The Balkans known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast; the Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined; the highest point of the Balkans is 2,925 metres, in the Rila mountain range. The concept of the Balkan peninsula was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered the Balkan Mountains the dominant mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea; the term of Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey in the 19th century, the former provinces of the Ottoman Empire in Southeast Europe.
It had a geopolitical rather than a geographical definition, further promoted during the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in the early 20th century. The definition of the Balkan peninsula's natural borders do not coincide with the technical definition of a peninsula and hence modern geographers reject the idea of a Balkan peninsula, while scholars discuss the Balkans as a region; the term has acquired a stigmatized and pejorative meaning related to the process of Balkanization, hence the rather used alternative term for the region is Southeast Europe. The word Balkan comes from Ottoman Turkish balkan'chain of wooded mountains'; the origin of the Turkic word is obscure. From classical antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Balkan Mountains were called by the local Thracian name Haemus. According to Greek mythology, the Thracian king Haemus was turned into a mountain by Zeus as a punishment and the mountain has remained with his name. A reverse name scheme has been suggested. D. Dechev considers that Haemus is derived from a Thracian word *saimon,'mountain ridge'.
A third possibility is that "Haemus" derives from the Greek word "haema" meaning'blood'. The myth relates to a fight between the monster/titan Typhon. Zeus injured Typhon with a thunder bolt and Typhon's blood fell on the mountains, from which they got their name; the earliest mention of the name appears in an early 14th-century Arab map, in which the Haemus mountains are referred to as Balkan. The first attested time the name "Balkan" was used in the West for the mountain range in Bulgaria was in a letter sent in 1490 to Pope Innocent VIII by Buonaccorsi Callimaco, an Italian humanist and diplomat; the Ottomans first mention it in a document dated from 1565. There has been no other documented usage of the word to refer to the region before that, although other Turkic tribes had settled in or were passing through the Peninsula. There is a claim about an earlier Bulgar Turkic origin of the word popular in Bulgaria, however it is only an unscholarly assertion; the word was used by the Ottomans in Rumelia in its general meaning of mountain, as in Kod̲j̲a-Balkan, Čatal-Balkan, Ungurus-Balkani̊, but it was applied to the Haemus mountain.
The name is still preserved in Central Asia with the Balkan Daglary and the Balkan Province of Turkmenistan. English traveler John Morritt introduced this term into the English literature at the end of the 18th-century, other authors started applying the name to the wider area between the Adriatic and the Black Sea; the concept of the "Balkans" was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered it as the dominant central mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea. During the 1820s, "Balkan became the preferred although not yet exclusive term alongside Haemus among British travelers... Among Russian travelers not so burdened by classical toponymy, Balkan was the preferred term"; the term was not used in geographical literature until the mid-19th century because then scientists like Carl Ritter warned that only the part South of the Balkan Mountains can be considered as a peninsula and considered it to be renamed as "Greek peninsula".
Other prominent geographers who didn't agree with Zeune were Hermann Wagner, Theobald Fischer, Marion Newbigin, Albrecht Penck, while Austrian diplomat Johann Georg von Hahn in 1869 for the same territory used the term Südostereuropäische Halbinsel. Another reason it was not accepted as the definition of European Turkey had a similar land extent. However, after the Congress of Berlin there was a political need for a new term and the Balkans was revitalized, but in the maps the northern border was in Serbia and Montenegro without Greece, while Yugoslavian maps included Croatia and Bosnia; the term Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey, the political borders of former Ottoman Empire provinces. The usage of the term changed in the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century when was embraced by Serbian geographers, most prominently by Jovan Cvijić, it was done with political reasoning as affirmation for Serbian nationalism on the whole territory of the South Slavs, included anthropological and ethnological studies of the South Slavs through which were claimed various nationalistic and racistic theories.
