Komotini

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Komotini has existed as a settlement since the 2nd century AD. That is confirmed by archaeological finds of that era up until the 4th century. It is also confirmed by an inscription on the ruins of the 4th-century Byzantine wall, that are visible at various sites in the city, which reads "Theodosiou Ktisma" = Building of Theodosius. The inscription was discovered by the Komotini-born Prof. Stilponas Kyriakidis and the then mayor Sofocles Komninos. It is said that the township 'Komotini' originates from the 5th century and is linked to the daughter of the painter Parrasios from Maroneia. During the Roman age it was one of the several fortresses along the Via Egnatia highway which existed in the Thrace area. The most important city of that period was neighbouring Maximianopolis, former Thracian Porsulis or Paesoulae (which was renamed to Mosynopolis in the 9th century). Komotini was a Via Egnatia hub on its northern route through the Nymphaea Pass which lead to the Ardas Valley, Philippopolis (modern Plovdiv) and Byzantine Berroe (modern Stara Zagora).

The city's history is closely connected with that of Via Egnatia, the Roman trunk road which connected Dyrrhachium with Constantinople. The Roman emperor Theodosius I built a small rectilinear fortress on the road at a junction with a route leading north across the Rhodope Mountains toward Philippopolis. During the Byzantine period, the city belonged to the Theme of Macedonia, whilst from the 11th century it could be found within the newly founded theme of Boleron. For most of its early existence the settlement was overshadowed by the larger town of Mosynopolis to the west, and by the end of the 12th century, the place had been completely abandoned. In 1207 following the destruction of Mosynopolis by the Bulgarian tsar Kaloyan, the remnant population fled and established themselves within the walls of the abandoned fortress. Since then the population had been increasing continuously until it became an important town within the area. In 1331 John Kantakouzenos referred to her as Koumoutzina in his account of the Byzantine civil war of 1321–1328.

In the Ottoman Era, Komotini was known as Gümülcine or Ghumurdjina.[3] The city continued to be an important hub connecting the capital city of Constantinople with the European part of the Empire, and grew accordingly. Many monuments in the city today date to this era. In 1361, Gazi Evrenos conquered the town and thus a long period of Ottoman rule began. Many local families fled at that time to Epirus and founded the Koumoutzades village (modern Ammotopos, Arta). Even there they were persecuted and some of them found refuge in Tropaia of Gortynia. The bond between the inhabitants of Komotini, Ammotopos and Tropaia exists to this day.

 

 

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