The Aqueduct of Kavala – Kavala, Greece - Atlas Obscura

The Aqueduct of Kavala

Kavala, Greece

This ancient structure appears Roman, but was constructed during the 16th century and was utilized until 1911. 

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This structure is also known as Kamares (the Arches). In fact, there are 60 arches of four different dimensions located throughout the aqueduct. The maximum height of this ancient structure is around 82 feet (25 meters) tall and about 820 feet (250 meters) long.

Although the current structure originated during the 16th century at the height of the Ottoman Empire, the entire water supply system is of Roman origins. The megastructure was the final section of a water system designed to supply the peninsula.

The series of arches were constructed along the line of a Byzantine defensive wall that may have doubled as an aqueduct. If this was the case, then the aqueduct may also be a rare example of a Byzantine aqueduct. Although many Roman aqueducts still existed during the reign of the Byzantines, they preferred collecting water from wells and cisterns.   

The present design of the aqueduct is attributed to Suleiman the Magnificent, as he had the barrier walls removed and replaced with arches in 1530. Most of the planning for the project was carried out by Ibrahim Pasha, the sultan’s vizier.

The aqueduct was used until 1911, supplying the region with water from Mount Pangaeus. Finding the aqueduct is fairly easy, as the arches are visible from virtually anywhere near the harbor. 

Know Before You Go

Kavala has it's own airport, but it's worth checking if flights are cheaper to Alexandropoli. The difference is sometimes significant.


If you are traveling around the area, a fascinating route is Alexandroupoli to Samothraki by hydrofoil and then, after a period on the island, taking the slower ferry to Kavala. Not far from Kavala, at Keromoti, you can take a ferry to Thasos (very quick trip). You can go back to Alexandroupoli from Kavala by bus, but do not miss stopping off in Xanthi en route.

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Dr Alan P Newman
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