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Subject: Gennadius Scholarius
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For other uses, see Serres (disambiguation).

View of the modern city of Serres from the Acropolis.
Seal of Serres
Coordinates 41°5′N 23°33′E / 41.083°N 23.550°E / 41.083; 23.550Coordinates: 41°5′N 23°33′E / 41.083°N 23.550°E / 41.083; 23.550

Country: Greece
Administrative region: Central Macedonia
Regional unit: Serres
Mayor: Petros Aggelidis
Population statistics (as of 2011)[1]
 - Population: 76,817
 - Area: 601.5 km2 (232 sq mi)
 - Density: 128 /km2 (331 /sq mi)
Municipal unit
 - Population: 61,025
 - Area: 253.0 km2 (98 sq mi)
 - Density: 241 /km2 (625 /sq mi)
 - Population: 59,376
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Elevation (center): 50 m (164 ft)
Postal code: 621 xx
Telephone: 2321
Auto: ΕΡx-xxxx

Sérres (Greek: Σέρρες, older form: Σέρραι, Sérrai) is a city in Macedonia, Greece. It is situated in a fertile plain at an elevation of about 70 metres (230 feet), some 24 kilometres (15 miles) northeast of the Strymon river and 69 km (43 mi) north-east of the Macedonian capital, Thessaloniki. The Vrontous and Menoikio mountains rise to the north and east of the city, respectively. The city is the capital of the regional unit of Serres and is situated at the eastern edge of Central Macedonia. Its municipal population was 76,817 in 2011.


The Greek historian Herodotus mentions the city as Siris (Σίρις) in the 5th century BC. Theopompus refers to the city as Sirra (Σίρρα). Later, it is mentioned as Sirae, in the plural, by the Roman historian Livy. Since then the name of the city has remained plural and by the 5th century AD it was already in the contemporary form as Serrae (Σέρραι). It is known as Ser in both Macedonian Slavic and Serbian, while in Bulgarian it is known as Syar (Сяр) or Ser (Сер), which can be deduced from the spelling before 1947 as 'Сѣръ', thus capturing both the 'ya' and 'e' sounds. The Katharevousa form for the name of the city was Sérrai (Σέρραι). It was known as Serez or Siroz in Turkish. In the local Greek dialect, the city is known as "Ta Serras" (Tα Σέρρας), which is actually a corruption of the plural Accusative "Tas Serras" (Τάς Σέρρας) of the archaic form "Ai Serrai" (Αι Σέρραι).[2] Τhe oldest mention of this form is attested in a document of the Monastery of Docheiarion in Mount Athos from 1383, while there are many other such references in documents from the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.


The city is founded before the Trojan war [3] and is mentioned for the first time by Herodotus. After the Roman occupation was an important city of province of Macedonia and seat of a confederation of five cities ("Pentapolis").[4] At that period several habitants had received the "civitas Romana" and occupied higher provincial dignities.[5] Serres became the site of a major fortress built by the Byzantine Empire[6] to guard the empire's northern frontier and the strategic Rupel Pass into Bulgaria. It was seized by the Bulgarians in the 10th century. In 1196 in the battle of Serres the Byzantines were defeated by the Bulgarian Emperor Ivan Asen I. Nine years later in 1205 the Bulgarian Emperor Kaloyan defeated here an army of the Latin Empire and incorporated the town in the Bulgarian Empire. In 1256 it was captured by the Nicaean Empire. Serres fell to Serbia in the 1345 and became a capital of Stefan Dušan, the Serbian King. Dušan was so satisfied with the capture of the third major Byzantine city that he crowned himself Emperor of Serbs and Greeks. After his death his Empire fell into feudal anarchy and the Empress Consort Helena continued to govern Serres area from 1356. In 1365 she was ousted by Despot Jovan Uglješa Mrnjavčević, who forged a tiny but powerful mini-state in Serres. After the 1371 Battle of Maritsa, the Byzantines retook Serres under their control. Soon, however, in 1383 the Ottomans conquered it. Serres became a sanjak centre in the province of Rumelia between 1383-1826, and afterwards of Selanik Vilayeti between 1826-1912. In the aftermath of the battle of Lepanto in 1571, Turkish reprisals were directed at the Greek populations who had shown sympathy and had sporadically risen up across Greece. The metropolis of Serres was looted along with seven other churches, while land and land titles owned by the Monastery of St John the Baptist were confiscated.[7] At the end of the 18th century, Serres was a cotton producing area, exporting 50,000 balls of cotton to Germany, France, Venice and Livorno.[8] The metropolitan (Greek Orthodox bishop) Gabriel founded in 1735 the Greek School of Serres which he directed until 1745. The school was maintained by donations from wealthy Greek merchants, among them Ioannes Constas from Vienna with 10,800 florins and the banker and tragic leader of the Greek revolution in Macedonia Emmanuel Pappas, who donated 1,000 Turkish silver coins. Minas Minoides taught Philosophy and Grammar in 1815-19. The school operated also in the period of the Greek revolution under Argyrios Paparizou from Siatista.[9]

