Regional Unit of Evros, as a constituent part of Haskovo-Evros bioregion, is located in the northeastern part of Greece and represents the country’s natural border with Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the east. It borders the geographical region of the Rhodopes to the west and the Thracian Sea to the south.
Regional Unit of Evros is one of the five units in the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Regional Unit of Evros includes 5 municipalities: Municipality of Alexandroupolis, Municipality of Orestiada, Municipality of Didymoteiho, Municipality of Soufli and Municipality of Samothrace. The seat of the Regional Unit of Evros is Alexandroupolis (72,750 inhabitants), which is the most important administrative, financial and commercial center of the region and at the same time the only port of Thrace.
Evros has a total area of 4,242 km2 and a population of 147,947 inhabitants, according to the 2011 census. It is the most remote regional unit of Greece, as Alexandroupolis (the capital) is 840 km from Athens, 340 km from Thessaloniki, 295 km from Istanbul and 60 km from Komotini, where the headquarters of Eastern Macedonia – Thrace is located.
The area of Regional Unit of Evros is a lowland area with only 10.3% mountainous areas, compared to the vast plains that occupy 62.4% of its total area, with arable land occupying 42.35% of the total area. Thus, Regional Unit of Evros ranks among the first regional units in Greece in terms of ratio of arable land to total area, which represents 5.38% of the total agricultural land in Greece. After agricultural lands, forest and other uncultivable lands predominate.
The main economic activities in Regional Unit of Evros are agriculture and livestock breeding. High-quality crops such as sunflower, wheat, cotton, sugar beet, corn and vegetables are grown in Evros. Sunflower cultivation covers more than a fifth of the total arable land in Evros. It is the dominant culture in the northern part of Regional Unit of Evros. It should be noted that about 50% of the sunflower cultivation areas in Greece are located in Evros. Fodder crop production is limited and consists mainly of lucerne.
Fodder crops are produced on about 10,600 hectares in Evros, which represents 7.2% of the total cultivated area. Tobacco and other technical crops are an important part of agriculture for the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Region. In Evros, 584 thousand decares are occupied with technical crops such as tobacco, cotton, sesame and sunflowers, sorghum, peanuts, etc. Vegetable crops (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, onion, tomato, etc.) occupy a small percentage of the total agricultural area, but represent the main perspective for the agricultural sector, as they are mainly market-oriented. In terms of livestock breeding, meat production levels are among the highest in the country.
The agricultural sector, despite its declining contribution to GDP and employment in recent years, retains a relatively high role in the regional economy.