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Via Egnatia; From Rome to Byzantium across the Balkans
Via Egnatia was, together with the Via Appia in Italy, the road between Rome and Byzantium, now Istanbul. It functioned for two millenia as a multi-purpose trans-Balkan highway, a real life artery for the region. It runs through Albania, Macedonia, Greek and Turkish Thrace. It corresponds with the Ottoman Sol Kol. The best maintained -and still used- parts of the road are in Albania.
The Via Egnatia Foundation (VEF) aims to revitalize ancient Via Egnatia as “a way to connect”.
So the Via Egnatia is more than just a hiking trail: it aims to use the path for a broader purpose: to connect people. The road as a way to exchange people, goods and ideas. In the end the road as a way to friendship and peace.
The VEF exists from 2007 onwards and now forms a network of hundreds of people in different countries. The board of the organization is now in Holland, but will soon be expanded to an international group.
For information see www.viaegnatiafoundation.eu
Some activities of the Via Egnatia Foundation:
- Networking and conferences to enhance cooperation between historians, archaeologists, social scientists and stakeholders
- Promotion and research journeys.
- The Via Egnatia Hiking and Heritage trail.
There are different theories about the exact route of the original Via Egnatia, but the locations of the main stations are known.
It is presumed that the Turkish part of the route corresponded with the Ottoman Sol Kol and went along Ipsala via Marmara to Tekirdag and then along the coast to Istanbul.
Recently a roman milestone has been found, that will provide more clues about the course of the original Via Egnatia.
The VEF is plotting an attractive trail for walkers from Ipsala to Istanbul. We will keep you informed!