NATURE – ENVIRONMENT

Rich biodiversity is the most important element of the region, with the Prespa National Park at its heart, which includes one of the 11 Greek wetlands of international importance because of its rare avian species and the great variety of species, many of which are endemic. The wetland of the lake Mikri Prespa with reed beds and wet meadows along its shores constitutes the National Park’s core of protection, while the second core includes the important forest of ancient cedars near mountain Devas and the settlement Psarades (at Ag. Georgios Chapel).

The flora and, mostly, the fauna of the region, which is mainly characterised by the diversity of its species, many of which are endangered and belong among the rare species, such as birds, as well as mammals, reptiles and amphibians, while there are also unique species worldwide, are elements that can attract visitors, friends of alternative forms of tourism and activities in nature, as well as visitors with scientific interest and observers.

The regions’ fauna shows great diversity of species, populations and bio-communities, as it provides food, shelter and water, meeting the needs of many animal species. The Forest is considered one of the most important habitats both in Greece, and abroad, with approximately 261 species of birds, 183 of which are considered important and 81 are protected by international conventions (EEA Directive 79/409/EEA). Among the species of the region threatened by extinction both the Dalmatian Pelican and the Great White Pelican are included, having at Prespa their largest breeding colony worldwide, including the Great Egret, the Golden Eagle, the White-tailed Eagle, the Great Cormorant, etc.

Furthermore, in the region approximately 46 species of mammals are found, among which some rare and threatened by extinction species, such as the Bear, the Woolf, the Otter, the Marten, the Badger and the Wildcat, 23 protected by international or European conventions and another 15 species protected by Greek legislation, as well as 11 species of amphibians and 22 species of reptiles. Finally, among the 23 species of fishes found at the lake Mikri Prespa belonging to 7 families and 2 hybrids, 7 of those are endemic and a total number of 8 species are considered important, such as the carp, Prespa barbel, Prespa bleak, Prespa roach, Prespa chub and Prespa nase.

The Forest’s flora includes 24 endemic and 31 non endemic species. There are also 36 species under the status of international protection Red Data IUEN (1982) and they are protected by similar legislation (P.D. 67/1981), as vulnerable, under threat of extinction, rare, under protection, species in relative abundance and protected species.

HISTORICAL MONUMENTS

Significant historical places of archaeological and cultural interest are the Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches and hermitages, dating from the late 10th to the 19th century AD, as well as archaeological places with findings of human habitation of the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Prehistoric – Classical – Hellenistic– Roman Period

Prehistoric settlement Oxia – Microlimni: the limited archaeological evidence refers to the existence of a fortifiedsettlementon a hillbetween the twovillages, from where fragmentsof handmadevases have been collected, dating back to the LateBronze AgeorEarlyIron Age.

Ancient Lyca: Limited excavation research that was carried out in the 60s at the south-western tip of the island of Ag. Achilleios brought to light the remains of a building of the Hellenistic period, in which a number of storage jars, pottery fragments and inscribed roof tiles were found. On inscribed marble columns located at various parts of the island “Lycaonians State” is stated, an element that proves the existence of an ancient city called Lyca.

In a more recent research the remains related to religious acts such as censers, traces of burning and silver tiles, elements possibly certifying the existence of a sanctuary. The discovery of seven coins with representations of Roman emperors and the inscription “Common Macedonians” dating the findings safely back to the 2nd century AD, while scattered architectural pieces are found throughout the island, such as Ionic columns and sculpted altars, fragments of pottery and marble statues, which is an indication of the founding of the city during the Hellenistic period, while it covered a great area, most of which is below the lake’s surface.

Early Christian – Byzantine – post-Byzantine Monuments

Island of Agios Achilleios

An island of unique beauty at the lake Mikri Prespa, which is connected to the mainland through a floating pedestrian bridge, which also offers a unique experience, since while crossing the lake visitors can observe rare birds and admire the magnificent view of the area around the lake. Visitors can wander around the island on foot, while throughout the island they can admire the extraordinary beauty of the natural landscape and many historical monuments. Indicatively some of these are:

Basilica of Ag. Achilleios is considered as the most imposing monument of the region, situated on the idyllic eastern side of the island with the same name. It was built after 983 or 986, by the Bulgarian Tsar Samuel, who had the seat of his kingdom at Prespa, aiming at keeping the relics of Saint Achilles, Bishop of Larissa and the bones of the Saints Oecumenius of Trikka and Riginos Diodorus of Scopelos, which had been transferred from Larissa by Bulgarian troops, after the conquest of the city of Thessaly.

It is a three-aisled, wooden-roofed basilica church with a narthex, while on the apse of its sanctuary the synthronus (joint throne, bishops’ seats) was located, above which at the sides of the trilobed window, the most ancient layer of frescoes of the church are preserved, 18 red painted arches, indicating the seats of bishops who belonged to the Archbishopric of Ohrid.

