Komotini, Greece

Mosynopolis , of which only ruins now remain in Greek Thrace, was a city in the Roman province of Rhodope, which was known until the 9th century as Maximianopolis. The city of Maximianopolis appears in written sources from the 4th century on. Its fortifications were renewed by Byzantine emperor Justinian I, and it was later a base for operations by Emperor Basil II in his wars against the Bulgarians.

In the 11th century, the city was the center of a district (bandon) in the theme of Boleron, and Anna Komnene reports in her Alexiad that there were many Manichaeans living in Mosynopolis in the late 11th/early 12th centuries. The town was captured in 1185 by the Normans, while the monk Ephrem says that the city was captured in 1190 by Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. The Battle of Messinopolis, in which the Bulgarians defeated Boniface I, Marquess of Montferrat, took place nearby in 1207, and was speedily followed by the destruction of Mosynopolis by Tsar Kaloyan of Bulgaria.

Bishops of Maximianopolis in Rhodope were present at the 5th and 6th-century ecumenical councils of Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), and Constantinople II (553) and in another council of 459. From the 7th to the 9th centuries, the see is referred to as archiepiscopal, giving it autocephalous status.



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Komotini, Greece
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Founded: 4th century AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece

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The Church of the Holy Cross

The church of the former Franciscan monastery was built probably between 1515 and 1520. It is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Rauma. The church stands by the small stream of Raumanjoki (Rauma river).

The exact age of the Church of the Holy Cross is unknown, but it was built to serve as the monastery church of the Rauma Franciscan Friary. The monastery had been established in the early 15th century and a wooden church was built on this location around the year 1420.

The Church of the Holy Cross served the monastery until 1538, when it was abandoned for a hundred years as the Franciscan friary was disbanded in the Swedish Reformation. The church was re-established as a Lutheran church in 1640, when the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire.

The choir of the two-aisle grey granite church features medieval murals and frescoes. The white steeple of the church was built in 1816 and has served as a landmark for seafarers.