The Blue City
Kavala, capital of the Kavala County, a modern seaside town, is built at the foot of Mt. Symvolo. The big squares, modern buildings and the shopping centers on the west side of town blend in with the traditional houses, the vegetable gardens and the cobbled streets of the old town (Panagia).
The history of the town begins in the 7th B.C. century under the name Neapolis. It served as a seaport for the gold mines in Pageo and Thassian trading with the mainland, the place where St. Paul founded the first Christian church in Europe. In Byzantine times we find Kavala as Christopolis, a busy transport junction passed through by the Egnatia Road. A hundred and fifty years later we find it under the name of Kavala with Ottoman, Greek and Jewish inhabitants, while in the 16th century Suleiman II the Magnificent realized infrastructure works which greatly contributed to its urban development. The most important of these works is the Aqueduct.
The golden age of Kavala starts in the 19th century with the booming tobacco industry. At the beginning of the 20th century big tobacco factories, magnificent buildings and luxurious mansions along with banks, European consulates and publication of local daily press turn Kavala into a bustling urban centre. The 20th century also brinks to Kavala 25000 Greek refuges from Asia Minor after the destruction of their homes, who contributed to the development of trade and the arts.
Today, Kavala is the second biggest urban centre in Macedonia in a location of strategic importance and a great development potential.
The Old Aqueduct
The Old Aqueduct, the Medieval Aqueduct, is work of the Byzantine period, which held extensive repairs during the Ottoman rule, particularly during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent and Legislator (1530 AD approx.).
This double arch structure was designed to bridge the peninsula of Panagia with the foot of the mountain of Lekani. It was used to carry water from mountain sources (six kilometers north from the ‘Mother of Water “or” Soumpasi “or” The Three Elms”) in today’s” Old Town “- Panagia, with the main water source situated at an altitude of 400 m and other complementary lower sources of supply.
This grand monument has a length of 280 m consists of 60 arches of four different sizes and has a maximum height of 25 meters. The restoration works began in September 1997 with a mild technical assistance.
The Acropolis of Kavala, built around the first quarter of 15th century, stands at the top of Panagia peninsula where the old town is situated. It was built on the remains of the Byzantine Acropolis of Christoupolis (former name of Kavala) which was destroyed in 1391, incorporating parts that survived from it.
The various fortification interventions are quite obvious and were carried out by Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans.
The entire Acropolis is built with local granite stone, mixed with marble and bricks. From the main gate, one can see the division between the internal and external enclosure by a transverse wall.
The internal enclosure was the most crucial part of the Acropolis, as it enclosed the vital defense facilities.
The ancient Theatre of Philippi is a remarkable and important monument. It is located at the foot of the acropolis and it is supported on the eastern wall of the city of Philippi. Even though it has undergone many changes over the centuries and some interventions it still preserves many of its original elements.
The first phase of the theatre dates back in the reign of Philip II in 356 BC. At that time the orchestra was u-shaped. During Roman colonization changes were made to the theater in order to become suitable for the requirements of the new shows. The orchestra was floored with marble slabs and a high wall was built to protect the spectators during beast fights. Eventually in the 3rd Century A.D. the Theatre becomes an arena for beast fights.
During the Christian times the habits and morals of the people changed so the theater was abandoned. Nowadays, many parts of the theatre are saved untouched still many restoration works are done so the annual Philippi Festival can take place.