The church was founded as Episcopal, so that to house the seat of the Bulgarian Patriarchate for a short period of time, following its transfer from Edessa. After the restoration of Byzantine rule in the region, from 1018 onwards, the church was serving as Episcopal until the first decades of the 15th century. The relics from the representation of Archangel Michael, two soldiers, probably St. Dimitrios and Nestoras, as well as of other Saints, dating back to 1037 – 1056, which today are found at the Archaeological Museum of Florina.

The grave is located at the south part of the church, covered by an embossing plate, an artwork of the 11th century, in which it is assumed that the relics of Saint Achilles were kept, while at the elevated south nave of the church there are 4 sarcophagi of important personalities of the royal family of Samuel, and possibly one of them belongs to the Tsar of the Bulgarians himself.

The Kale of Agios Achilleios is located on the top of the hill with the same name, dominating the island, where remains of ellipsoid fortification are preserved, at the northeast tip of which there is a tower-like construction with a height of approximately 3 to 3.5 metres. Based on a written historical evidence of Ioannis Skylitzes, the castle is identical to Konstantion, of the emperor Vassilios B’, which was built after the suppression of the Bulgarian revolt by Samuel.

The church of Agios Dimitrios, the ruins of which are located at the west side of the hillock Kale, probably belonged originally to the type three-aisled basilica with a niche in the sanctuary, while newer additions were also made. In an apse discovered during the ‘50s, the representation of Melismos was preserved, dating back to the end of the 14th century, while at the church’s entrance an inscribed stone was found, on which “Lykeon Polis” is inscribed among other things.

 

The Church of the Twelve Apostles is situated a few metres from the present settlement of the island, where the remains of a small three-aisled vaulted basilica with a narthex are preserved fragmentarily. The exact dating of the building is difficult, since only a few elements are preserved, and it was probably build in the 11th or the 12th century.

The Church of Agios Georgios is a single-naved building situated at the path towards the basilica of Agios Achilleios at the east part of the island, with the frescoes at the niche of the sanctuary being its oldest preserved elements, based on certain considerations, of the end of the 14th or the 15th century. There are many votive inscriptions on the inside walls with names and dedications of the region’s inhabitants from the 16th century until the beginning of the 20th century, while in the church portable icons and sacred books of the 19th century are kept.

The Monastery of Panagia of Porfyra was situated at the southeast tip of the island Agios Achilleios, while today the single-naved small church that served as a catholic church is relatively well preserved. Moreover, some structural remains are visible from the cells and other ancillary rooms.

 

The Regional Unit of Kastoria is located at the west end of the Western Macedonia.It borders with E.E Florina, Grevena, Kozani and Ioannina, as well as with Albania on the west side.

The town of Kastoria unfolds amphitheatrically at an altitude of 620 meters.It is build on a peninsula that penetrates Orestiada lake and bellow the impressive massif mountains of Grammos and Vitsi.According to the latest general population census, of the Regional Unit ascended to 53,483 residents, while the city has 20,636 residents.

 It is a modern city that has retained its traditional character and several Byzantine architecture.It is built on the shores of Lake Orestiada , the hallmark of the city and is a real gem for the whole E.E.Because of its morphology is considered the most beautiful lake of Greece and has been declared “Monument of Natural Beauty”

The beautiful nature of Kastoria offered both for winter and for summer tourism. Each visitor has the opportunity to observe in first hand the pristine nature and the diverce ecosystem.Skiing in snowy mountains or trips in the dense forests, while in summer, the green mountains and the blue of the lake are the perfect scene for both relaxation and exploration.

 In Kastoria there are today important monuments of Byzantine culture, such as walls, the Byzantine churches and old mansions with Byzantine architecture.Kastoria is also famous for the delicious food at the many restaurants in town.Also visitors can obtain local and tradiitonal products from different shops of the city.

History of Kastoria

There are findings showing that the region has been inhabited even since the Neolithic era. The city has always been an important hub for Western Macedonia throughout time. Its strategic location vastly contributed to the cultural and economic development of the region.

The Roman historian, Titus Livius, says that in the 5th century BC, a city called Kilitron was lying at the current location of Kastoria, while in the 6th century BC, Prokopius from Caesarea mentions that there is a lake in Macedonia called Kastoria.

The broader region is identified with ancient Orestida, inhabited by the Orestes “Makednoi”, as Herodotus calls them. Orestida, despite the fewness of findings, seems to have been an important urban center with active participation in the developments and the artistic trends of the time. An important tomb relief found in Pentavryso, as well as other recent discoveries from the classical times (epitaphs, helmet, pottery) verify the fact that there are still a lot to learn about this period.

