is first mentioned as a bishopric in the 9th century. According to some scholars,
it was the city succeeding ancient Plotinopolis, which was defended by emperor
Justinian. It was recently discovered, however, that Didymoteichon was also protected
with a fortification wall dated to the period of Justinian. It seems then that
the name "Didymoteichon" ("twin walls" in Greek) was used for the two opposite
fortified cities, "the twin castles". The twin hills control the road that linked
Traianoupolis and Adrianople. The fortification is preserved in good condition,
without serious problems.
Didymoteichon was the birthplace of the emperor of the state of Nicaea,
John III Vatatzes (1222-1254) and of John V Palaiologos (1341-1347). It was here
that John VI Kantakouzenos was crowned emperor in 1341, and in 1713 the king of
Sweden Carl XII was imprisoned by the Turks.
The site was first investigated in 1970 but systematic excavations
started in 1985. Eight basements of Byzantine houses have been revealed, along
with one gateway, one tower, part of the wall and a section of the rampart. Also
excavated is the small church of St Catherine, of the Palaiologan period, and
a cemetery chapel (?) of the same date, outside the church of St Athanasios.
The fortification wall has been repaired and rebuilt at the inter-towers
sections (the crumbling parts of the walls were removed, and missing parts were
filled in). The area outside the walls has been modelled and cleared, and the
monument is lightened.
In the precinct of the Byzantine settlement are located the following
Small church of St Catherine Metropolitan
Church of St Athanasios
Church of Christ the Saviour
Church of St George Palaiokastrites
Small church of St Marina, near Erythropotamos