Starting from the city of silk, Soufli, our Road Trip was launched to explore the Evros.
Before we boarded our car we walked to the Soufli Museum of Silk. We could not miss the most important cultural spot of the area. They welcomed us and showed us around throughout the museum, explaining us every stage of silk production. Of course, you also had the option to watch the detailed video with all the details, which of course we did not miss!
The museum left us with the best impression since it is a well preserved architectural mansion of Thracian architecture, donated by Constantine Kourtidis, an eminent citizen of the time. After the visit, you can have your coffee in the yard of the museum or in the specially designed area of the mansion that was on the main street just below.
We were excited from the museum for both the hospitality of the people and the quality of the exhibits and we continued for the village center! On our way, we met several shops and craftsmen selling silk. As young people, they have continued the art of their ancestors! In the scenery, “old mansions, deserted houses, new homes, local businesses, and large green areas have sprung up. With a distance of 500 meters from the river, Evros Soufli is logical to have a rich flora and many mosquitoes!
Although we did not expect to find many people in Soufli, especially in August, we finally found out the opposite. The central square was full of life and we enjoyed it very much. Even tourists were spotted with the backpacks. Walking, however, opened our appetite and we did not resist the bougatsa from “Traditional”! Tasteful and good value!
After we ate the sweet treat we started for Didimoticho and Orestiada! We knew that in about twenty minutes we would already be in our first stop so we enjoyed the route. Endless green areas and sunflower crops hid the river Evros well, which was only visible where the vegetation was not so dense. At one of these points, we did a few minutes stop and went down to capture the river! The feeling of calmness was super, and this feeling really makes you travel. Somewhere between our thoughts, we realized how close we were to another country, Turkey!
We took the necessary shots and continued the road trip to the city of Didimotiho! On our way, we passed many small villages, such as Lavara, Mandra with their few inhabitants. Fortunately, the road was pretty good without traffic and we arrived at the time we had calculated!
Arrived at Didimotiho
Didymoteicho was just as we imagined it, small with considerably more residents than Soufli and more traffic to the center. We parked our car and took it on foot. Because if you do not walk it, you can not find its secret spots.
So we took the crowded shopping and pedestrian street and headed up to the Mehmet Temple or Bayezid Temple.
A Muslim mosque, considered to be one of the world’s most important Islamic monuments, with the unique history and exceptional frescoes. The Bayezid Temple began to built in the late 14th century and was completed by order of Sultan Mohammed I. Unfortunately we did not manage to visit it as it was closed. As we learned during maintenance, a fire broke out and destroyed the wooden roof. We continued to walk and found ourselves on one of the outer gates of the walls, the Kaleparthas as they are known, and specifically at the Gates of the Agora.
Crossing the settlement with the traditional houses we made a stop at the Holy Church of Savior Christ. It is a post-Byzantine temple with great tradition and miraculous action. There we met a new priest, who welcomed us and gave us some of his time describing the history of the temple and of the place. He told us that in Didymotiho live peacefully Christians and Muslims, while most of the residents enjoy good economic status. After we thanked him for what he shared with us, we left the temple and headed for the Zamantha coffee to cool down.
Road trip’s next stop Orestiada
We enjoyed the view of Didimoticho from above with our coffee and started to finish our road trip. Next station was Orestiada. After half an hour we were in the city center! Orestiada is the second largest city of Evros after Alexandroupolis. It is a refugee town inhabited by the Greeks of Adrianople. Today’s scenery has nothing to remind of the small refugee houses of that time since their place has taken new homes and settlements.
We walked to the central square, which was crowded with children running up and down and the grown-ups enjoying their coffee in the cafes that were around. All the life of Orestiada gathered at one point. As time passed, we also enjoyed our coffee, ate a Greek souvlaki and took the way back!
Stay tuned with us for the second part of our Road Trip! Next in line Alexandroupoli and Xanthi!