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History of Drama

In the center of Drama, to the south of the park of Aghia Varvara, the prehistoric settlement of “Arkadiko” has been discovered. Since the middle of the 6th millennium B.C. Arkadiko was the first residential core of the town.
During the historic and ancient years, the region was still inhabited and it is believed that it was known as "Draviskos".
During the Middle-Byzantine years, Drama became prosperous and turned to a powerful castle of great strategic and trade importance. In the town center you can still see the ruins of the Byzantine fortifications (10th century A.C.).

After the Ottomans conquered Drama in 1383, the Muslim population of the town increased, whereas the Christian one decreased, as the Greeks left the town for the mountainous region. Aghia Sofia (10th century), a Byzantine church that was transformed to a mosque (Bey tzami) by the Turks provides evidence of these transformations. The heavy taxes, the maladministration of the “Agas” and the frequent raids resulted in the inhabitants feeling insecure and a deceleration of the agricultural economy growth until the beginning of the 18th century. 

However, the borders of the town extend outside the Byzantine walls to the Christian quarter of "Varosi" as well as other Muslim neighborhoods according to the Ottoman traveler Evliya Tselebi. Another significant monument of that period is the mosque "Ak Mehmet Aga Tzami", located at Dikastirion square near the Byzantine walls of the town. At the same time, the marketplace of the town was created around the old stream that flew across the town center at that time, between the Christian and the Muslim quarter.

Things changed radically after 1870 when tobacco growing and trade caused an increase of the population and of the commercial activities. Big tobacco trading houses establish branches in Drama, tobacco warehouses are built and new quarters are created, such as the one of Aghia Varvara. At this very location, where lies today the park bearing the same name, the visitor can admire the idyllic scenery of the town which has plenty of springs forming small lakes and waterfalls that used to move many watermills. Around the park one can see the still surviving tobacco warehouses of Anastasiadis (1876) and of Herman Spierer from Switzerland (1925) that demonstrate the economic prosperity of Drama in late 19th century.

Nowadays, Drama demonstrated high growth rates, as it is the administrative, financial and cultural center of the Prefecture. The concentration of activities favors the town’s development and its population is growing as new inhabitants of the region settle in the town of Drama.

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