Serros Seres - Encyclopedia




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SERES, Serros or Siros, chief town of a sanjak in the vilayet of Salonica, European Turkey, on Lake Takhino, a navigable expansion of the river Karasu or Struma (ancient Stryrnon), 43 m. by rail N.E. of Salonica. Pop. (1905) about 30,000, of whom about half are Bulgarians (one-third of them being Mussulmans), nearly one-fourth Greeks, about one-seventh Turks and the remainder Jews. Seres is built in a district so fertile as to bear among the Turks the name of Altin Ovassi, or Golden Plain, and so thickly studded with villages as to appear, when seen from the outliers of Rhodope on the north, like a great city with extensive gardens. It is the seat of a Greek archbishop and patriarch. It consists of the old town, Varosh, situated at the foot and on the slope of the hill crowned by the old castle, and of the new town built in the European fashion on the plain, and forming the commercial centre. The principal buildings are the Greek archiepiscopal palace, the Greek cathedral, restored since the great fire of 1879, by which it was robbed of its magnificent mosaics and woodwork, the Greek gymnasium and hospital (the former built of marble), the richly endowed Eski Jami mosque, and the ruins of the once no less flourishing Ahmed Pasha or Hagia Sophia mosque, whose revenues were formerly derived from the Crimea. On a hill above the town are the ruins of a fortress described in a Greek inscription as a "tower built by Helen in the mountainous region." Seres is the headquarters of the Turkish wool trade, and has also manufactures of cloth and carpets. There is a large trade in rice and cereals, and the other exports include tobacco and hides.

Seres is the ancient Seris, Sirae or Sirrhae, mentioned by Herodotus in connexion with Xerxes's retreat, and by Livy as the place where Aemilius Paulus received a deputation from Perseus. In the 14th century, when Stephen Dushan of Servia assumed the title emperor of Servia, he chose Sirrhae as his capital; and it remained in the hands of the Servians till its capture by Sultan Murad II. (1421-1451).

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