When the Roman State divided (396BC), the region became part of the Eastern Roman State and then, of the Byzantine Empire. Due to its strategic location, the city had many troubles and used to be, that time, the “apple of discord” for many. In 550 AC, Justinian renamed the city into Justinianoupoli and turned it into a powerful fortress, surrounding it with a double castle, residues of which have survived to date. From 927 to 969 AC, the city was occupied by the Bulgarians. Bulgarians have been expelled by the Petsenegi, with the support of the Byzantines. In 990 AC, the Bulgarian Tsar, Samuel, conquerred Kastoria during his raid in the Greek territory.

Kastoria was the region where the liberating Macedonian Struggle started (1904-1908). The fight against the Bulgarians was organized here, under the leadership of Pavlos Melas who died in 1904. His death raised the awareness of all Greeks, thus triggering new developments.

The house of the Macedonian fighter is in Melas village and it is now a museum exhibiting memorials of the Macedonian Struggle. The grave of Pavlos Melas and his wife Natalia is at the Church of Taxiarches, in Kastoria.

Customs and cultural events

The cheer and spree of the carnival of Kastoria are well known to all. Ragoutsaria, as the carnival is called, take place from the 6th to the 8th of January and it is the climax of the twelve-day festival. All people participate in the events as they surge in the streets to celebrate with dance, songs, teasing and plenty of wine.

The events climax on the third day, the so-called pateritsa (crutch), with the large parade of carnival groups in the central road of the city. The name Ragoutsaria derives from the Latin word rogatores, meaning beggars, since all carnivals ask the householders to give them gifts in order to chase bad spirits away.

 

A three-day carnival is also held in January in Argos Orestiko, Mavrochori and Lithia. Kollienta, the traditional carols, are sung the night of the Christmas Eve, by groups that go from door to door, holding hand lanterns and “masialades”.

Some other carnival customs that are still revived are boubounes, chaskaris and paliapoules. Boubounes are fires lighted at the city squares on Sunday. All attendants jump over the lighted coals “to throw down the fleas and send away the evil”.

 

Paliapoules is a similar custom, taking place in Argos Orestiko. In the houses, after dinner, they play chaskaris. They try to grasp with their mouth a boiled egg hanging from a thread held by the eldest member of the family.

Rodani is a hand-made wooden swing, with two or four seats, that is hanged from Fig Sunday to Low Sunday. Singing, music, dancing and teasing also accompany this Easter custom.

In summers, on July 24th, we have the celebration of Klidonas that coincides with the celebration of Saint John. Reviving this custom, boys bring a prickly branch that they decorate with fruits, while girls bring the “silent water” from the lake. The festival to celebrate Prophet Elijah, the patron saint of the furriers, takes place in July.

 The cultural events held, around the year, are “Orestia”, the interbalkan chorus festival in Argos Orestiko, the week of the emigrants from Kastoria, the Christopoulia and cultural August, while in the first weekend of August, we have the River Party, a music festival taking place at the banks of Aliakmonas river in Nestorio, which attracts numerous young people.

Among the most popular commercial events held in Kastoria are the fur exhibition in April and the trade fair in Argos Orestiko on the last weekend of September. In autumn, we have the tsipouro festival in Lithia, the bean festival in Lakkomata and the chestnut festival in Kastanofyto.

Information of Regional Unit of Grevena

The Regional Unit of Grevena is E.E of West Macedonia region with capital the homonym city of Grevena.Borderd by with the E.E of Ioannina to the west , and with E.E of Kastoria to the northwest , with EE of Kozani in the north, with E.E of Larissa in the southeast and E.E of Trikala south.The population of Grevena Regional section was 37,947 residents according to the 2001 general population census and the distance from the capital of Greece, Athens is 400km and from Thessaloniki is 163 km.It was th most underpopulated Regional Union of Greece during the 90’s.Much of the E.E it is mountainous area and is surrounded by mountains to the west Lygkos, Aliakmonas passes through E.E and namely from the central and northeastern part of the E.E. The local economy relies mainly of the agriculture.

The cultivation of wheat and pulses (mainly chickpea) occupies most of the cultvated land.The lamb breeding and animal husbandry is generally well developed.Equally important is the contribution of rulal tourism and ecotourism but also and the timber industry.The ski center of Vasilitsa gathers each year many visitors and is a spring of life for the local economy.

Mushroom Festival

To the end on the banks of river Venetian takes place tha 3-day National Day of Mushroom.Started in 2004 and continues until this day , organized by the club of muchroom friends in Western Macedonia and aims to exchange knowledge , experience and above all aquintances between friends of muchroom.In the place are operating a tavern , cafeteria , playground , workshop of fungus-knowledge , local products bazzar , exchibition etc.Visitors and campers can do horse riding , swimming , mud baths, canoeling along the river , mountain biking , climbing ,archery.They also can try mushrooms flavours , to see microscopic mushrooms workshop fungus-knowledge , attend in concerts.The night lights up a huge fire in the center of the event and performed a vigil with songs and dances in the light of stars.   

