Known as the blue city and the Mecca of tobacco, Kavala is a city of extraordinary beauty and positive energy. It is a city, where for centuries, Byzantines, Ottomans, Jews, merchants, tobacco workers, refugees and so many others socialize and prosper.
What still reminds of Kavala’s glorious past are the large and huge tobacco warehouses and the elegant neoclassical buildings. Take some time to see them and then enjoy the city itself. After all, there are so many options available, such as a meal and a drink in the city center, a stroll in the castle, the harbor or, of course, the old town.
So, here’s a look at all those places that are definitely worth a visit when you visit Kavala:
Old town of Kavala or Panagia
Panagia, the old town of Kavala has all those elements that will take you back in time. There are so many sights, neoclassical buildings and picturesque alleys to explore. Most notable examples are Mohammed Ali Square with its statue and home, the Church of Our Lady and the Hussein Bey Mosque. Each corner has its own unique identity and will take you back to the past.
The castle and the acropolis
The history of the castle is very large over the centuries and the view from that point is even greater. From there one can see the whole city and overlook the beautiful Aegean Sea.
The Acropolis was built by the Ottomans between 1425 and 1530 on the ruins of a Byzantine castle. It consisted of the inner and outer walls, which connected the Acropolis with the walls of the peninsula, reinforcing the lower part of the hill on the port side.
As for the castle, this was built at a time when wars were fought with early weapons, such as bows, arrows and swords. That is why in the following years it could no longer adequately defend the area and ceased to function as a defensive fortress. Later, it was turned into a place of imprisonment and exile.
Kamares: The aqueduct
These imposing arches are probably one of the most famous sights in Kavala. Initially, they were part of a system that transported water to the Panagia rock in the old town. With a total length of 6.4 km, the aqueduct was constructed with a significant inclination due to its location. About half a millennium later, Kamares continue to be extremely impressive.
The historical Imaret
It is one of the most important Ottoman monuments in Greece. Imaret means “poor house”, although in reality it is an impressive complex built in 1817 by Mohamed Ali as a place for Islamic teaching. After centuries of neglect, Imaret has been renovated and is a symbol of the city’s history and a modern monument as well.
The institution’s original educational and charitable purpose changed and after 1858 it was considered as harmful to the city. However, it continued to function as a religious school until 1902 and as a charity until 1923. Following the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey in the early 1970s, Imaret was inhabited by refugees. After 1967, it entered a period of decline until its refurbishment lasted 22 months and today functions as a luxury hotel.
The Mecca of tobacco
Tobacco cultivation began in Kavala in the early 19th century, which also was an integral part of the city’s history for over 150 years, and the reason why the city is rich and prosperous. Since 1918, about 50 tobacco companies have been operating in Kavala, with 160 tobacco depots employing half the country’s tobacco workers (about 14,000).
However, the global financial crisis that erupted in 1929, the fact that this profession became less “protected” and the withdrawal of many men from the tobacco industry led the Balkans’ largest tobacco center to significant decline.
All the above are thoroughly described in the tobacco museum in Kavala. It is a very interesting museum that narrates the story of the tobacco industry in Kavala. Exhibits include tools, photographs and rare documents.
Rent your car from Alpha Drive Rent a Car and plan a trip to Kavala to see all its beauty.