Raidestos

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Raidestos (Turkish Tekirdağ) is a city in the Eastern Thrace and the capital of Tekirdağ Province. Its population as of 2000 was 107,082.

Its historical names include Rodosto (Ρωδόστο) or Rhaedestos (Ραιδεστός) and during the Byzantine era, it has also been called Bisanthi (Βισάνθη). During the Ottoman era, when it was called Tekfur Dağ, the city has traditionally been a part of the vilayet (province) of Edirne. Its current name, which means "yellow mountain", is based on the Turkish word tekfur (deriving from the Armenian tagovar -one who wears the crown-) which designates Christian sovereigns. The vernacular name had been modified into Tekirdağ in time, and this name has been officialized under the Turkish Republic.

It is situated on the coast of the Sea of Marmara, 135 km. W. of Istanbul. The picturesque bay of Tekirdağ is enclosed by the great promontory of the mountain which gives its name to the city, Tekir Dağı (ancient Combos), a spur about 2000 ft. in height from the hilly plateau to the north.

The ancient city of Rodosto is said to have been founded by Samians. In Xenophon’s Anabasis it is mentioned as in the kingdom of the Thracian prince Seuthes. Its restoration by Justinian I in the 6th century A.D. is chronicled by Procopius. In 813 and again in 1206 it was sacked by the Bulgarians, but it continued to appear as a place of considerable note in later Byzantine history.

In 1905, the city had a population of about 35,000, of whom half were Greeks who were exchanged with Turks living in Greece under the 1923 agreement for Exchange of Greek Orthodox and Muslim Populations between the two countries.

Raidestos was long a great depot for the produce of the Edirne province, but its trade suffered after the partition of Thrace when Alexandroupolis became the terminus of the railway up the river Evros.


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