In we learn that when Paul and Timothy came to Troas “a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us…Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; and from thence to Philippi” (vv9-12).

Neapolis is located in Northern Greece in the region called Macedonia on the northern shores of the Aegean Sea and is known today as Kavala. It was founded in the seventh century BC by colonists from Thasos, a large island off the Greek coast, with the main purpose being to control the trade emerging from the gold-bearing activities in the mountain of Paggeio. Due to its privileged position and trading port, Neapolis did not go unnoticed by Athens itself, which was interested in the development of the city because of its important strategic location. While maintaining good relations with Athens, which at that time had great influence, Neapolis became financially independent and was given the right to print its own coins.

Neapolis blossomed in the fourth century BC under Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, but later lost its autonomy, becoming the main port of the neighbouring majestic Macedonian city of Philippi.

Under Roman rule, Neapolis continued to flourish as the seaport of Philippi and was one of the main stations on the Via Egnatia, the Roman road which connected Byzantium to the Adriatic Sea opposite Italy. Paul used this road to travel to Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessaloniki and Berea. It was convenient for the spread of the gospel that the Romans had made this road to allow easy travel, though it seems Paul did not go further down this road on this journey. Some sections of this road are still visible today.

The main fortified part of the city was built on a small peninsula which now has a Byzantine castle on it (built by Justinian), and the harbour is below. A prominent feature now is the aqueduct, which was built in Ottoman times to bring water to the castle on the peninsula.

Although Neapolis is mentioned only once in the Bible, it seems likely that Paul would have passed through it in Acts 20:1-2 and again when coming back from Greece in verse 6, where it says, “And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days”. Paul also mentions passing through Macedonia in 1 Corinthians 16:5: “Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia”.

On a more recent note, Kavala was occupied by the Bulgarians in 1941 and the next year anti-Jewish laws began to be enacted, Jewish property was confiscated and a number of Jews were conscripted into forced labour. In 1943, 1800 Jews were arrested and later deported to the Treblinka death camp in Poland. Today there are no Jews living in Kavala.