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Greece Restores WWII Forts, Honoring Bravery of Greek Soldiers

Greece WWII forts
Rupel Fort, on the Greek-Bulgarian border, will get a facelift. Credit: Rupel Museum

Greece will honor the bravery of the Greek soldiers who battled against the overwhelming German invasion forces in WWII by highlighting two of the most famous forts along the Bulgarian border.

Municipal authorities of the towns of Serres and Drama joined forces to revamp the forts of Rupel in Serres and Lisse in Kato Nevrokopi Drama, which were part of the so-called Metaxas Line of defense.

Through a project, entitled “Development of historical tourism – The battle of the forts,” a total of 153,000 euros ($172,000) has been allocated to a program which also aims for more tourism promotion and development.

These two forts are still, to this day, symbols of the heroism and self-sacrifice of the Greek soldiers and officers who lost their lives during the furious clashes with the German troops as they invaded Greece in April 1941.

WWII forts in Greece heroically defended

Despite facing superior forces, the Greek defenders of the forts maintained their resistance. The forts were never occupied; they were only surrendered on April 11, 1941, after the capitulation of the Greek Army of Central Macedonia in Thessaloniki.

The valor of the outnumbered Greek soldiers who fought there was later praised by even the German generals.

Fortification infrastructures, fortress complexes with observatories and artillery and machine guns are located along the entire length of the Greek-Bulgarian border at a length of about 300 kilometers (186 miles).

Preserving history “an act of duty to future generations”

The main aims of the project are the promotion of the historical value of these emblematic fortifications for tourist development and the preservation of historical memory.

The program envisages — among other things — the creation of a network of routes that will conceptually unify the area in terms of its historical perspective.

A portal will also be created which would highlight the forts and the routes through 3-D digital representation. Local authorities also hope that the area could attract events, historical exhibitions and conferences related to the Second World War.

“More than eighty years after the Battle of the Fortresses of the Metaxa Line, in April 1941, the collective and historical memory remains unchanged but also invaluable. Preserving historical consciousness is an act of duty to future generations,” says Panagiotis Spyropoulos, the vice-governor of the Serres region.

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