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Xanthi

The meaning of «xanthi»

Xanthi (Greek: Ξάνθη, Xánthi, [ˈksanθi]) is a city in the region of Western Thrace, northeastern Greece. It is the capital of the Xanthi regional unit of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace.

Amphitheatrically built on the foot of Rhodope mountain chain, the city is divided by the Kosynthos River, into the west part, where the old and the modern town are located, and the east part that boasts a rich natural environment. The "Old Town of Xanthi" is known throughout Greece for its distinctive architecture, combining many Byzantine Greek churches with neoclassical mansions of Greek merchants from the 18th and 19th centuries and Ottoman-Era mosques.[1] Other landmarks in Xanthi include the Archaeological Museum of Abdera and the Greek Folk Art Museum.

Xanthi is famous throughout Greece (especially Macedonia and Thrace) for its annual spring carnival[1] (Greek: καρναβάλι) which has a significant role in the city's economy. Over 40 cultural associations from around Greece participate in the carnival program. The festivities which take place during the period include concerts, theatre plays, music and dance nights, exhibitions, a cycling event, games on the streets, and re-enactments of old customs.[1]

There are two theories regarding the origin of its name: it was either named after a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, or after Xanthi, one of the Amazons that ruled the region, according to legend.

Xanthi is known as "İskeçe" in Turkish[2] and "Скеча" (Skecha) or "Ксанти" (Ksanti) in Bulgarian.[3]

Xanthi is sometimes identified with the ancient city of Xantheia mentioned in the 1st century BC by the geographer Strabo,[4] but it was not mentioned by any other ancient historian.[4] It began as a small village and experienced all the tumultuous periods of the history of Thrace, such as raids, disasters, ethnic conflicts, civil wars. The population of the region of Xanthi had dwindled down to almost nothing, as the region was depopulated in the 3rd century AD[4] and almost everything had been destroyed when the Ottomans conquered the region in 1361. For this reason, the Ottomans brought settlers from within of Asia Minor, which is how Genisea (Γενισέα) was created, while Oraio (Ωραίο) and Xanthi remained mainly Greek and Christian centres.[5]

Known references to Xanthi (Ξάνθη), or Xanthia (Ξάνθεια), the city's origins are obscure; it was a prosperous stronghold of the Byzantine era but latter became a colony of the Ottomans known as Eskije.[6] Xanthi is first recorded in 879 (Bishop Georgios of Xantheia is reported as taking part in the Fourth Council of Constantinople[7][8]). From the 13th to the 14th century it was the most important city of the region. Three monasteries date from the Middle Ages: Pammegiston, Taxiarchon, and Panagia Archangeliotisa,[7] although written records indicate several others now lost.[9] Xanthi featured in the campaign of Andronikos II Palaiologos in 1327.

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