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A part of the town
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Red pog.svg
Location within the region
2011 Dimos Kilkis.png
Coordinates: 40°59′N22°52′E / 40.983°N 22.867°E / 40.983; 22.867 Coordinates: 40°59′N22°52′E / 40.983°N 22.867°E / 40.983; 22.867
Country Greece
Administrative region Central Macedonia
Regional unit Kilkis
  MayorDimitris Kyriakidis
  Municipality1,599.6 km2 (617.6 sq mi)
  Municipal unit319.8 km2 (123.5 sq mi)
280 m (920 ft)
 (2011) [1]
  Municipality density32/km2 (84/sq mi)
  Municipal unit
  Municipal unit density90/km2 (230/sq mi)
  Population24,274 (2011)
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
611 00
Area code(s) 23410
Vehicle registration NI, ΚΙ*

Kilkis (Greek : Κιλκίς) is a city in Central Macedonia, Greece. As of 2011 there were 22,914 people living in the city proper, 28,745 people living in the municipal unit, and 51,926 in the municipality of Kilkis. It is also the capital city of the regional unit of Kilkis.


The area of Kilkis, during the 20th century, became several times a war theatre; during the Macedonian Struggle, the Balkan Wars, WWI, WWII, the Greek Resistance and the Greek civil war.


Kilkis is located in a region that was multi-ethnic in the recent past and is known by several different names. The name of the city in Roman times was Callicum. In the early Byzantine times was called Kallikon, and was also known as Kalkis or Kilkis by the Greeks. In Bulgarian and Macedonian, it is known as Kukush (Кукуш). In a Greek church Codix of 1732 it is mentioned as Kilkisi (Κηλκήση)., [2] while in a Slavic church Codix from 1741 it is mentioned as Kukush or Kukosh (Кукуш, Кукоуш). [3] It was called Kılkış by the Ottomans.



Lake Doirani near the town Mouseio Limnes Doiranes Kilkis.jpg
Lake Doirani near the town

The municipality Kilkis was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 7 former municipalities, that became municipal units: [4]

The municipality has an area of 1,599.604 km2, the municipal unit 319.834 km2. [5]


The municipal unit Kilkis consists of the following communities (settlements):


The province of Kilkis (Greek : Επαρχία Κιλκίς) was one of the provinces of the Kilkis Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipality Kilkis, and the municipal unit Polykastro. [6] It was abolished in 2006.


Ancient age

The archaeological site of Evropos Acropole necropole atelier 02190.JPG
The archaeological site of Evropos
Exhibits at the Archaeological Museum of Kilkis Macedonian Museums-38-Arx Kilkis-162.jpg
Exhibits at the Archaeological Museum of Kilkis

Findings dating back to as early as the Bronze and Iron Age have been excavated in the vicinity of Kilkis, including ancient tombs of the 2nd millennium BC. In classical antiquity, the wider region of Kilkis was ruled by the kingdom of Macedon. At the time, Kilkis was in the center of a region called Krestonia. When Phillip II of Macedon visited Krestonia, the locals offered him olives from Krestonia valley, something that he had never eaten before. [7] At that time, many towns flourished in the region, such as Idomeni, Atalanti (Axioupoli nowadays), Gortynia (Gorgopi nowadays), Planitsa (Fyska nowadays), Terpillos, Klitae (Xylokeratia nowadays), Vragylos (Metalliko nowadays), Ioron (Palatiano nowadays), Chaetae (Tsaousitsa nowadays), Carabia (Limnotopos nowadays), Bairos (Kastro nowadays), Morrylos (Ano Apostoli nowadays), Doveros (Doirani nowadays), Evropos and Kallindria.

Roman and Byzantine era

In 148 BC, the Romans took over the area. In late antiquity the area of Kilkis saw invasions of different tribes, such as the Goths, the Huns, the Avars and the Slavs, some of whom gradually settled in the Balkan Peninsula.

In the Middle Ages, Kilkis changed hands several times between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. In the 10th century, it was sacked by the Bulgarians, and some of the inhabitants moved to Calabria, in southern Italy, where they founded the village of Gallicianò.[ citation needed ] During the reign of the Palaeologus dynasty, the region saw the completion of a number of important infrastructure works.

