Xanthi, city of mysterious Pomaci


Have you ever heard of Pomaci ? Neither have I and I thought I knew it all.

They are muslim Bulgarians who live in Greece, in the Rodopi Mountains. They have mosks, women wear head scarves and men drink lots of coffee and smoke. I’m pretty much describing all Balkan people, except for the mosk part.

Fortunately, these muslims are quite peaceful and mind their own business. Although there are some complaints about how the Greek Government is treating them (freedom of speech issues, minority language issues), things are under control.

Xanthi has an old neighborhood and a new one. Of course, the old one draws people. The architecture is strange. SOmetimes it feels like a small French village. On some streets you could swear you’re in a traditional Macedonian village. And sometimes it feels like Istanbul.

A long time ago, the city was thriving, thanks to tobacco. Xanthi was a major player in the tobacco industry and even today you can see some tobacco fields.

We found a good private parking (very cheap compared to Thessaloniki) and started exploring. I found a nice place, with delicious looking food. Something like mici, but stuffed with cheese. Or maybe it was lard, but who cares. They were


so delicious. The people who worked there were a funny bunch. A Russian, a Turkish girl and a Greek man (maybe a Pomac ?)

We wandered through the winding streets until I felt I was exhausted and hungry and I spotted a pretty restaurant. It was hard to get in. There were many doors, all closed. In the end, we found the right door and stepped inside. It was almost empty. The interior was covered in wooden panels. The place was very quiet and gloomy.
There was no Menu in English and the waiter didn’t speak English. Not even proper Greek. I wanted

some fish and he called me to the counter and showed me the day’s catch. I chose some fresh looking small fish and let him decide what to do with them. I had it hunch they would be fried.

My wife received a cake first (translation error, perhaps ?) and then some mushrooms in cheese sauce. The Menu said it was mushroom cream. It was both. After a while, the waiter left the building and went up a street. We speculated where he went. The bathroom ? Perhaps to get some more fish ? To the mosk, for the evening prayer ? It was a mistery.

The cake was good, though.