Περιφερειακή Ενότητα Δράμας

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Tobacco in Drama

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Tobacco was the most significant occupation in the area. Today, over the large number 1of the tobacco warehouses, reigns absolute quiet. Through the shut windows and the iron doors, immerges a slight scent of the great eastern tobaccos and there is a sense that people from the past are still there.

In the middle of the 19th century, the great conditions of the soil and the ideal climate for the tobacco cultivation helped a lot the growth of exceptional varieties, especially in the villages of the mountain regions and a part of the plain.

The interest of foreign merchants and their Greek, Ottoman and Jewess suppliers for «Basmades» and «Basi Bali» diversity was intense. The latter were special, because of their thin leaves and the intoxicating scent.

In the local tobacco factories, the first elaboration of Muslim and Orthodox cultivators’ product was made. After a great demand, many storey-buildings were created the first decades of the century. Round the Santa Barbara’s springs, a building took place there, because of the moisture that is demanded and in other rural places, which produce tobacco.

During the spring and the summer, after the sorting and the packing of tobacco, a new 3way was opened to the markets abroad. It starts from Kavala’s harbor, during the time of the Middle War/Interwar, in order to reach in Austria-Hungarian Empire, France, the United States and Germany.

Tobacco plays an important role in the latest history of Drama and especially for whole Hellenism. The Orthodox who stayed in the villages, their contribution to the Macedonian struggle, the economical progress, the  increase of the population till the liberation, the trade revival and the incorporation of the Greek refugees of 1922, probably would never happened, if there was not the tobacco occupation.

During the tobacco’s «Golden Age» in Drama, at 1925-1928 and 1934-1939, 13.000 families, at least, cultivated more than 100.000 square metres of  tobacco- producing the greatest tobacco amounts in Greece and inserting valuable foreign currency in the country. Apart from the farmers, there were thousands of local 2and foreign men, women and children tobacco workers, who were working under very difficult circumstances in the tobacco factories.

All of them, after successive strikes in 1914 and during the Interwar, achieved their first collective labor agreement in Greece. However, the exclusive tobacco cultivation in the area and the dependence of the product moved by the international quest, led to the brink of economical disaster in the productive and working world of Drama, during the global economical crisis of 1929. After the Second World War, tobacco continued to monopolize productive activity. However, was severely affected by reduction’s demand from foreign markets and by the fact that young farmers abandoned this particular form of cultivation.