Neapolis-Christoupolis-Kavala (7th C.BC. - 20th C.AD.)

Neapolis-Christoupolis-Kavala (7th C.BC. - 20th C.AD.) (HM1LC8)

Location: Kavala 652 01
Country: Greece
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N 40° 56.112', E 24° 24.755'

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Marker's English Text:

Historical Outline

The Panagia peninsula has been inhabited since the Early Iron Age (1050-700 BC). In the second half of the 7th century BC, Parian settlers from Thasos founded a new colony, Neapolis, in this key location. Capitalizing on a fertile hinterland and lucrative mines, the settlement flourished economically and culturally. After its submission to Philip II, Neapolis became the port of the newly-founded Macedonian colony of Philippi (346 BC).

In Roman times it became the major port of the region and was also a stopping-point for travelers, since the Via Egnatia went past the city walls. After the Apostle Paul arrived at the port in 49 AD, it became a place of pilgrimage.

The fragmented picture we have of the settlement in the Early Christian Period (4th-6th centuries AD) comes from the few existing remnants of its fortifications and from a basilica next to the Halil Bey's mosque, as well as scattered architectural members from similar churches. In the Middle Byzantine Period (9th-12th centuries AD) it was known as Christoupolis; it became a powerful Byzantine stronghold; and an Episcopal see.

In the centuries that followed it grew into a densely-populated city, with effective defences and highly developed trade. From the mid-19th century, it was a hub for the processing and shipment of tobacco, which was grown inland. The dynamic Greek community played a prominent role in these activities.

After an onerous year of occupation by the Bulgarians (1912-13), Kavala was liberated by the Greek navy on June 27th 1913.

The walls

The walls of Kavala rise imposingly above the steep sides of the rocky Panagia peninsula. Although the castle acquired its current form in 1530, it has the characteristics of the older fortifications of the so-called white period. In subsequent centuries a very limited number of alterations were made, to accommodate the use of firearms. During the 2nd half of the 19th century the castle fell into disuse.

The outer enclosure and the inner (acropolis) both incorporate remnants from earlier periods of history. The oldest of these go back to the beginning of the 5th century BC and formed part of the fortifications of ancient Neapolis. Those remains which belong to the Late Roman Period (3rd-6th centuries AD) may have some connection with the building activities of the emperors Julian (361-363) and Justinian (527-565). Finally, there are a few small sections which are representative of the Middle and Late Byzantine Periods (9th-14th centuries AD). A complete inscription makes reference to the rebuilding of the walls in 926 AD by Basil Klaxon, general of the theme (military and administrative district) of Strymon.

The inner part of the castle was entered via the three gates in the inland side (n/\1, n/\5, n/\4). Since the peninsula is a natural stronghold, there are no towers at all on the castle's western sea side, while the eastern has just one round tower and one square (n1, n2). By contrast, the inland section is fortified with three square towers (n3, n4, n11) and two bastions (nP3, nP6). In subsequent years a further two bastions were built on the southernmost edge of the peninsula (nP1, nP2).
HM NumberHM1LC8
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, June 26th, 2015 at 2:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)26T E 717829 N 4534787
Decimal Degrees40.93520000, 24.41258333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 56.112', E 24° 24.755'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 56' 6.72" N, 24° 24' 45.3" E
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Erithrou Stavrou, Kavala 652 01, GR
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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