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THASOS is part of the Northern Aegean archipelago, and is the northernmost island of Greece.

It is a fertile and forested land of approximately 400 sq. kms (100 sq. miles), with a mountainous interior. The island’s vegetation and fine sandy beaches attract an international summer crowd – Greeks from the mainland, holiday travelers from Britain, Germany and Scandinavia, as well as eastern Europeans who arrive here by car from countries such as Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. Due to its close proximity to the mainland (approximately 10 km from the port city of Kavala), the first settlers of Thasos are believed to have come from present-day Macedonia. In the 7th century BC, when the island was inhabited by Phoenician settlers, marauders from the Cycladic island of Paros arrived to claim and colonize the island. The Greek-speaking conquerors, which had a powerful navy, extended the prosperity and power of the island, and founded the colonies of Parium and Datos (later called Philippi). Owing to its sizable deposits of gold (now depleted), ore and marble as well as an abundance of timber, Thasos prospered greatly under Parosian control through its trading with Asia Minor, Egypt and Italy, and it become the seat of a seafaring power, and a mighty city-state in its own right. In 492 BC Thasos surrendered to the Persians, led by Xerxes, who upon defeating the island, expropriated its navy and exhausted the resources of the island with the taxes he levied. After the Athenian led Greek city-states defeated the Persians, Thasos joined the Confederation of Delos, but, after losing a quarrel with Athens, Thasos was occupied by Athens and became its tributary, circa 465 BC. The island passed from Athenian to Spartan control and back to Athens, then it came under the possession of Macedonia followed by the Romans. The Venetians took Thasos in 1204, and it was given to the Dandolo family. In 1462 it was captured by Mohammed II and became part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1841 the Sultan Mahmoud II granted the tax collection revenues to Mehmet Ali, Khedive of Egypt, who introduced a garrison of Egyptians into the island. The Turks reoccupied it in 1908. The 20th century history of Thasos mirrors that of the rest of the eastern Aegean islands, with the turmoil of the Balkan and World Wars followed by Greece’s internal struggles after the Second World War.

The island boasts of many wonderful beaches, primarily on the south and east coasts, including long sandy stretches, well-served with tourist facilities, as well as secluded spots where you can escape the maddening crowds (on foot, by moped or water-taxi). The ever-popular beach resort sections have plenty of hotels, self-catering accommodations, bars, tavernas and water sports facilities. The forested interior is a nature lover’s paradise with mountain trails leading through some extraordinarily beautiful landscapes adorned with over 1,000 species of wildflowers.One of the best ways to see all that Thasos has to offer is by renting transportation, be it a car or motorbike. The entire coastline is serviced by a road which can be navigated handily within a day. The interior roads lead to picturesque mountain villages, where life hardly seems to have changed for many generations.

 

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