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Alexandroupoli is a city of Greece and the capital of the Evros Prefecture in Thrace. Alexandroupoli is about 14.5 km west of the Evros River delta, 40 km from the border with Turkey, 300 km from Thessaloniki via the newly constructed Egnatia Highway and 750 km from Athens.
From the beginning of last century the major powers of the period recognized the enormous strategic importance that it would have for the wider region and the northern neighbouring states by the construction of a large port in the region of Alexandroupoli. Naturally their main objective was the application of their geo-political strategy that was already based on the well-aimed strategic land planning and the creation of fast transportation with the railway and ports. The construction of the Port of Alexandroupoli began during the mid 19th century, after powerful and insistences efforts of company of French Railways. The lighthouse of Alexandroupoli was constructed by the French and became operational 1st June 1880.
The construction was judged urgent to cover of needs of railways, so that they used the timber from the ruins in the area. The international importance and use of the Port combined with its strategic position resulted in its continuous growth with the same intensity to the beginning of the 20 century.
The city's history only goes back to the 19th century. Long used as a landing point for fishermen from the coast of Samothraki opposite, the location was known as Dedeagatch, meaning ‘tree of the monk’. The name was based on a local tradition of a wise dervish having spent much of his time in the shade of a local tree and being eventually buried beside it.
A small settlement developed in the area during the construction of a railway line connecting Istanbul to the major cities of Macedonia. Dedeagatch was captured by the army of Imperial Russia during the last Russo–Turkish War of 1877-8 and Russian forces settled in the village. The officers in charge put some effort into urban planning with an emphasis on the design of wide streets, allowing the quick advance of troops. The streets run parallel to each other and cul-de-sacs were avoided as too confusing. This was very unlike the narrow alleys, cobbled streets and dead-ends that were characteristic of Ottoman cities at the time.