The city was founded as Dedeagach.
According to the legend, the name was based on a wise old man or "dede" who spent much of his time in the shade of a local tree (in Turkish ağaç) and was eventually buried beside it.
Dedeagach remained the official name of the city until 1920 when it was renamed Alexandroupoli in honor of King Alexander of Greece .

The city is located 40km from the Turkish border (Ipsala) on the river Evros.