Περιφερειακή Ενότητα Δράμας

GreekEnglish (United Kingdom)BulgarianGermanFrenchRussianTurkish

Past and Present

Print

 

The peaks of Falakro, running water, tall trees that cover springs anag.barvara 1 65d brooks, the quiet way of life in the neighbourhoods and the parks, together with hospitable and pleasant people, all go to make up the image of the city, which lies at the heart of the prefecture, which is the starting point for most of our explorations of the surrounding countryside.

Drama was greatly developed, during the 20th century and the changes in its layout and architecture, were rapid, in order to meet the needs of its citizens.
Many neighbourhoods in the old centre acquired a new colour, while new neighbourhoods were developed around the edge of the city.
Within this modern city, the visitor can discover, with a pleasant sense of surprise, that certain parts of ag.barvara 11Drama have withstood time, giving us an idea of how the city must have been in olden times, when the community consisted of people from a variety of backgrounds and many religions, living in a human mosaic, which has left its mark on the city's cohabiting monuments.
For these reasons, our tour around Drama started from the archaeological museum, which lies close to the Public Park, an area full of greenery and running water. There, the visitor can find information about Drama history from prehistoric times up to the period of Turkish occupation and the inter-war years, all gathered in one place, and this information offers an insight into the agia barvara 9long tradition and the variety of culture in the prefecture. Archaeological Museum. The Archaeological Museum of Drama covers chronologically the human presence in Drama prefecture from the Middle Paleolithic Era (50,000 years from now), with traces of Palaeolithic hunters who lived in the Springs Cave of Aggitis till the modern times in 1913. The exhibition space consists of three main halls. The first archaeological findings indicate the presence of nomadic hunters of the Middle Paleolithic Era into the Springs Cave Aggitis and life of permanent farming-livestock settlements of Neolithic Age and the transition to the Bronze Age in the city of Drama and Sitagri location. The representation of a Neolithic house with findings that describe the activities of a Neolithic man and his arx.mouseio 15  dionusoseveryday life is the spotlight for visitors of all ages. In the same room goes on the time travel to the Iron Age and the later times, where dominates the cult of Dionysus in the town of Drama, in Kali Vrysi, and in other areas of the prefecture. In the second room, we find architectural sculptures, pottery and coins, which attest the continuity of life in Drama and throughout the prefecture, during the early Christian, Byzantine and post-Byzantine times. The visitor arx.mouseio 05 aggeiatravels to later years through a photographic exhibition, which refers to the town of Drama, the outside centers and mountain villages, from the beginning of Turkish rule, until the mid 19th century, in Drama and its region. In the third room of the exhibition space, which is a roofed atrium, visitors can admire organized sculptures of three sections. The first includes architectural sculptures from ancient times to the Ottoman Empire. The second contains votive monuments, associated with the worship of various gods of the Greco-Roman pantheon and local deities, with particular reference to Dionysus. In the third section are funerary monuments of Hellenistic and Roman times.

Our tour continues through Agia Barbara (Santa Barbara) park, which covers approximately 60,000 m2 and throughout the time has been an identifying feature of the city and a magnet for tourists. Here, one can clearly see the city's wealth in running water, as well as, much of the more recent history of Drama.