In the early 20th century, the city became a focus of anti-Ottoman unrest, which resulted in the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising of 1903. A Bulgarian army, which was commanded by Georgi Todorov captured Serres during the First Balkan War on November 6, 1912 but was forced to withdraw by Greek forces commanded by Constantine I during the Second Balkan War. The first to enter Seres was colonel Napoleon Sotilis head of the seventh regiment on July 11, 1913 (though the seventh regiment was not part of the Greek regular army, but was createded and trained by colonel Sotilis). It was reoccupied by Bulgaria in both the First World War and Second World War. In 1943, under German occupation its Jewish population was deported to the Treblinka death camp and exterminated. Since the war, Serres has benefited from government-led programmes to develop its economy with foreign capital.


The municipality Serres was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 6 former municipalities, that became municipal units:[10]


Serres is the capital of a primarily agricultural district and is an important trade centre for tobacco, grain, and livestock. Following the development of a government-sponsored manufacturing area in the late 20th century, it has also become a centre for the production of textiles and other manufactured items.


  • Serres Public Regional Theatre
  • Archaeological Museum of Serres
  • Serres Ecclesiastical Museum
  • Sarakatsani Folklore Museum


Probably the most well-known food from Serres is Bougatsa. Additionally, gyros and souvlaki are standard forms of Greek cuisine served in many restaurants and taverns. One delicacy that is truly unique to the region is akanes, which is a type of gourmet candy delight prepared according to a secret recipe since the beginning of the 20th century by the Roumbos family. Allegedly, Aristeidis Roumbos, the confectioner who invented this candy, disclosed the recipe to one of his loyal trainees, who then proceeded to establish a rival akanes business. Nevertheless, the Roumbos family, to this day, continues to produce this delight in their quaint workshop, which is reminiscent of life in the 1950s.


  • Katakonozi is one of the most prosperous neighborhoods of the city, and it is currently experiencing a real estate boom.


Year Municipal unit Municipality
1981 46,317 -
1991 49,830 -
2001 56,145 -
2011 61,025 76,240

Notable residents

Higher education

In the city of Serres there is the Technological Educational Institution (TEI) of Serres. It has more than 14.000 bachelor and master students, three faculties and even more departments. In autumn 2012 there operated (for first time) two master programmes in English (MBA, MSc) and in 2013 a third one was added (MSc). Website

There is also a Department of Physical Education and Sport Science of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki that operates in the city of Serres. Website (in Greek)

In addition, in the Vocational Training Institute (Website

Sporting teams

  • Website
  • Ofka Serres - Omilos Filon Klassikou Athlitismou) [5]

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Serres is twinned with:



  • "Sérrai." Encyclopædia Britannica, 2006.
  • "Sérrai, Siris, or Serres." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004.

External links

  • Information about Serres (English) (Greek)
  • Information about Serres by the Municipality of Serres (Greek)
  • Awarded "EDEN - European Destinations of Excellence" non traditional tourist destination 2010

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