Alexandroupolis is a modern city in Thrace and the capital of Evros, with a population, according to the 2001 census, approximately 50,000 people. It is built next to the sea and has a 35km coastline. One can get to Alexandroupolis by road, rail, air and sea .The drive is 810km from Athens, 310km from Thessaloniki, 43km from the Turkish border and 300km from Istanbul. By rail it’s connected with Thessaloniki, Athens, Istanbul and Orestiada.
Today, the city of Alexandroupolis is the site of ancient Shali, a city with a strong presence in the 5th century BC, according to the historian Herodotus. Shali was one of the cities of Samothrace Perea : Mesembria, Zone, Shali , Drys, Tempyra and Harakoma. Over the next centuries, the town was deserted and the place fell into obscurity until the mid-19th century. In 1850 the first settlements called Dede-Agats were created by fishermen from Ainos, Makri and Maroneia. In 1871 the railroad arrived in the small fishing village, an event that has marked its history and future. In 1878 the city fell into the hands of the Russians, after the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano which ended the Russian-Turkish War of 1876-1877. The engineers of the Russian army elaborated the city plan, according to which the town is built today. The city came under Bulgarian dominion in 1912-1920 and was incorporated into the Greek territory in 1920. Then it was renamed Naples, a name that did not last long, because during the visit of the Greek king Alexander it was named Alexandroupolis, a name that eventually lasted. With the population exchange that took place after the Asia Minor Catastrophe, Alexandroupolis accepted a large wave of refugees.
The port of Alexandroupolis is one of the gates of Northern Greece, along with the ports of Thessaloniki and Kavala for the movement of goods to and from the countries of Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
Today, Alexandroupolis is the only major port in Thrace, with substantial export traffic, and the most important transportation and commercial hub of the region. Today Alexandroupolis is the administrative, financial and transportation center of Thrace.
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE PORT
The railroad in 1871 turned the small settlement into a transit hub and a major port, an attraction for traders from all parts of the Ottoman Empire.
Manufactured by the French Company of the Ottoman Lighthouse in 1880, the lighthouse became a symbol of the city, covering the increased needs of the shipping traffic brought by the railroad.
In its original form the port had a small basin surface of 9200m. The windward SW pier was developed in a curve of length 210m and the leeward SE was 30m long, with an opening of about 30m for the entrance – exit of ships.
In 1931 the first construction study of windward breakwater for the harbor was conducted and in the period 1934-1935 the construction of the first part of the windward pier took place, which was 85m long and was extended 345m during the period 1938-1940.
By the Ministry of Public Works, in 1949, the port was included in the program for projects with credits of "Marshall Plan" and a series of projects began. In 1950-1951 an extension of the windward pier was constructed at 315m (bringing the total, from its origin, to 835m) and in 1951-1952 the reef portion of the lee breakwater 525m long. In 1953 the windward and leeward breakwater were fully completed, with the construction of the necessary works of upper structure and guard walls along their entire length.
During 1964-1971 there were successively constructed the platforms of the northern - coastal port area, including the platform in front of the Laboratory, the central pier of the port and the platform of Ichtyoskala.
In 1975-1976 the windward mole was expanded by 108m and during 1977-1980 by 97.50m.
During the period 1994-2001, by credits of the 2nd CSF, the major projects of phase A, B and C1 of the new port of Alexandroupolis were carried out and consequently, among other things, the windward pier was expanded by about 1200, a new leeward pier about 700m long was constructed, a new, modern wharf for the handling of containers of surface 130 acres is constructed and a second basin with a surface of 1100 acres was created.
Under the Third Community Support Framework a series of studies was conducted among which the "Study of Spatial Organization and Terrestrial Port Zone Equipment (Master Plan)», based on the prospects for the countries and areas provided to be served by the Port and with time limit in 2025 . Finally, the required credits for phase A of the dredging of the new harbor basin and navigation channel (at -12.00m and -12.50m respectively) were secured, a project that finally started in late 2007.