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With relatively few beaches and no blockbuster archaeological sites, Thrace (Thraki) draws few foreign tourists, and not many Greeks, either. What Thrace does have is dramatic natural scenery, from the lush delta of the Evros River to the deeply forested Rhodopi Mountains, and a unique mix of cultures, religions and languages, forged by centuries of various empires and migration flows.

In Thrace, modern national borders are abstractions laid over the stronger, deeper roots of the Pomak people, Slavic Muslims who live on both slopes of the mountains that now demarcate Greece and Bulgaria. The border between Greece and Turkey is likewise arbitrary, cutting down the middle of the vast Thracian plain, with its fertile fields of sunflowers, wheat and tobacco. In many villages, people speak Greek as a second language, and the skylines are studded with church domes and minarets alike.