Orestiada (Greek: Ορεστιάδα, formerly Ὀρεστιάς, Orestiás) is the northeasternmost and northernmost city of Greece and the second largest city of the Evros regional unit of Thrace. The population is around 25,000.
Orestiada lies in the plain of the river Evros, at 40 meters above sea level. Orestiada is only 6 km west of the banks of the Evros, which forms a natural border between Greece and Turkey. Orestiada is located 17 km north of Didymoteicho, 19 km south of Edirne, 28 km southeast of the Greek-Turkish-Bulgarian tripoint, 40 km southeast of Svilengrad, 91 km northeast of Alexandroupoli, and 212 km west of Istanbul. The Greek National Road 51/E85 passes 1 km to the west of Orestiada. Orestiada also has a train station on the Thessaloniki–Svilengrad railway.
Orestiada is relatively recent city by Greek standards, less than 100 years old. In ancient times, there was a small settlement on this site which legends claim was founded by Orestes, the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. Ancient Orestiada was located in present day Turkey, across the river from the town of Kastanies, and the site remains undeveloped. Nea Orestias or New Orestiada was founded in 1922 when the population exchange occurred between Turkey and Greece, in which the Evros River became the new border between the two countries. Because it is a relatively recent city, it is laid out on a grid plan, unlike most Greek cities.
Orestiada has a Medical Center, a Philharmonic and a Choir as well as a sugar factory, outside the city which processes locally grown sugar beets. Asparagus, potatoes, tobacco, watermelons and corn are also grown. As well, a cattle breeding fund gives commercial impetus to the city and the whole area which is in such an economically strategic location in Europe.
It is also the site of the Fylakio detention center for illegal immigrants. In November 2010, the European Union sent Frontex forces to Orestiada to help Greek police patrol the local section of the border with Turkey. Some 31,400 people crossed just that portion of the border in the first nine months of 2010.
In 1999, Orestiada became the fourth city to host university departments (faculties) of the Democritus University of Thrace. The faculties based in Orestiada are the Department of Rural Development and the Department of Forestry, Environmental Management and Natural Resources. Both faculties have a five year curriculum. More than 800 students live in the city.
The municipality Orestiada was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 4 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
The municipal unit Orestiada is subdivided into the following communities (constituent settlements in brackets):
The province of Orestiada (Greek: Επαρχία Ορεστιάδας) was one of the provinces of the Evros Prefecture. It had the same territory as the present municipality. It was abolished in 2006.
||municipal unit (Kapodistrias)
The population of the settlements within the municipal community of Orestiada at the 2011 census was:
- Orestiada 18,426
- Lepti 641
- Neos Pyrgos 943
- Palaia Sagini 15
- Sakkos 186
See also