Through such policies and Yugoslavian maps the term was elevated to the modern status of
The Serbs are a nation and South Slavic ethnic group that formed in the Balkans. The majority of Serbs inhabit the nation state of Serbia, as well as the disputed territory of Kosovo, the neighboring countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, they form significant minorities in North Slovenia. There is a large Serb diaspora in Western Europe, outside Europe there are significant communities in North America and Australia; the Serbs share many cultural traits with the rest of the peoples of Southeast Europe. They are predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christians by religion; the Serbian language is official in Serbia, co-official in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, is spoken by the plurality in Montenegro. The modern identity of Serbs is rooted in traditions. In the 19th century, the Serbian national identity was manifested, with awareness of history and tradition, medieval heritage, cultural unity, despite living under different empires. Three elements, together with the legacy of the Nemanjić dynasty, were crucial in forging identity and preservation during foreign domination: the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serbian language, Kosovo Myth.
When the Principality of Serbia gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, Orthodoxy became crucial in defining the national identity, instead of language, shared by other South Slavs. The tradition of slava, the family saint feast day, is an important ethnic marker of Serb identity, is regarded their most significant and most solemn feast day; the origin of the ethnonym is unclear. Genetic studies on Serbs show that they have close affinity with the rest of the Balkan peoples, those within former Yugoslavia. Serbia's people are among the tallest in the world, after Montenegro and the Netherlands, with an average male height of 1.82 metres. Slavs settled the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries. Up until the late 560s their activity was raiding, crossing from the Danube, though with limited Slavic settlement through Byzantine foederati colonies; the Danube and Sava frontier was overwhelmed by large-scale Slavic settlement in the late 6th and early 7th century. What is today central Serbia was an important geo-strategical province, through which the Via Militaris crossed.
This area was intruded by barbarians in the 5th and 6th centuries. The numerous Slavs assimilated the descendants of the indigenous population; the history of the early medieval Serbian Principality is recorded in the 10th-century work De Administrando Imperio, which describes the Serbs as a people living in Roman Dalmatia, subordinate to the Byzantine Empire. Numerous small Serbian states were created, chiefly under Vlastimorović and Vojislavjević dynasties, located in modern Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. With the decline of the Serbian state of Duklja in the late 11th century, "Raška" separated from it and replaced it as the most powerful Serbian state. Prince Stefan Nemanja conquered the neighbouring territories of Kosovo and Zachlumia; the Nemanjić dynasty ruled over Serbia until the 14th century. Nemanja's older son, Stefan Nemanjić, became Serbia's first recognized king, while his younger son, founded the Serbian Orthodox Church in the year 1219, became known as Saint Sava after his death.
Over the next 140 years, Serbia expanded its borders, from numerous minor principalities, reaching to a unified Serbian Empire. Its cultural model remained Byzantine, despite political ambitions directed against the empire; the medieval power and influence of Serbia culminated in the reign of Stefan Dušan, who ruled the state from 1331 until his death in 1355. Ruling as Emperor from 1346, his territory included Macedonia, northern Greece and all of modern Albania; when Dušan died, his son Stephen Uroš V became Emperor. With Turkish invaders beginning their conquest of the Balkans in the 1350s, a major conflict ensued between them and the Serbs, the first major battle was the Battle of Maritsa, in which the Serbs were defeated. With the death of two important Serb leaders in the battle, with the death of Stephen Uroš that same year, the Serbian Empire broke up into several small Serbian domains; these states were ruled by feudal lords, with Zeta controlled by the Balšić family, Raška, Kosovo and northern Macedonia held by the Branković family and Lazar Hrebeljanović holding today's Central Serbia and a portion of Kosovo.
Hrebeljanović was subsequently accepted as the titular leader of the Serbs because he was married to a member of the Nemanjić dynasty. In 1389, the Serbs faced the Ottomans at the Battle of Kosovo on the plain of Kosovo Polje, near the town of Pristina. Both Lazar and Sultan Murad; the battle most ended in a stalemate, afterwards Serbia enjoyed a short period of prosperity under despot Stefan Lazarević and resisted failing to the Turks until 1459. The Serbs had taken an active part in the wars fought in the Balkans against the Ottoman Empire, organized uprisings. After allied Christian forces had captured Buda from the Ottoman Empire in 1686 during the Great Turkish War, Serbs from Pannonian Plain joined the troops of the Habsburg Monarchy as separate units known as Serbian Militia. Serbs, as volunteers, massively joined
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres, about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but dense and large settlements, as well as vast populated regions, its 4.5 billion people constitute 60% of the world's population. In general terms, Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, on the north by the Arctic Ocean; the border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity.
