Walking in the forests of Xanthi, feels like travelling back to time, many centuries ago, when horses used to trot on the cobbled tracks among the green oaks.
Hiking to Xanthi’s ancient castles is a unique experience of contacting both with nature and Greek history.
As you lay your steps on the same path where the soldiers of King Phillip II of Macedonia walked, you can almost hear their armors clanging through the dense forest.
It is an easy route suitable for families, schools or individuals. The path is 3,8 km long .Parts of it are cobbled and others are made of natural surface. The starting point is located in Ano Ioniko, a small village 40km away from Xanthi city. The village has interesting details of traditional architecture.
The area in which the visitors hike is inside Rhodope’s mountain range national park. The park is worth a closer look as it is the second in extent in Greece and quite rich in fauna and flora variety.
The castle was built around 340 BC at an altitude of 627m in Xanthi prefecture. It was used by the Macedonians and the Romans. It became part of the fortification network that was developed by the emperor Justinian during the middle Byzantine period.
From the top of the hill where the castle is based you can enjoy the scenery of Nestos river as it crosses the valley before it hides into the gorge. All around there used to exist castles and fortresses that supervised the crossings to the valley.
Golden eagles very often fly above the castle. Nearby there is the village named Kalyva which definitely needs a visit as it is an old settlement with architectural value. The most important building is a house in the upper part of the village which was constructed by a rich Turkish man before 1900 A.C.
A large network of paths lead in other beautiful landscapes and deserted settlements which once upon the time where alive and thriving.
Always bear in mind that a qualified mountain leader can lead you in places that you are unaware of their existence, gives you the right information and offer you the safety and carelessness you need in your vacations.
This article is a guest post from: “Let’s Trek”, Eirini Kotsaki, Mountain Leader & Forest Ranger, Paranesti, Drama, +30 6980211854