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"Thraki" redirects here. For ships named Thraki, see SS Thraki.

Western Thrace (Greek: [Δυτική] Θράκη, [Dytikí] Thráki, [ˈθraci]; Turkish: Batı Trakya; Bulgarian: Западна Тракия, Zapadna Trakiya or Беломорска Тракия, Belomorska Trakiya) is a geographic and historical region of Greece, located between the Nestos and Evros rivers in the northeast of the country. Together with the regions of Macedonia, Epirus and sometimes Thessaly, it is often referred to informally as northern Greece. It is also called Greek Thrace to distinguish it from Eastern Thrace, which lies east of the river Evros and forms the European part of Turkey, and the area to the north, in Bulgaria, known as Northern Thrace.

Inhabited since paleolithic times, it has been under the political, cultural and linguistic influence of the Greek world since the classical era; Greeks from the Aegean islands extensively colonized the region (especially the coastal part) and built prosperous cities such as Abdera (home of Democritus, the 5th-century philosopher who developed an atomic particle theory, and of Protagoras, a leading sophist) and Sale (near present-day Alexandroupoli). Under the Byzantine Empire, Western Thrace benefited from its position close to the imperial heartland and became a center of medieval Greek commerce and culture; later, under the Ottoman Empire, a number of Muslims settled there, marking the birth of the Muslim minority of Greece.

Topographically, Thrace alternates between mountain-enclosed basins of varying size and deeply cut river valleys. It is divided into the three regional units (former prefectures): Xanthi, Rhodope and Evros, which together with the Macedonian regional units of Drama, Kavala and Thasos form the East Macedonia and Thrace region.

The Fourth Army Corps of the Hellenic Army has its headquarters in Xanthi; in recent years, the region has attracted international media attention after becoming a key entering point for illegal immigrants trying to enter European Union territory; Greek security forces, working together with Frontex, are also extensively deployed in the Greek-Turkish border.


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