The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East–West cultural and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The most accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa. China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce and colonialism; the accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions.
Given its size and diversity, the concept of Asia—a name dating back to classical antiquity—may have more to do with human geography than physical geography. Asia varies across and within its regions with regard to ethnic groups, environments, historical ties and government systems, it has a mix of many different climates ranging from the equatorial south via the hot desert in the Middle East, temperate areas in the east and the continental centre to vast subarctic and polar areas in Siberia. The boundary between Asia and Africa is the Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez, the Suez Canal; this makes Egypt a transcontinental country, with the Sinai peninsula in Asia and the remainder of the country in Africa. The border between Asia and Europe was defined by European academics; the Don River became unsatisfactory to northern Europeans when Peter the Great, king of the Tsardom of Russia, defeating rival claims of Sweden and the Ottoman Empire to the eastern lands, armed resistance by the tribes of Siberia, synthesized a new Russian Empire extending to the Ural Mountains and beyond, founded in 1721.
The major geographical theorist of the empire was a former Swedish prisoner-of-war, taken at the Battle of Poltava in 1709 and assigned to Tobolsk, where he associated with Peter's Siberian official, Vasily Tatishchev, was allowed freedom to conduct geographical and anthropological studies in preparation for a future book. In Sweden, five years after Peter's death, in 1730 Philip Johan von Strahlenberg published a new atlas proposing the Urals as the border of Asia. Tatishchev announced; the latter had suggested the Emba River as the lower boundary. Over the next century various proposals were made until the Ural River prevailed in the mid-19th century; the border had been moved perforce from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea into which the Ural River projects. The border between the Black Sea and the Caspian is placed along the crest of the Caucasus Mountains, although it is sometimes placed further north; the border between Asia and the region of Oceania is placed somewhere in the Malay Archipelago.
The Maluku Islands in Indonesia are considered to lie on the border of southeast Asia, with New Guinea, to the east of the islands, being wholly part of Oceania. The terms Southeast Asia and Oceania, devised in the 19th century, have had several vastly different geographic meanings since their inception; the chief factor in determining which islands of the Malay Archipelago are Asian has been the location of the colonial possessions of the various empires there. Lewis and Wigen assert, "The narrowing of'Southeast Asia' to its present boundaries was thus a gradual process." Geographical Asia is a cultural artifact of European conceptions of the world, beginning with the Ancient Greeks, being imposed onto other cultures, an imprecise concept causing endemic contention about what it means. Asia does not correspond to the cultural borders of its various types of constituents. From the time of Herodotus a minority of geographers have rejected the three-continent system on the grounds that there is no substantial physical separation between
The Tundzha is a river in Bulgaria and Turkey and the most significant tributary of the Maritsa, emptying into it on Turkish territory near Edirne. The river takes its source from the central parts of Stara Planina north of Kalofer, it flows east and makes a sharp turn to the south before Yambol, in which direction it flows until it reaches the Maritsa; the Tundzha's length is about 365 km. It has about 50 tributaries, the more important of which Mochuritsa and Sinapovska. Towns on the banks of the river include Kalofer and Elhovo. Tundzha Glacier on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Tundzha River. Pictures of Tundzha River in Yambol: Pictures of Tundzha River near Elhovo
Edirne known as Adrianople, is a city in the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne in the region of East Thrace, close to Turkey's borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the third capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1369 to 1453, before Constantinople became the empire's fourth and final capital between 1453 and 1922; the city's estimated population in 2014 was 165,979. The city was founded as Hadrianopolis, named after the Roman emperor Hadrian; this name is still used in the modern Greek language. The Turkish name Edirne derives from the Greek name; the name Adrianople was used in English until the Turkish adoption of the Latin alphabet in 1928 made Edirne the internationally recognized name. Bulgarian: Одрин, Albanian: Edrenë, Macedonian: Одрин / Eдрене, Slovene: Odrin and Serbian: Једрене / Jedrene are adapted forms of the name Hadrianopolis or of its Turkish version; the area around Edirne has been the site of numerous major battles and sieges, from the days of the ancient Greeks.