Ottoman rule

The period of prosperity ended in 1430, when Thessalonica and the entire region of Macedonia came under Ottoman rule. In the first half of the 18th century, Kukush (or Kukosh) was known as a village. [3] After 1850, there was one Greek church, "Panagia tou Kilkis" (Madonna of Kilkis), at the foot of Saint George hill and one Greek school. In 1840-1872 the Bulgarian enlighters Dimitar Miladinov, Andronik Yosifchev, Rayko Zhinzifov and Kuzman Shapkarev were teachers in the local school.

By the mid-19th century Kilkis was a primarily Bulgarian-populated town. [8] [9] According to one estimate, there were about 500 Greeks, 500 Turks and 4500 Bulgarians in the town [10] at the time. An 1873 Ottoman study concluded that the population of Kilkis consisted of 1,170 households of which there were 5,235 Bulgarian inhabitants, 155 Muslims and 40 Romani people. [11] A Vasil Kanchov study of 1900 counted 7,000 Bulgarian and 750 Turkish inhabitants in the town. [12] Another survey in 1905 established the presence of 9,712 Exarchists, 40 Patriarchists, 592 Uniate Christians and 16 Protestants. [13]

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Kilkis was part of the Salonica Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1893-1908, the Bulgarian inhabitants of the town participated in the activities of Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO). The leader of IMRO Gotse Delchev was born in Kilkis (Kukush in Bulgarian).

In 1904–1908, the Greek inhabitants of Kilkis participated in the Macedonian Struggle ("Greek armed struggle for Macedonia"). The leaders of Greek efforts were Georgios Samaras, Ioannis Doiranlis and Petros Koukidis with their armed corps. Evangelia Traianou-Tzoukou and Ekaterini Stampouli were the leaders for the Greek education and hospitalization of Macedonian fighters. [14] Great support to the Greek efforts was given by the Chatziapostolou family. The Chatziapostolou family owned a great farm in Metalliko, the field crop of which was almost completely given to fund the Greek efforts. The farm also served a shelter for the Macedonian fighters. [15]

Balkan Wars, WWI and later

Kilkis before the Second Balkan War. Kukush before the Second Balkan War.jpg
Kilkis before the Second Balkan War.
Lithography of the Battle of Kilkis (Second Balkan War), 1913. Battle of Kilkis1913.jpg
Lithography of the Battle of Kilkis (Second Balkan War), 1913.
British soldiers in Kilkis, WWI World War I - Saloniki Front - British Troops at Kilkis, Greece.jpg
British soldiers in Kilkis, WWI

During the First Balkan War of 1912, the Ottoman Empire was defeated by the Balkan League and forced to concede almost all of its European territories, leaving Kilkis within the new boundaries of Bulgaria. In the Second Balkan War of 1913, the Greek army captured the city from the Bulgarians after the three-day Battle of Kilkis-Lahanas between June 19 and June 21. The battle was costly, with over 8,652 casualties on the Greek side and 7,000 on the Bulgarian side. The significance of the Battle of Kilkis-Lahanas can be appreciated by the fact that Greece named a battleship after the city, the Kilkís . Kilkis was almost completely destroyed by the Greek Army after the battle [16] and virtually all of its 13,000 [17] pre-war Bulgarian inhabitants were expelled to Bulgaria. The new town was built closer to the railway tracks to Thessaloniki, around the Greek church of St. George, and was settled by Greeks who were expelled from the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, especially from Strumica; they built the Church of the Pentekaídeka Martýrōn ("15 Martyrs", named after the main Patriarchal church in Strumica). The resettled Greeks were so many that Kilkis was temporarily renamed Néa Stromnítsa (New Strumica). [18]

During WWI, the area of Kilkis was again inside the war zone, as part of the Macedonian front.

In the mid-1920s, after the Asia Minor Catastrophe, waves of refugees came to Kilkis, thus giving a new boost to the region and contributing to the increase of its population. Likewise, the Turks (a generic term for all Muslims, whether of Turkish, Albanian, Greek, or Bulgarian origin) of the region had to leave for the new Turkish state in the exchange of populations. In the aftermath of the Balkan Wars, World War I and the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) most of the Turkish and Bulgarian population of Kilkis emigrated, and many Greeks from Bulgaria and Turkey settled in the area, as prescribed by the Treaty of Lausanne. In fact, a very large segment of the population of Kilkis regional unit are in origin Caucasus Greeks (that is, Eastern Pontic Greeks) from the former Russian Imperial province of Kars Oblast in the South Caucasus. They left their homeland in the South Caucasus for Kilkis and other parts of Greek Macedonia, as well as southern Russia and Georgia, between 1919 and 1921, that is, between the main Greece-Turkey population exchange and Russia's cession of the Kars region back to Turkey as part of the Treaty of Brest Litovsk. By 1928, 1,679 refugee families containing 6,433 individuals had been resettled in Kilkis. [19] Barely two decades later, World War II broke out and the region was devastated once again.