Water springs up from various points form small lakes and waterfalls under the shade of ancient trees. In some places, the water creates impressive sounds, in others it flows calmly and quietly, as it flows and covers agia barvara 3 6the whole park. This is an idyllic location with exceptional colours in all seasons and it is a place that always impresses both travellers and visitors of the city, as well as, its residents.
One can see traditional watermills here and multi-storey tobacco storehouses from the inter-war years reflected in the calm waters and in the depths of the lake, there are the remains of an Orthodox church. «The Mill of Zonke» stands out from all the other mills, which are located on the south side of the park, it is an old Muslim mill with the grinding area above the underground movement mechanism, and the storage area on the ground floor is well preserved. Next to the mill, too, stands the two-floor miller's house that has been preserved in relatively good condition. On the northern side of the park, agia barvara 25lies a multi-storey tobacco storehouse, once owned by the Swiss-Jewish tobacco merchant Herman Spirer, which is dated from 1925 and recalls the golden age of the city, when hundreds of workers filled the halls of the tobacco factories and produced tobacco of highest quality. Just in front of it are the ruins of the Joseph Faratzis tobacco storehouse, where the Jews from Drama were imprisoned in 1943, before their tragic end in the Polish concentration camps. A monument in their honour stands in the centre of the park. Around this monument are houses, which have been declared national monuments, the most important of these is the mansion of the tobacco merchant Anastasiadis, dating from 1876, which is decorated outside with local marble.

Today, many visitors come to the area from spring to autumn, in order to relax, to enjoy themselves, to have  17a drink or dine in one of the taverns. It also offers entertainment in the open air theatre and the «Melina» art gallery, located in the Municipal Cultural Centre. A special day in the park is the eve of the feast day of the city's patron Saint, Agia Barbara (Santa Barbara), held on 3rd December, when hundreds of children leave small lit up boats on the calm waters of the lake, in front of the church, bearing the Saint's name and providing with their presence, a wonderful picture in the twilight. Behind the church of Agia Barbara, we ascend the steps, through the old two-floor houses and the ruins of tobacco storehouses that lead us to Perdika St. We go on from there, towards Venizelou St., which till the recent years it was the most important road in the city and has already many notable monuments, either located directly on it or at a short distance from it. At the junction of Perdika St. agia barvara 1 86and Venizelou St., one comes across the Drama Educational Institute - built between 1907-1908 by the family’s contribution of the National Hero, Pavlos Melas and the support of National Martyr Bishop of Drama and later of Smyrni, Chrysostomos. As we descend Venizelou St., one can visit the ecclesiastical museum located next to the Bishop's Palace, which contains valuable treasures of Orthodoxy. The next stop is at the small square near the Metropolis of Drama. Next to the modern church, there is a part of the old Metropolis, dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, built in 1834 by the Bishop, Filippos Germanos, which contains exceptional works of woodcarving inside, dating to the 19th century. Just opposite of Metropolis, we find the restored building of the oldest city cinema – which was called as «Mega» and it is dated from 1913 – and town houses from the beginning of the 20th century, as well.

Not very far from the cinema is the Byzantine church of Agia Sofia, dating in the 10th century. There have ekkl.mouseio. 02 buzantinh eikonaekkl.mouseio 03 buzantinh eikonabeen interventions in the church, during the Byzantine years, as well as during the Turkish occupation, when it was changed to a mosque («Bey Mosque») and its present bell tower was once the base of a «minaret». It consists of a central square space supported on four bulky pillars with vaults and it is covered by a high, eight-sided dome. In the same area - which is the historical centre of Drama - and the old Christian neighbourhood, we can search for the remains of the Byzantine walls. Among modern and urban houses, dating from the inter-war years, we can find six parts of the towers from the walls, with 850 m length, which covered an area of approximately 40,000 m2. They were built, for the first time, in the 10th century and were reinforced, during two later phases, the latter was in 1206, by the governor of the castle, the Latin Boniface Momferatikos. It was so well fortified for such a small Castle that was set in a good natural location, as it was built on a plateau and its most sides were protected by the waters of the city.


Going back to Venizelou St., we pass in front of the restored traditional coffee shop of the city. The first floor agia barvara 3 11is the Municipal Art Gallery «Eleftheria». There is the Byzantine Chapel of Taxiarches, dating from the period of Palaeologi Emperors, which korulovosretains among the houses – is on the other side. It is a single-aisled basilica, of rectangular shape, which was close to the Byzantine wall, near it there is an eastern gate to the city. Taxiarches were probably the city’s Guardians. On the side of the church towards Venizelou St., there is an impressive, inverted Latin inscription, embedded in the wall, while inside the church there are murals from the cycle of the Passions of Christ with Taxiarches (Archangels) and the forms of two Hierarchs, in the conch of the Sanctuary. The chapel is still open and can be visited on 8th November. Continuing towards Eleftheria Square, we approach the commercial centre of the city. Tens of small shops set, not only in narrow cobbled streets of Venizelou St., but also in the most central street, 19th Maiou (May) St. There, in the traditional market, we have a different feel. There has been a stream for centuries and with its gushing waters, divided the city in two parts and caused incalculable losses to merchants.