The vagaries of the border region between Asia and Europe gives rise to Edirne's historic claim to be the most contested spot on the globe. In Greek mythology, son of king Agamemnon, built this city as Orestias, at the confluence of the Tonsus and the Ardiscus with the Hebrus; the city was founded eponymously by the Roman Emperor Hadrian on the site of a previous Thracian settlement known as Uskadama, Uskodama or Uscudama. It was the capital of the Bessi, or of the Odrysians. Hadrian developed it, adorned it with monuments, changed its name to Hadrianopolis, made it the capital of the Roman province of Thrace. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 323, Emperor Valens was killed by the Goths in 378 during the Battle of Adrianople. In 813, the city was temporarily seized by Khan Krum of Bulgaria who moved its inhabitants to the Bulgarian lands north of the Danube. During the existence of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, the Crusaders were decisively defeated by the Bulgarian Emperor Kaloyan in the Battle of Adrianople.
In 1206 Adrianople and its territory was given to the Byzantine aristocrat Theodore Branas as a hereditary fief by the Latin regime. Theodore Komnenos, Despot of Epirus, took possession of it in 1227, but three years was defeated at Klokotnitsa by Emperor Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria. In 1361, the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Murad. Murad captured Adrianople in 1369; the city became "Edirne". Murad moved the Ottoman capital to Edirne. Mehmed the Conqueror was born in Edirne, where he fell under the influence of some Hurufis dismissed by Taş Köprü Zade in the Şakaiki Numaniye as "Certain accursed ones of no significance", who were burnt as heretics by a certain Mahmud Pasha; the city remained the Ottoman capital for 84 years until 1453, when Mehmed II took Constantinople and moved the capital there. Edirne is famed for its many mosques, domes and palaces from the Ottoman period. Under Ottoman rule, Edirne was the principal city of the administrative unit, the eponymous Eyalet of Edirne, after land reforms in 1867, the Vilayet of Edirne.
Sultan Mehmed IV left the palace in Constantinople and died in Edirne in 1693. During his exile in the Ottoman Empire, the Swedish king Charles XII stayed in the city during most of 1713. Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, lived in Edirne from 1863 to 1868, he was exiled there by the Ottoman Empire before being banished further to the Ottoman penal colony in Akka. He referred to Edirne in his writings as the "Land of Mystery". Edirne was a sanjak centre during the Ottoman period and was bound to, the Rumeli Eyalet and Silistre Eyalet before becoming a provincial capital of the Eyalet of Edirne at the beginning of the 19th century. Edirne was occupied by imperial Russian troops in 1829 during the Greek War of Independence and in 1878 during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878; the city suffered a fire in 1905. In 1905 it had about 80,000 inhabitants, of. Edirne was a vital fortress defending Ottoman Constantinople and Eastern Thrace during the Balkan Wars of 1912–13, it was occupied by the Bulgarians in 1913, following the Siege of Adrianople.
The Great Powers–Britain, Italy and Russia–forced the Ottoman Empire to cede Edirne to Bulgaria at the end of First Balkan War, which created a political scandal in the Ottoman government in Istanbul, leading to the 1913 Ottoman coup d'état. Although it was victorious in the coup, the Committee of Union and Progress was unable to keep Edirne, but under Enver Pasha, it was retaken from the Bulgarians soon after the Second Balkan War began, it was occupied by the Greeks between the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 and their defeat at the end of the Greco-Turkish War known as the Western Front of the larger Turkish War of Independence, in 1922. According to the 2007 census, Edirne Province had a population of 382,222 inhabitants; the city is a commercial centre for woven textiles, silks and agricultural products
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Alexandroupoli or Alexandroupolis is a city in Greece and the capital of the Evros regional unit in East Macedonia and Thrace. It is an important port and commercial center of northeastern Greece. Alexandroupoli is one of the newest cities in Greece, as it was only a fishing village until the late 19th century. However, the modern city is located at the site of ancient Sale, a Greek city of the classical era founded by colonists from the island of Samothrace, mentioned by Herodotus. Alexandroupoli benefits from its position at the centre of land and sea routes connecting Greece with Turkey. Landmarks in Alexandroupoli include the city's lighthouse in the port, the archaeological sites of the Mesimvria Zone and Maroneia stretching out to the small port of Agios Charalambos, the city's waterfront, the nearby Evros Delta; the municipality of Alexandroupolis was created in 2011 by the merger of the following 3 former municipalities, that became municipal units: Alexandroupolis Feres TraianoupoliThe municipality has an area of 1,216.954 km2, the municipal unit 642.245 km2.
