Travel destination Kavala, Greece, also spelled Kaválla, ancient Neápolis, commercial town and seaport, periféreia (region) of East Macedonia and Thrace (Modern Greek: Anatolikí Makedonía kai Thrakí), northeastern Greece. It lies along the Gulf of Kaválas in the northern Aegean Sea. Since 1924 it has been the seat of the metropolitan bishop of Fílippoi (ancient Philippi), Neapolis, and the island of Thasos and also the headquarters of a Greek army division. The town is built on a promontory stretching south into the gulf, opposite the island of Thasos. The town’s Turkish quarter is surrounded by Byzantine walls and occupies the small promontory, which is crowned by a Byzantine castle. The new town spreads out north of the main harbour, which was formed by the construction of two long moles after World War II.
Kavála has been identified with Neapolis, where Brutus stationed his fleet before the Battle of Philippi (42 BCE) and where the apostle Paul landed on his way from Samothrace (Samothráki) to Philippi. It was known as Christopolis in the Byzantine era. In 1387 it fell to the Turks, who held it until 1912, when it joined the kingdom of Greece. Bulgaria, which coveted Kavála as a maritime outlet, occupied the town three times: 1912–13, 1916–18, and 1942–44. Kavála is now a major warehousing and export centre for the tobacco growing districts of northern Greece. East of the town, drained marshland supports rice and melon cultivation. Beekeeping is also important, and local vineyards produce table grapes. A Roman aqueduct stands by the old town, and numerous other Roman and Byzantine artifacts remain, many of them housed in the archaeological museum opened in 1965.
Depending on the season, fishing vessels, ferries, sailboats and cruise ships all drop anchor at Kavala’s two ports – the old and the new. This coastal city, which rises up from the sea like an amphitheater, counts approximately 50,000 inhabitants, split among the Palia Poli (old town) and the Nea Poli (new town). The latter may enjoy a larger share of Kavala’s residents; however, it is the former, constructed atop the Panagia peninsula, that holds the edge in terms of charm. Elements harking back to a variety of eras and architectural styles coexist throughout the narrow lanes of the old quarter, under the commanding Kastro (castle).
We have come to love Kavala not only on account of all the beautiful heritage monuments and buildings it has managed to preserve, but also because, being a veritable Greek urban jungle, the city moves us. Moreover, the moment the warm weather arrives, the city promises refreshing dips at Batis, Tosca and Palio. Just a tad further afield lie wonderful beaches, including Ammoglossa Keramotis and Ammolofi, offering turquoise waters and fine sand.The few tavernas and cafe / bars of the old town are located across from the Imaret, on Theodorou Poulidou St. The prevalent feature found in the buildings in the narrow lanes of the Panagia district is Macedonian architecture coupled with the Eastern influences brought back by master builders from trips abroad. These overseas influences include the sachnisi (a traditional type of bay window supported by wooden beams on building facades) and the bagdati (a wattle-and-daub technique, which has come from Baghdad and involves the use of wood and other natural materials in the construction of building walls).
After ascending the circular interior staircase of the fortress – provided that you do not get stuck; that is just how narrow it is – you are rewarded with an extremely enjoyable 360-degree vista and view of the entire city and the Thracian Sea. This fortified settlement constituted the entire city of Kavala, up to the year 1864. It was confined to the area of the triangular cape. In fact, its earliest traces are lost in antiquity, when it was named Neapolis, the walls of which are still to be found along the perimeter of the rock.
In Byzantine times the city was called Christoupolis. In terms of offering a travel experience, Panagia clearly is of great interest, and the more you walk around the area, the more it wins you over. The good news is that the tourism-related development of yet another landmark building has been set into motion. The historic Spiti tou Stratigou (House of the General), in which – to this day – the military chief of the city resides, is to be converted into a hotel, thus enriching the city’s supply of accommodation spaces.