Xanthi hosts the School of Engineering of the Democritus University of Thrace, composed of the Departments of Civil Engineering. Electrical and Computer Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Architectural Engineering, and Production and Management Engineering.
A main attraction is the beautiful traditional houses of Old Xanthi which cluster on the hillside to the north of the modern town and below the Byzantine castle (sections of fortification visible), which was built to defend the city from Bulgar incursions.
There is a Folk Life Museum, a Museum of Natural History, and the Association for Letters and Fine Arts maintains a public library. The Cathedral has a collection of icons, manuscripts and church plates. On the higher slopes are some monastries, one of which, the Moni Megiston Taxiarchon, houses the Ecclesiastical College of Xanthi.
Byzantine Xanthea grew below the castle. A mere summer resort under the Turks, Xanthi has, since the coming of the railway, superseded Yenisea as the centre of the fine tobacco growing area. A brand of cigarettes (kiretsiler), obtainable only locally, is much prized. The lower town has been considerably rebuilt in recent years, but in the old city there are some delightful streets of old buildings with small shops, cafes, tavernas, etc.