Kilkis (Greek: Κιλκίς) is a small provincial city in Central Macedonia, Greece. It had a population of 22,914 citizens according to the 2011 census. It is also the capital city of the prefecture (or nomos) of Kilkis and the capital of one of the two local provinces (or eparchia) of its prefecture.
The city was ruled by the Ottoman Empire before being taken by Bulgaria in the First Balkan War of 1912. In the Second Balkan War of 1913, the Greek army liberated the city after a three-day battle between June 19-June 21. Although costly, with over 5,000 casualties on the Greek side and 7,000 on the Bulgarian, the Greek victory proved a decisive step towards victory in the war. Kilkis was almost completely destroyed during the battle, its 7,000 Bulgarian inhabitants fled or were expelled to Bulgaria, settling, for the most part, in Sofia. The new town was built closer to the railway to Thessaloniki and was settled by Greeks expelled from Bulgaria and Asia Minor.
The significance of the Battle of Kilkis-Lahanas can be appreciated by the fact that Greece named a battleship after the city. However, Kilkis - formerly the USS Mississippi - was sunk by a German Junkers Ju 87 (Stuka) dive-bomber on April 23 1941, along with its sister-ship, in the third week of the invasion of Greece by Nazi Germany. The city of Kilkis came under Bulgarian occupation in 1943 when the Bulgarian zone of occupation was expanded to include the prefectures of Kilkis and Chalkidiki. The Bulgarians pursued a policy of "Bulgarianisation" with considerable brutality and intended to annex the region to Bulgaria, but were forbidden from doing so by their German allies, who feared destabilising Greece if the Bulgarians proceeded. The region became a major centre for partisan resistance activity before being liberated in 1944.
Famous inhabitants of Kilkis
- Dimitris Basis, Greek singer
- DAF, famous Greek entertainer
- Giorgos Floridis, Greek politician, ex minister
- Aristarchos Fountoukidis, footballer
- Kostas Kiltidis, Greek politician
- Dimitris Markos, footballer
- Toulis Mouratidis, footballer
- Leandros Symeonidis, footballer
- Savvas Tsitouridis, Greek politician, minister of agriculture