In December and after having purchased a full frame camera, the Nikon D600 paired with the Nikon 16-35mm f/4, it came in my mind to start a project about a very famous spot of my city, named Kamares (Greek: “Καμάρες” – arches). Kamares is the last magnificent part of the great aqueduct construction that used to provide water to the old town of my city Kavala, from the opposite mountains about 6km to the north.
The medieval aqueduct for some time was considered to be of Byzantine origin. They believed that Andronicus II Palaeologus built it at first as a great wall that filled the gap between the hills and the inhabited peninsula in order to prevent the return of the mercenaries of the Catalan Company back to Thrace but it appears finally that is a much older building. It is now believed that it is of Roman origin and that was built from 1st to the 6th century to provide water to the small settlement of Neapolis. Neapolis used to be the seaport of ancient Philippi.
The aqueduct was restored and expanded to its current state during the Ottoman occupation of the territory. In the years around 1530, Ibrahim Pasha (a former Christian and greek-born in Parga, Epirus) the grand vizier of the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent undertook the task to revive the town and make it prosperous and wealthy again. He started by renovating the Kamares. The city had been renamed from Neapolis to Christoupolis in the 9th century (middle Byzantine era) and finally was destroyed by the Ottomans in 1391. Since then Christoupolis had been almost abandoned and most of its citizens fled to the surrounding mountains.
The new city that started its life almost 130 years after its destruction with the restoration of the medieval aqueduct was named at first New Skavala, a name taken from the settlement of the Old Skavala where greek-speaking refugees from Christoupolis had fled to find safety and the years that followed the word “new” and the consonant “s” were omitted to the current name of my city which is Kavala.
The past few years the aqueduct was extensively preserved by the 12th ephorate of Byzantine antiquities, a task that was completed resulting in a fantastic appearance of the monument.