Kavala – The multicultural tobacco center

Known as Neapolis in the ancient times and as Christoupolis in the Byzantine Era, Kavala was annexed to the lands of the Ottomans at the end of the 14th century. A site of major geographical, military, and commercial interest, the fortied settlement served as an

outpost of numerous lords and states.

Located on a junction of lands and seaways, it welcomed troops and saints. Cassius and Brutus legions landed there to take part in the battle of Philippi which marked the political and cultural face of Europe. Saint Paul arrived here on his rst European journey and moved on to Philippi to baptize there the rst person in Europe, Lydia and spread Christianity all to the whole world. Passing-by Byzantine troops and crusader’s armies also left their marks.

Its Ottoman name Kavala appeared in the middle of the 16th century and until the middle of the 18th century it remained a quiet place on the North Aegean coast.

The boom of the tobacco cultivation and trade transformed it in less than a century, into an internationalcommercial hub where numerous languages were spoken, and several Gods were worshipped.

Rows of huge tobacco warehouses, impressive mansions of tobacco traders and big neighbourhoods of tobacco workers are still to be seen in the current urban fabric.

Community institutions, labour movements and social unrest, labour unions and intercultural relations, present a rich panorama of the 19th and 20th century social history of the region. Muslims, Christians, and Jews sought their fortune in gold of the time, tobacco. National movements of the early 20th century abruptly changed its multi-cultural and multi-faith character. The new citizens swiftly

engaged into the tobacco business and retained its character until the late 1970s.

In the new circumstances of the global village, Kavala has the background and the conditions to thrive in the creative co-habitation of cultural, religious and ethnic trend.