Komotini

Thrace

Komotíni, like Xanthi is a fascinating mix of influences, and even more Turkish in feel than its near neighbour. It is only about 100km (62 miles) from the Turkish border to the east, and even closer – 25km (15.5 miles) – to Bulgaria to the north. Both those countries add their colour to the Greek melting pot that is eastern Thrace. 

Komotini in eastern Thrace, Greece

Komotini

It is the Turkish influence that is most immediately visible, as several minarets and the domed roofs of mosques can be seen around the town: there are 14 of these that are still in use today. Komotíni was still part of Turkey until as recently as 1920, when the borders were changed, and it had been in the Ottoman Empire since 1363.

Little wonder that it feels as much Turkish as Greek, although it would not be tactful to express that view to the local people until you know where their affinities lie. Greek-Turkish relations are a touchy subject for discussion, and about half the population are of Turkish origin, with a number of Pomaks living here too.

Komotini Museums

Komotíni was founded in the 4th-century A.D., and its early history is told in its good Archaeological Museum. This also has some of the best finds from the nearby sites at Ávdira and Maróneia. There is some delightful gold jewellery recovered from graves, as well as examples of painted sarcophagi, gravestones, statues, ceramics and an extensive coin collection.

The town’s other main museum is the delightfully old-fashioned and jumbled Museum of Folk Life and History, which spreads through the rooms of an 18th-century mansion. Foraging around the museum provides many rewards, and it has a good selection of traditional folk costumes, domestic items and especially embroidery, for which the area is noted.

In keeping with the Turkish influence there is a good bazaar, with the eastern tradition of similar shops being clustered together, so that you will find, for example, a row of shoe shops all in line. You can find everything here from valuable antiques to the day’s fish catch, as well as the region’s best tobacco leaves.

Where is Komotini?

Try our other Thrace pages...

  • Xanthi in Thrace, Eastern Greece

    The city of Xanthi in Thrace is a lively university town with several museums, old mansions, and one of the best markets in Thrace.

  • Philippi

    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.

  • Northern Greece Guide

    The Bradt Guide to Northern Greece is a detailed guide to Thessaloniki, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Thrace, The Pelion, The Sporades and the rest of Northern Greece.

  • Macedonia and Thrace

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

  • Evros Delta National Park in Thrace, Greece

    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.

  • Dadia Forest Reserve and Ecotourism Centre

    The Dadia Forest in eastern Greece is famous for wildlife, especially birds, with accommodation and information available at the Dadia Ecotourism Centre.

  • Avdira (or Abdera) and its ancient archaeological site in Thrace

    The village of Avdira, or Abdera, with its ancient archaeological site is close to Xanthi in Thrace, Greece, and has its own beach and nearby is Lake Vistonida.

  • Alexandroupoli in the Thrace region of Greece

    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.

Latest Posts

  1. Greece Extends Second Lockdown Until December 7

    Greece will extend its second nationwide lockdown until 6am on Monday, December 7, in efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) and limit the rising number of intubations and fatalit…

    Read More

  2. New Archaeological Museum to Open in Ermionida, Greece

    The Greek Culture Ministry recently announced plans to open a new archaeological museum in Ermionida, a municipality located in eastern Peloponnese.

    Read More

  3. Greece Among Top 3 Booking Choices for US Travelers

    Greece is among the top three international destinations that American travelers are booking, according to a survey on tourism recovery in the post-coronavirus era released by the United States Tour O…

    Read More

  4. Greece’s Air Traffic Controllers Call Off Strike, AEGEAN Reinstates Flights

    Unions representing air traffic controllers, electronic security engineers and aeronautical telecommunication officers in Greece announced that they were calling off strike action to take place during…

    Read More

  5. General Strike in Greece on Thursday to Affect Transport

    A 24-hour strike called by Greece’s main public sector umbrella union ADEDY for Thursday, November 26, will affect public transport in Athens and ferry travel.

    Read More

  6. Greece to Remain in Lockdown, Efforts Made to ‘Save Christmas’

    Greece’s government and health authorities expect the country’s second lockdown to continue into December, adding that it was too early to lift containment measures as Covid-19 is still spreading fast…

    Read More

  7. Qantas to Require Covid-19 Vaccination on All Int’l Flights

    Passengers wishing to fly internationally with Qantas will be required to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination, the airline’s CEO Alan Joyce said this week. The head of Australia’s flag carrier said…

    Read More

  8. Strike in Greece Causes Changes to AEGEAN, Olympic Air Flights

    AEGEAN and Olympic Air have announced flight cancellations and reschedules during November 25-27 due to industrial action announced by Greece’s air traffic control personnel and electronic security en…

    Read More

  9. Air Travel in Greece to Face Disruption Nov 25-26 Due to Strike Action

    Greece’s air traffic control personnel and electronic engineers have announced work stoppages on Wednesday, November 25 and a 24-hour strike on Thursday, November 26, which are expected to impact air…

    Read More

  10. Covid-19: Greece will Not Close Airports During Second Lockdown, Rules will Apply for Travel

    Greek borders are not closing as a result of the second lockdown the country will enter on Saturday to halt a second wave of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases. Greece’s airports will remain open to domesti…

    Read More