Xanthi (Greek: Ξάνθη, Xánthi, [ˈksanθi]); is a city in Thrace, northeastern Greece. It is the capital of the Xanthi regional unit of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace.
Xanthi is known as "İskeçe" in Turkish and "Царево" (Tsarevo) in Bulgarian.
Known references to Xanthi (Ξάνθη), or Xanthia (Ξάνθεια), date back to 879 AD. It began as a small village and experienced all the tumultuous periods of the history of Thrace, such as raids, disasters, ethnic conflicts, civil wars. The population of the region of Xanthi had dwindled down to almost nothing and almost everything had been destroyed when the Ottomans conquered the region in 1361. For this reason, the Ottomans brought settlers from the depths of Asia Minor, which is how Genisea (Γενισέα) was created, whileOraio (Ωραίο) and Xanthi remained mainly Greek and Christian centres.
By 1715, Xanthi, as well as Genisea, became renowned for its tobacco quality. Many foreign sightseers traveled throughout the region and described both the life and struggles of the locals. Tobacco commerce throughout Europe led Xanthi into a course of prosperity. In March and April 1829 two earthquakes literally leveled the city, however played a decisive role in the further developments. The city's re-building immediately got underway. In 1870, the city of Genisea was burned down and thus all of the agencies and services were transferred to Xanthi which, at that time, had a population of about 10,000 inhabitants. In 1891, the railroad line was established near the city, while further economic development led to the founding of schools and associations.
Following the First Balkan War, Bulgaria took the city of Xanthi in 1912, but after a period of eight months it was taken by the Greek army. Shortly thereafter, as part of the accords concluding the Balkan Wars, Xanthi and Western Thrace were ceded to Bulgaria (where it was also called Скеча Skecha), and remained a part of the latter until the end of World War I. In 1913 the Greek army expelled or slaughtered all Bulgarians in the city and confiscated all their land and belongings. Following the Bulgarian defeat in this war, WesternThrace (Δυτική Θράκη), and thus Xanthi, became a part of Greece in 1919–1920. In the period 1941–1944 during World War II it was shortly occupied by Bulgaria after which was returned to Greece.
Nowadays Xanthi is a modern city, rich in history, traditions and customs, and with many attractions for the visitors (including the surrounding areas). It is worth visiting the city during the Carnival (Greek: Καρναβάλι) (either February or March as dates change) and during the Old Town Festival (Γιορτές Παλιάς Πόλης) (beginning of September). Also, one should not miss the Xanthi Bazaar (Παζάρι) every Saturday. Xanthi is known as "The city of the thousand colours".
The municipality Xanthi was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 2 former municipalities, that became municipal units: