The Struma - today Strymonas - river of historical importance

The river Struma - today Strymonas - historical importance

In ancient times the Struma, as a significant river, formed the border between the regions Macedonia and Thrace, the original name of the river was Aioneios.

Because of this border function and the associated strategic importance, the area of the Struma has repeatedly led to warlike conflicts and battles that have taken place in history.

According to Greek mythology, a battle between Dionysus and the Edonians took place in the estuary of the river under their king Lycurgus. Greek mythology also includes the personified figure of the river god Strymon, one of the countless god figures of antiquity. Euadne, again according to mythology, was a daughter of the Thracian river god Strymon and Neaira. She later became the wife of the Argolic king Argos, to whom she bore four sons named Ekbasus, Peira, Epidauros, and Kriasos. The latter became the successor of his father.

In ancient Greece, the city of Amphipolis was built as a port of Eion at the mouth of the river into the Aegean Sea. During the Peloponnesian War the valley of Struma was near the mouth of the Aegean Sea, the battleground between Athens and Sparta (Battle of Amphipolis, 422 BC), which involved the conquest of the city of Amphipolis. In 356 BC, the Struma Valley was once again the scene of armed conflicts when the Macedonian King Philip II conquered Amphipolis for the Macedonian kingdom.

The battle of Kleidion in the context of a Byzantine-Bulgarian war took place on this river in 1014.

During the Balkan war, at the beginning of the 19th century, the Struma Valley was a battlefield of fighting and battles between local people and the Ottomans. After the division of the former provinces of the Ottoman Empire between Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece, the first Balkan war took place in 1912, a year later, in 1913, the territorial disputes arose, among other things, concerning Thrace's affiliation with Greece (or Bulgaria) the Balkan war between Bulgaria on the one hand and Greece, Serbia and Romania on the other took place.

In the course of the conflicts between Bulgaria and Greece, the Greek army was encircled in the Kresna Gorge of the Struma in 1913 and threatened a crushing defeat. Through the advance of Romanian troops into Sofia, the war of Bulgaria was lost despite this military success against the Greek army, which was sealed in the peace of Bucharest in 1913. In the First World War the lower reaches of the Struma from 1916 formed part of the so-called Salonikifront.

Starting from 1936, the surroundings of the Roupel Pass at the Strymonas Valley was expanded by the Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas as part of the so-called Metaxas line as a military barrier against a suspected attack from Bulgarian territory. A separate article will be published, in which we will also present the Museum of the Metaxa Line, which gives a deep insight view into the recent past.

Today, the river is used for canoe trips, which in the spring offers a further option of the outdoor activities next to hiking and biking in the valley. Starting point once more can be Agkistro.

Please read as well:

Pelicans at the Lake Kerkini in the Serres region

The wetlands at the Lake Kerkini in Serres

Kerkini Lake - reservoir on the way to Agkistro

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