The municipal unit Alexandroupoli is subdivided into the following communities: Alexandroupoli Aisymi Avas Kirki Makri Sykorrachi The province of Alexandroupoli was one of the provinces of the Evros Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipality Alexandroupoli, except the villages Peplos and Trifylli, it was abolished in 2006. The modern city of Alexandroupoli was founded as a small fishing village in the early 19th century by fishermen from the villages of Makri and Maroneia and it became known as Dedeağaç. According to the legend, the name was based on a wise old Turkish man or dede who spent much of his time in the shade of a local tree and was buried beside it. In 1920, King Alexander I of Greece visited the city, the local authorities decided to rename the city Alexandroupoli in his honor, a request, approved by central Greek government. Alexandroupoli is about 14.5 km west of the delta of the river Evros, 40 km from the border with Turkey, 346 km from Thessaloniki on the newly constructed Egnatia highway, 750 km from Athens.
Around the city one finds small fishing villages like Makri and Dikella to the west, suburban Maistros, Antheia, Nipsa, Loutra to the east, while north of the city are the closing Palagia, Avantas and Kirkas. At the 2001 census, the main city had a population of 48,885 and the municipal unit had a population of 52,720; the current metropolitan population is estimated at around 70,000 inhabitants, its area covers the southern portion of the regional unit, running from the Rhodope regional unit to the Evros Delta. Besides Alexandroúpolis, its other largest settlements are the villages of Mákri, Ávas, Sykorráchi, Aisými, Díkella; the settlement's history goes back to the 19th century, when the area was part of the Ottoman Empire. Long used as a landing ground for fishermen from the coast of Samothrace opposite, a hamlet developed in the area during the construction of a railway line connecting Constantinople to the major cities of Macedonia from Kuleliburgaz; the work was part of an effort to modernise the Empire, was assigned to engineers from Austria-Hungary.
The settlement soon grew into a fishing village known as Dedeağaç. In 1873 it was made the chief town of a Kaza, to which it gave its name, a Kaymakam was appointed to it. In 1884 it was raised in administrative rank from a Kaza to a Sanjak, the governor became a Mutasarrıf. In 1889 the Greek archbishopric of Aenus was transferred to Dedeağaç. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Dedeağaç was part of the Adrianople Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. Dedeağaç was captured by the Russians during the Russo-Turkish War, Russian forces settled in the village; the officers in charge saw that reconstruction incorporated wide streets running parallel to each other, allowing the quick advance of troops, avoided cul-de-sacs. This was unlike the narrow alleys, cobbled streets, dead-ends that were characteristic of Ottoman cities at the time; the city returned to Ottoman control by the end of the war, but the brief Russian presence had a lasting effect on the design of Alexandroúpoli's streets. The building of a railway station in Dedeağaç led to the development of the village into a town, a minor trade centre by the end of the century.
The town became the seat of a Pasha as the capital of a sanjak. Ottoman control of the town would last until the Balkan Wars. On 8 November 1912, Dedeağaç and its station was captured by Bulgarian forces with the assistance of the Hellenic Navy. Bulgaria and Greece were opponents in the Second Balkan War. Dedeağaç was captured by Greek forces on 11 July 1913; the Treaty of Bucharest however, determined that Dedeağaç would be returned to Bulgaria along with the rest of Western Thrace. In September 1913 after the end of the Second Balkan War about 12 000 Bulgarian refugees took temporary asylum at the outskirts of the city, they were from 17 different villages all over the Western Thrace fleeing ethnic cleansing. The defeat of Bulgaria by the Allies in World War I (1914–1