Following the Castles of Nestos


The fact that the castles take place on the tops of the mountains and they are strongly constructed by huge bouno24fraktorocks reveals that they once played an important role, in the area. It is about citadels-strongholds of the ancient times that intended to have under control the passage from Drama’s hinterland to the mouth of Nestos River. They were also, a kind of a shelter for the local population, against the barbarian’s invasion.oik.adriani

Even nowadays, we follow the same ancient way, in order to reach Nestos-the river that the ancient Thrace worshipped. If we leave from the national road that lead us to Kavala, at the 4th km and we follow the way for Paranesti, we can visit a historical village, Adriani, 11km far from Drama. Close to the residence, we feel, in the first Castle’s ruins, the human’s presence from the ancient times, in Ai-Giannis place. South of the village, remains the church of St. Nikolaos (1884). It is a wood-roof, three-aisle, of vasiliki rhythm, which was built by the local Greeks, during the times that tobacco trade was in progress.

Today, the area is known for the local wine and tsipouro of high quality, which are being produced. We will ampelonesbe guided in accessible wine factories-which are surrounded by special vineyards-in cellars and in special rooms of tasting the world prize-winning wines. The wide area gathers other smaller wineries, which produce exquisite wines and that is why the place is regarded as a strong economical center of Drama.

South-east of Adriani, we can relax, exercise ourselves and prepare delicacies in the coppice, under the shade of the plane-trees that are spread in a land of 50 square metres. We can combine our visit in Adriani with the feast of 6th August-the day of Christ Transfiguration.

Our next station is the municipality of the wide area, Nikiforos, 5km away from Adriani. The decrepitnikiforosnew two-roof houses of the central road, the narrow roads and the beautiful, abandoned railway-station building, leave behind us a scent of a different era of a remarkable economical action.

In the wide area, were moved in, refugees from Asia Minor-mainly from Pontos, during the exchange of populations, between Greece and Turkey and they continued their agricultural farming in the area. Every year, residents make their own feast on the Prophet Elias day, in 20th July.

paranesti26Wishing to meet the history of the region, we follow the road for Ypsili Rachi, only 8km from Nikiforos. The road now, becomes narrower, but it is always passable. On the way, we meet low vegetation on rocky ground and old Muslim villages, perched on hillsides with a spectacular view, just like Ypsili Rachi at an altitude of 440m, known in the past, as «Zarits». We make out a few manors in the small village Tichos, known in the past as «Souroutzouler», till the Interwar, which resemble towers and remind omnipotence of the local«Beydes» at the tobacco fields in paranestihilly areas. The few residents with origins of Asia Minor occupy nowadays with cattle and produce meat and cheese of high quality. In Ypsili Rachi, is organized a local festival in the middle of August.

Having a pleasant route of 4km with smooth turns, we reach from Ypsili Rachi to the central road for Paranesti at the height of Chamokerasa. If we choose the other road from Nikiforos, we will meet many small villages with few rural families, built in a mountainous ground. In the biggest village of the region, Platania, an archaeological hoe, revealed antiquities from various eras, in the citadel of the settlement - in «Kale» position - which is surrounded by a strong wall, built with rectangular stones irregularly shaped. In this «Castle», you can pass through a forest road, starting from Platania, a route of 3km.

paranesti2After the railway-station of Platania, the route is interesting. The road becomes narrower and continues curvy through the green landscape. There are deep gullies around us, created among the slopes of Rhodope and paranesti28covered by dense vegetation. The shade of the trees covers even a part of the road’s surface, while we are going in parallel with the track of the railway line, through the tunnels of Rhodope. After 39km, we pass the big bridge of Nestos (over the waters of the river that form impressive ripples), and then, we arrive at Paranesti of 600 residents-seat of the same municipality.