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History of Samothrace

Chora (Samothrace) is located 5 km east of the port, built among hills so as to be protected from the winds and thief raids, which were very common during the last centuries. At one end of Chora you will see the Byzantine castle towering on a natural rocky hill. It was built during the 10th century and expanded in 1430 by Genoese conquerors from Gattilusi island. In 1456 Samothrace became part of the Ottoman empire. Its houses, are two-storied with tiled roofs (some of them preserve the old earthen roofs) are built in such a way that one provides shade to the other. In Chora you will also find a Folklore Museum housed in a renovated residence next to the church. The settlement was declared “traditional" in 1978 and is of great architectural interest.

The history of this island is lost in the depth of centuries. The first inhabitants of Samothrace were Pelasgians, but during the historic years Ionians and Aeolians lived together on the island. During the 7th century B.C., they built a series of towns on the facing shore, the "Samothriika teichea" (the walls of Samothrace) as named by Herodotus: Messimvria, Dri, Zoni, Sali, etc.

The island was a major religious center for the whole ancient world of the Mediterranean, thanks to the reputation of the Sanctuary of Great Gods and the mystical character of their worship. The Great Gods were also known as Kabeiroi and one can still see their sanctuary in the ancient town at “Paliapoli” at the northern part of the island and not far from Kamariotissa.

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