The ethnically diverse Greek province of THRACE (Thráki) was once part of a much larger region now split between the modern states of Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria. Heading across the Néstos River, the border with Macedonia, the change in population is obvious: Turkish settlements with their tiled, whitewashed houses and pencil-thin minarets contrast sharply with modern Greek villages built for the refugees of the 1920s. The same features are combined in the region’s biggest urban centre, the attractive market town of Xánthi. Of the mountain villages north of Xánthi, Stavroúpoli stands out as the most worth visiting, while to the south and east a trio of archeological sites is to be found along the coast near Komotiní. Beyond the service town of Alexandhroúpoli lies the Évros River, which forms the heavily guarded land border with Turkey.

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