Via Egnatia Foundation
The Via Egnatia Foundation promotes cross border cooperation and contacts in the region of the Via Egnatia in the fields of culture, science, sustainable tourism and (peace) education.
You can help the VEF to achieve its goals in various ways.
Donations for the VEF and several projects it undertakes are welcome. But you can also help our cause by walking on Via Egnatia, join the band, etc. Read more...
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Via Egnatia on Foot. Guidebook Durrës - Thessaloniki
Is now available.
The Via Egnatia has been such a road par excellence, being the connection between the western and eastern part of the Roman Empire. Built in the 3rd century BC (under consul Egnatius) as an extension of the Via Appia, it runs through the Balkans from Durrës (Dyrrachium) in Albania, through FYRoMacedonia and Northern Greece all the way to Istanbul (Byzantium) in Turkey.
Originally a military road, it served economic and social functions for more than two millenia. After the decline of the Roman Empire the Byzantines used and protected the road. After them came the Ottomans, who send their taxcollectors and trade-karavans along its trail.
Used by soldiers and later by crusaders, preachers and bandits, merchants and peasants on their way to the local market, tax collectors, karavans with up to twohundred mules and donkeys, loaded with skins, wines, wood and sulphur, the road served local as well as interlocal purposes. Many different ethnic groups made use of the Via Egnatia, and met each other along its trails, in its karavan-serails: Greeks and Jews, Vlachs and Pomaks, Turks, Venetians, Egyptians and Roma. Also modern migrants travelled along it, for example the Evros-Greeks who left their country in the sixties and (many of them) came back in the last decade. So the Via Egnatia - with intervals due to political or geografical trouble - has been a real trans-Balkan highway.