La storia di questa città può essere svelata attraverso i nomi ad essa attribuita nel corso dei secoli, il primo nome che la storia ci tramanda è quello di Neo-porticus datato circa 300 AC, sebbene la città sembra essere stata fondata tra il 500 ed il 300 Avanti Cristo. Si racconta che Filippo II e suo figlio Alessandro Magno permisero che la città diventasse luogo di ricovero per coloro che lavoravano nelle miniere del monte Pangeo. I Romani occuparono la città intorno alo 168 AC, prima della battaglia di Filippi, nel 42 AC, la città fu base di Bruto e Cassio, dopo la loro sconfitta operata dalle truppe di Marco Antonio ed Ottaviano fu ribattezzata Città Nuova, Neapolis.
Aveva questo nome quando l’Apostolo Paolo vi approdò: fu il primo suolo europeo toccato dall’Apostolo ed ivi fu battezzata la prima donna europea, il suo nome era Lidia. Per questa ragione, durante la dominazione Bizantina fu ribattezzata “Christoupolis” e poi i Crociati richiameranno Christople. Divenuta una importante stazione di posta, cambia il suo nome in Cavallo. Il suo porto fu un importante centro commerciale, tale da attirare le attenzioni di vari popoli e per questo fu attaccata, per prenderne possesso, dai Goti, Unni, Normanni e Bulgari fino al XV secolo quando fu conquistata dai Turchi, in essa nacque il Sultano dell’Impero Ottomano Muhammad Ali, che fu a capo della Rivolta contadina degli Egiziani nel 1805. Fu teatro della guerra tra Turchia e Grecia e con la I guerra Mondiale fu occupata dalla Bulgaria, per poi cadere sotto l’occupazione Nazista nel 1941. Tornò finalmente alla Grecia nel 1944 con il nome di Kavala.
Liberamente tradotto dal sito:
Following the vision of the Macedonian man Paul received at Troas, he journeyed to Neapolis (by way of the island of Samothrace). Of the “abundance of Revelations” Paul had received, we are only privy to three in significant detail: the vision into Heaven with words he “could not utter”, the Macedonian man vision at Troas and the vision of the Risen Savior on the Damascus road. It may be that Luke joins Paul here at Neapolis, since the pronouns in the Book of Acts change from “them” to “we”, suggesting the writer’s personal presence in the events until Philippi. The two-day journey from Troas to Neapolis on the Second Mission Journey suggests the weather was good. The same journey took five days in less cooperative weather for the friends of Paul that were coming to see him in Troas from Philippi’s port, which is Neapolis. Set against the slopes of Mt. Simvolo, the city of Kavalla appears as a great amphitheatre surrounding a concave harbor. The streets of the city rise up from the harbor into the mountainside. Though a city of more than one hundred thousand people, the place has a village feel. An important trade route of antiquity, this city still enjoys the prosperity as the center of a lucrative tobacco trade, and is set along a major east – west traffic route less than two hundred kilometers (170) from Thessaloniki. In the Roman period, the city acted as a port for the important Roman garrison at Philippi about fifteen kilometers away. history of the region is thought by local archaeologists to extend back to the Neolithic period. Nearby emergency excavations have revealed traces of a string of tiny ancient villages that appeared in the Classical Period (500-336 BCE). The city of Kavalla’s history is best illustrated through a series of name changes over the centuries. The oldest village was established between 3000 BCE and 500 BCE as a natural seaport, though scholars are uncertain of its ancient name. After 300 BCE, the village was rebuilt and referred to as “Neo-Porticus” perhaps due to some large stoas built as warehouses at the port. At least one source suggests that Philip II and his son Alexander the Great allowed the city become an “asylum” home for those who worked the Mt. Pangeo gold mines. Roman control was extended to the city by 168 BCE. Before the Battle of Philippi in 42 BCE, the city was the station of Brutus and Casius. The primary purpose of the Roman city was to act as a port for the nearby garrison at Philippi, accessible only by a steep climb from the port over the western spur of Mt. Simvolo. After their defeat by Marc Antony and Octavian, the city was renamed “Neapolis” (new city) and held that name at the time of St.Paul’s visit. The Apostle Paul of Tarsus (originally Saul of Tarsus or Saint Paul the Apostle (c. 66) is considered by many Christians to be the most important disciple of Jesus, and next to Jesus the most important figure in the development of Christianity. Paul is recognized by landed at Neapoli (Kavala) on his first voyage to Europe, and in Byzantine times the city was renamed Christoupolis. Result of the message of Christianity taking hold in the region, the church grew in strength, and under the Byzantines the seat of the Bishop of Philippi was established there, with yet another name change to “Christopolis” (350 CE). References to the city throughout the period of Byzantine control refer to the city this way. Even the Crusaders (Franks) called the port “Christople”. With the rise of Ottoman control, the fourteenth century Ottomans renamed the port Cavallo, a vulgarization of Latin word “horse”, perhaps because of use in postal service of Ottoman postal system. Some have suggested the name originally came from the shape of the peninsula in the place of the Old City. By the sixteenth century, the city had an essential role, as the flow of postal information to the Balkan holdings of the Ottomans was dependent on the key cities of the route. Sultan Sulieman “the Magnificent” added stability to the city by providing the impressive aqueduct that carri Inside the walled village of the Cavallo of the Ottoman Empire Muhammad Ali (1769-1849) was born. Ali was the Egyptian ruler of peasant revolt of 1805. As a result of the revolt, Muhammad Ali eventually broke with the Ottomans and established the last dynasty on the Egyptian throne that ended with King Fuad in 1953 (with the rise of Nasser). Because of its position, the city bore the brunt of Greek – Turkish wars as the Ottoman Empire collapsed and the Balkans plunged into war at the time of the First World War. The town was occupied by Bulgarians, and eventually fell to German control by 1941. It was not until after World War II that the port was returned to Greece in late 1944. It now serves as the principal port for the export of tobacco, wheat, textiles and sugar beets. Its trading center is considered one of the most important for the continued strong economy of the Macedonia and Thrace regions. The city has several important churches that attract visitors: the Church of St. Paul (established 1928); and the Church of St. Nicholas (formerly a church of St. Paul), which was converted to mosque under Ottoman occupation. All the churches had the desire to recall the “initiation of Christendom in Europe” in Paul’s Second Mission Journey.Beyond the churches, other historical sites of interest include: the “Old Quarter” named Panayia, after the Virgin Mary Church that once stood in the district on the peninsula area in the east of city. The fortress is from the early Paleologian Byzantine revival 13th CE. The former “Imaret” is one of the largest Muslim buildings in Europe (Kowa, “Bistro!”). Other important Ottoman buildings include the “House of Muhammed Ali” and the Kameres Aqueduct, built by Sulieman.