The Rupel fortifications are not far from the Serres-Promahona national road which leads to the Greek-Bulgarian border. They are just a short distance from the border in a narrow gorge through which the River Strimonas flows. This place is of strategic importance for entry to Greek or Bulgarian territory and was fortified in 1914 when Fort Rupel was built there.
This fort became the most renowned in the whole of Greece, and not unjustifiably so. With World War I raging, the advance of the German and Bulgarian armies was stopped in front of this fort. On the eve of World War II a new line of defence was built to repel an invasion into Greece from Bulgaria. For three days the fort held out against German and Bulgarian attack and was only abandoned by its men after the surrender of the Greek army in Thessaloniki.
Today one of the fortification galleries is open to visitors, as is a small museum and the visitors’ pavilion. In the gallery visitors can see dioramas, life-sized models arranged in tableaux representing the Greek troops in the Battle of the Forts (the gunner, the doctor in his surgery treating a wounded soldier, the sergeant in the lieutenant’s office). In the museum, which is only open on the anniversary of the Battle of the Forts (6th-9th April) and in the pavilion, which is open throughout the year, the visitor can see firearms, uniforms, medals awarded for bravery, personal belongings and a map detailing the Battle of the Forts in 1941.
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