The Pomaks of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace

mong the Islamic Greek populations that inhabit the Northern Rodopi Mountains in Eastern Thrace, is the Slavic speaking Muslim people called the Pomaks.

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The Pomaks of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace

Among the Islamic Greek populations that inhabit the Northern Rodopi Mountains in Eastern Thrace, is the Slavic speaking Muslim people called the Pomaks.

Pomaks live in Greece, Turkey and most live in Bulgaria. In Greece, many Pomaks are members of Alevi (Shia) Bektashis sufi order of Islam. The second most important Bektashi tekke (holy place) of the world is situated, near the Roussa Village nor far from Soufli and Didymoteichio, in the Evros Prefecture. The most important Bektashi is in Tirana, Albania. The tekke in Roussa is still in operation. It was founded in 1402 by Kizil-Deli and it is the local Bektashi Pomaks most profoundly venerated place of pilgrimage. Nowadays, about 30 000 Pomaks live in Greece, all of them in East-Macedonia Thrace Region, scattered in about 70 odd villages.

Xanthi Prefecture has the largest concentration of Pomaks. The town of Xanthi itself, some estimates state that about one fifth of the population are Pomaks.  However, it is to the north of the town that we come to the “Pomakochori”, which in Greek means the “Pomak Villages”. These villages are linked together by a new metaled road which runs parallel to a much older, indeed ancient cobbled road. The road is spectacular as it takes you deep into the Rhodope mountains. The road, new and old, span many mountain streams and rivers. The bridges are beautiful single arched structures. 


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