Film Festival
Archbishop Christodoulos (1939–2008): former Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church
Vasilis Torosidis: footballer for Greece
Akis Panou, (1933–2000): Greek folk musician and composer
Lambros Papantoniou (Mandra, Xanthi 1945-Washington, USA 2009): journalist, political analyst.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Greece
Xanthi is twinned with:
Turkey Biga, Turkey
Turkey Bursa, Turkey
Germany Gifhorn, Lower Saxony, Germany
Serbia Novi Beograd, Serbia
Bulgaria Smolyan, Bulgaria
^ http://www.xanthi.ilsp.gr/thraki/history/his.asp?perioxhid=B0257 : the bishop of Xantheia is reported as taking part in the Fourth Council of Constantinople
^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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