World War II

War museum Macedonian Museums-56-Polemiko Kilkis-246.jpg
War museum

During the occupation of Greece by the Axis Powers in World War II, Kilkis was included in the German zone of occupation, but in 1943 it became part of Bulgarian zone, which was expanded to include the prefectures of Kilkis and Chalkidiki, after the Nazis allowed so. The most significant event during the occupation was the Battle of Kilkis which took place on 4 November 1944 between the communist-led EAM and a coalition of the collaborationist Security Battalions and nationalist resistance organizations.

Park of the town "Zoopazaro" park of Kilkis in fog.jpg
Park of the town


Kilkis is an industrialized town. ALUMIL, the largest non-ferrous metal industry in Greece, is based also in Kilkis.


Road Transport

Road to Polykastro Ethniki Odos Kilkis - Polykastrou.jpg
Road to Polykastro

Kilkis is accessible from the A1 motorway to the intersection of Polykastro and National Highway 65, which passes around the town, connecting it south with Egnatia Road and Highway 25, and north with the Doiranos Customs Office and Doiranos Customs. end of Highway 25, just 10 kilometers from the Promachonos Customs (Greece - Bulgaria border).

The Kilkis is served by KTEL Bus, which performs daily trips to/from Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities within Greece.

Rail Transport

Kilkis has a train station on the Thessaloniki-Alexandroupoli line, with daily services to Thessaloniki and Alexandroupoli.

Air Transport

Kilkis currently has not an airport, the nearest is the Thessaloniki Airport, 66 km away.

Sport teams

Kilkis hosts the football club Kilkisiakos F.C. with earlier presence in 2nd-tier division of Greek championship and the handball club G.A.S. Kilkis which has won a Greek cup.

Sport clubs based in Kilkis
Kilkisiakos F.C. 1961 Football Earlier presence in Beta Ethniki
G.A.S. Kilkis 1981 Handball Panhellenic title in Greek handball


See also

Related Research Articles

Balkan Wars Two wars on the Balkan Peninsula 1912–1913

The Balkan Wars consisted of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the First Balkan War. In the Second Balkan War, Bulgaria fought against all four original combatants of the first war along with facing a surprise attack from Romania from the north. The conflicts ended catastrophically for the Ottoman Empire, which lost the bulk of its territory in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not a combatant, became relatively weaker as a much enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples. The war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus served as a "prelude to the First World War".

Kilkis (regional unit) Regional unit in Central Macedonia, Greece

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Macedonia (Greece) Traditional region of Greece

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Axioupoli Place in Greece

Axioupoli, known until 1927 as Boymitsa, is a small town and a former municipality in the former Paionia Province of Kilkis regional unit, Greek Macedonia. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Paionia, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 284.406 km2. In 2011 the town had a population of 2,897, and the municipal unit 5,619.

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Goumenissa Place in Greece

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Doirani Place in Greece

Doirani is a town and former municipality in the Kilkis regional unit, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kilkis, of which it is a municipal unit. It is situated on the shores of Doiran Lake, which marks the border between Greece and North Macedonia. The municipal unit has an area of 81.213 km2. It had a population of 1,404 according to the 2011 census. It is the Greek part of the former municipality of Doyuran, which was divided in 1913 by the new borders created between Greece and what was then Serbia. The part at the other side of the border is called Dojran. The name comes from the ancient name Doviros.

Polykastro Place in Greece

Polykastro is a town and a former municipality in Kilkis regional unit of Central Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Paionia, of which it is a municipal unit, and the seat. The municipal unit has an area of 312.717 km2, the municipal unit 45.775 km2. The municipal unit of Polykastro has 12,000 inhabitants, and includes Polykastro and 23 villages. It is built near the Axios River, on the road and railway from Thessaloniki to Belgrade. It was formerly known as Karasuli (Turkish), Mavrosuli or Rugunovec.