Leaving behind the Church of Agios Nikolaos - known as «Eski Mosque» during the Turkish occupation – we go more northwards from the square and find the monument of the Greek, Macedonian martyr, Armen agia barvara 3Kouptsios, who fought for freedom, which is located on the site where he was hanged.
This area is the modern commercial centre of Drama with its well-preserved narrow streets. The Muslim mosques that are located in this central area arouse memories from days that have gone by. At the junction of Armen St. and Agamemnon St., lies a mosque, possibly the «Koursamli Mosque», with noteworthy wall paintings on its northern side, which depict the city of Drama, during the period of Turkish occupation. By walking through the narrow streets of the centre, one comes to Lambrianidi St., which has another monument of the Ottoman times in Dikastirion Square (Court Square), which has been identified by experts with known «Ak Mehmet Aga Mosque» of the 17th century. The presence of mosques in this area and in prominent places, such as the junction of streets, helps us to define the borders of the Muslim quarter, at east and north of the Christian one.
Near the same area, on Trias (Troy) St. are the remains of a Macedonian grave from the Hellenistic period with two chambers and a built passageway. Further to the north, we come across a few examples of popular Muslim architecture, such as the Ottoman Municipal School and the Orphanage of Drama, dating from the inter-war years.
If we make a short excursion north of Drama city, we can visit the hill of Korylovos, which is a point of panoramiko polisreference for the city. Nature lovers can enjoy a walk and get some exercise at any time of the year, among the pine forest that covers the slopes of the hill. After driving or climbing 4km to the peak, at an altitude of 600m, the visitors will be greeted by the panoramic view of the whole lowlands of Drama and the surrounding mountains. Visitors will also find places to relax and to exercise on the hill, which is beloved by the dwellers of Drama, on Kathara Deftera - Orthodoxy's version of Shrove Tuesday.
The city of Drama, today, with its 40,000 dwellers, apart from the fact that it is an economic and commercial korulovos 2centre, has the opportunity to promote its products at an important annual commercial exhibition, which is a hive of cultural and athletic activity. Every year there are literary and artistic events, held here, with many exhibitions from artists from other Balkan countries. At the end of June, the local community and guest artists participate in the city festivities, known as the «Eleftheria» and the most characteristic event is the well-established choir meeting. During September, the Municipality of Drama organizes, each year, the Short Film Festival, which has become a successful institution and has been enriched recently, by an international section with distinguished foreign participants. However, the city of Drama provides to the visitors many other forms of entertainment. In this city, football has been loved by everyone thanks to its historical team «Doxa Dramas» (Glory of Drama). Volleyball, basketball, handball, are fast-growing sports and generally, athletics is a way of life for many. Sports fans can work out and train in facilities, such as the National Stadium or enjoy peaceful walks on Koryvolos, among the pines or in the city's parks. Moreover, there are municipal facilities for tennis and private facilities for «mini» football and places on Koryvolos, where one poli dramas apo korulovocan learn or practice hang gliding. There are «go-kart»facilities too, in the east entrance of the city. Drama, however, is known for the nightlife and particularly renowned for its lively people, who have got talent in both song and dance. Starting from the taverns, which offer traditional and local dishes, or the city's coffee shops with their distinct sense of finesse, we keep our interest, to meet the intense night life in the city, either in open air summer places or winter venues, which offer a wide range of enjoyable things for the visitors - regardless their age.