Avdira

Modern Avdira (also called Abdera) is a small farming village several kilometers from the coast, and about 20kms (12 miles) south of Xanthi. It also gives its name to the nearest beach, which attracts many Greek visitors in the summer, though few foreign ones as it is rather out of the way – and all the more charming because of it. 

Lake Vistonida

Nearby is Lake Vistonida, and the marshlands around the lake are an important area for wildlife, especially birds such as waders and rare raptors too, like the magnificent sea eagle. There are some observation towers for those who want to study the area’s rich natural history.

Ancient Archaeological Site of Avdira

Near the beach of Avdira is the archaeological site of ancient Avdira (on open access), from which many of the best finds have been taken to be put on display in the Archaeological Museums in Komotíni and Kavála. The site is rather overgrown and requires a little dedication to get the best from it. 

It stands on a small headland, surrounded by the remains of the walls of the acropolis, and there are also the few remnants of a theatre and it is possible to identify a Roman bath-house. Nearby are the foundations of some Roman houses, and the entrance gate to the city also remains, flanked by two towers.

The city, as it was, was founded in about 656 BC by refugees from Klazomenae in Asia Minor, then re-founded in about 500 BC by more refugees, from Persia. It grew into an important member of the Delian League, and was known to be a fair-sized city until at least the 9th century AD, when it was still the site of a bishopric.

Excavations did not begin until 1950, and some valuable items have been unearthed, including in one place some 2000 small votive vases. While the site is not especially attractive or spectacular, for that very reason it does not get crowded and you may well be able to wander over the large remains by yourself. This can be an evocative experience and just as rewarding as visiting more significant sites in the company of hundreds of other visitors.

Avdira, South of Xanthi, in Thrace, Greece

Other Thrace pages

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  • Philippi is an ancient archaeological site near Kavala in East Macedonia and Thrace and is famous for being the place where the apostle St Paul was imprisoned.

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  • Macedonia and Thrace are the regions in Greece where travelers will find Thessaloniki, Mount Athos monasteries, Halkidiki and sites like Dion and Pella.

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  • Alexandroupoli is a city in the Thrace region of Greece, in the extreme east of the country, the closest Greek city to the border with Turkey.

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  • Komotini is a town in eastern Thrace in Greece, with many Turkish influences, and it is also home to the Pomak people.

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  •  The Evros Delta National Park is one of the most important wetlands in the whole of Europe, and a magnet for birdwatchers, with nearby accommodation.

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