Vaptistis is a village and a community in the municipality of Kilkis, Kilkis regional unit of Greece. In 2011 its population was 330 for the village, and 344 for the community, which includes the village Kyriakaiika. It is situated 9 km west of Kilkis, 17 km east of Polykastro and 42 km north of Thessaloniki. The village has a primary school, a high school, a stadium and three churches. The protector saint is St. John the Baptist, and the village is named after him. There are an athletic club "A.C. Doxa Vaptisti" and a cultural one "Politistikos Syllogos Vaptisti".

Metalliko, Kilkis Place in Greece

Metalliko is a settlement in the city of Kilkis, in northern Greece, located 6 km northwest of downtown Kilkis. In 2011 the settlement's population was 386. The village is named after a nearby spring of mineral water. Metalliko is 19 km south of Doirani, which is a border crossing into North Macedonia. Metalliko has a train station on the line from Thessaloniki to Serres and Alexandroupoli.

Idomeni Place in Greece

Idomeni or Eidomene is a small village in Greece, near the borders with the Republic of North Macedonia. The village is located in the municipality of Paeonia, Kilkis regional unit of Central Macedonia (Greece).

Michael Sionidis Macedonian revolutionary

Michael Sionidis was a Greek leader of makedonomachoi in the Macedonian Struggle.

Andon Kyoseto Bulgarian revolutionary

Andon Lazov Yanev, nicknamed Kyoseto, was a Bulgarian revolutionary and a freedom fighter of the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (IMARO). Although he identified as Bulgarian, according to the historiography in North Macedonia, he was an ethnic Macedonian.

Dimitrios Tsitsimis was a Greek chieftain of the Macedonian Struggle.

Georgios Karaiskakis (chieftain) Greek soldier

Georgios Karaiskakis was a Greek chieftain of the Macedonian Struggle.


  1. 1 2 "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
  2. Doumpia, Historical documents
  3. 1 2 Хилендарската кондика от 18 век. Представена от Божидар Райков, София 1998, с. 41, 43 (notes in the Codix of the Hilendar Monastery from 1741).
  4. Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (in Greek)
  5. "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2015.
  6. "Detailed census results 1991" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. (39 MB)(in Greek and French)
  7. ["N.G.L. Hammond, A History of Macedonia I" (1972)]
  8. A report from Koukoush, Journal Bulgarski knizhitsi, Constantinople, No. 10 May 1858, p. 19, A letter from a Russian official to Alexei N. Bekhmetev, Moscow, about the education of young Bulgarians at Moscow University, 22 August 1858, A petition from the Bulgarians in Koukoush to Pope Pius IX, 12 July 1859, British Diplomatic Documents concerning Bulgarian National Question, 1878-1893, Sofia 1993 (bilingual edition), p. 286
  9. Vacalopoulos, Apostolos. Modern history of Macedonia (1830–1912), Thessaloniki 1988, p. 61-62
  10. In Greek "Macedonia: 4.000 years of Greek Civilization" Sakellariou, 1990
  11. „Македония и Одринско. Статистика на населението от 1873 г." Macedonian Scientific Institute, Sofiya, 1995, pp. 160–161.
  12. Vasil Kanchov. „Macedonia. Ethnography and Statistics". Sofia, 1900, pages.164.
  13. Brancoff, D. M. "La Macédoine et sa Population Chrétienne". Paris, 1905, pp. 98–99.
  14. In Greek: Obscure Native Macedonian Fighters, published by Company of Macedonian Studies, 2008
  15. In Greek: "Christos Intos: Centres of Organization, Action and Resistance of the Greeks of Kilkis Prefecture during the Macedonian Struggle". Proceedings of Conclave "100 Years after Pavlos Melas' Death", Company of Macedonian Studies, Thessaloniki, 2004.
  16. Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars. Washington, D.C.: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 1914. pp. 97–99. When the Greek army entered Kukush it was still intact. It is today a heap of ruins — as a member of the Commission reports, after a visit to which the Greek authorities opposed several obstacles.
  17. Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars. Washington, D.C.: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 1914. p. 98. It was a prosperous town of 13,000 inhabitants, the center of a purely Bulgarian district and the seat of several flourishing schools.
  18. [in Greek: "Trapped...the Greeks of Skopje", Dimitrios Alexandrou, Erodios, Thessaloniki 2008]
  19. Κατάλογος των προσφυγικών συνοικισμών της Μακεδονίας σύμφωνα με τα στοιχεία της Επιτροπής Αποκαταστάσεως Προσφύγων (ΕΑΠ) έτος 1928 Archived 15 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine