Kavala, the prefectural capital, rises like an amphitheatre from the beautiful harbour up the sides of
the foothills of Mt. Symbolon. Though a modem commercial city, it has no dearth of features belonging to its colourful past. The spacious squares, contemporary buildings, and shopping centres on the west side of the city form a pleasant contrast to the traditional old houses, tiny gardens and flagged alleyways of the eastern side.
The harbour is particularly picturesque with its countless brightly coloured fishing boats moored along the waterfront overlooked by the old walls, the Byzantine castle and the Kamares – the aqueduct erected by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century.
A walk up to the Bazantine castle via Mehmet Ali’s house (18th century) takes you through the fascinating old district of the Panagia quarter. Of particular interest is the Imaret, an old building with 18 domes overlooking the harbor. A youth hostel in Turkish times the building has been sympathetically restored and is now a luxury hotel. Luckily a ‘Dotto Train’ leaves from the central square and will take you up through Panagia should you feel a little weary after all your exploring.
Not far from Kavala (17 km.), near the tobacco producing villages of Krinides and Filipi, you’ll find the ruins of the ancient Macedonian city of Filipi, named after its founder, Philip 11. Still visible on the site are the remains of two Early Christian basilicas, traces of the via Egnatia, the grand Roman forum and the acropolis. Pride of place is a magnificent ancient amphitheatre with superb acoustics which is still used today for outside performances in the summer.