Custom of Pigjoy

Pig-Joy is one of the most important Christmas theme in many areas of Grevena.

On Christmas Day, celebrated in the village of Grevena (eg Amygdalies) the slaughtering of the pig.The families were wll nourished the pig get fatten and have a lot of meat.The slaughter and skining the animal was made by experienced people because the skin of the carcass should be kept smooth then can beused to manufacture “pig charouchi” (shoes) .The meat cut into pieces and boiled with leeks and spices used to make sausages.The fat (salted) they were melting and kepting in containers for the entire year.Many times put into the melted fat (grime) boiled meat pieces (kavourmas) and kept it until the summer.The head and legs of the pig used to make tripe soup.Now every year people gathered in the squares with wine , “crist-bread), music band of course plenty of meat and reviving the theme.The event is organized by the club “Filoproodeutikos”: The Holy Spirit”. 

 

Rougkoutsaria

The custom Rogkotsaria or Rougkotsaria , that revives the new year’s day has its roots in the era of the Turkish rule.The boys of the village dressed in women (boules) and ezvones (captains).Other customes that are prevalent are those of the priest (with robe and basil in hand) of rougotsari(painted black and wearing bells) and nurse.The captains bother with teasing the women , dancing , singing and visiting householders.The villagers offer their meat , sausages ,wine of which they cook and eat at night in the feast.

Andromana 

The traditional dance that takes place every year on the day of the feast of the life giving fountain,in the central square of Deskatis.The custom of “Andromana” is a unique cultural event in Greece , while variation occurs in a village in Spain. 

The custom composed of peculiar traditional songs and dances of Pashalia revives for many decades always this day.The “Andromana” began the ottoman era , which was the best way in which Deskatiotes passing messages of freedom and revolution on the allegorical meanings of the songs even in the presence of the Turks.

The custom begins with the “grandee” dance , which it set up in the central square of Deskati and consists of dancer groups of twenty people dancing in cirles, in slow motion songs ooday.f the region which are singing only today.Some of these songs refer to the years of slavery by the Turks , as the song “The Meadows”which are none other than Europe and the”great powers”, from which the “Mula”, Greece  waiting for her to break free of the “Kati” , the Turkey like the other “Mulan”, the countries that were already released.
At the end of the custom is dancing the “Andromana” , a dance that consists of men forming three floors , six in the first five in the seconnd-on the backs of the former and three on the top.
The human pyramid that formed , gives the opportunity to change the dance and rhythms of the songs , which from slow and sad turns into quick and cheerful.It is even and once sung the “Farewell good Pashalia and now and the next year” the song which becomes the “good luck of Pashalia”.   

The “Andromana” according to traiditon symbolizes the Virgin Mary , that although these days she collapsed in pain , retained within the bravery while in another version also symbolizes Spring who wrere born again all , as expected so the enslaved Greeks to redo for the Greece. 

Anakatwsaria 

The last weekend of the Carnival , in the main square of Grevena performeda three-day carnival a musical “party”.From 1990 until 1975 they had fun this weekend in the city by lighting huge bonfires.With the introduction of the institution of “Anokatosaria” in 2001 until today organized various musical events with content primarily Balkan sounds , originality , dark atmosphere, very melancholy and madness.It is not a carnival parade with dances but a musical journey , a powerful revival of tradition with new elements tailored in today.The visitor follows the music in the streets with brass bands , percussion groups , virtuoso musicians , pies and eating mushrooms and drkining until dawn.

Bazzars

Twice a year areconducted festivals and bazzars , of which the largest is conducted in the first ten days of June and is called “Achillis” from the name of the town patron protector St. Achileiou , in the district of “Day”. It lasts a week and has it roots in the famous from the ancient and Byzantine times , bazzar of Mavronorous .Relocated in Grevena the decade of 1840-1850.

In early October is the second Bazzar known as “Pazarouli” or “chiroporino Bazzar”. This is the rooted in “Koca Pazar” , which took place during the Turkish rule in village Ventzi (current center) to serve the Turks in the region.Relocated to Grevena in 1928 and is held every year in the same area.

Every year 16-19/8 in Karpero conducted a fairground , where shacks are set up by vendors and shopkeepers. 

At night on 23/4 in the cafes of Katakali a nice festival takes place under the accompaniment of folk orchestra.The same morning , after the liturgy in the homonym church , followed by dances and songs arround it..

Do not miss the feast of Agia Paraskeviin Trikokika and the festival of the Assumption in Trikokkia and Trifili.

Information of Regional Unit of Kozani

Kozani is the capital of the homonymous Regional Unity.Apart from the capital E.E and province is a unit of Region D.Macedonia, the appeal court, the Metropolis of Servia and Kozani, the Technological Educational Institute of Western Macedonia and also the Univercity of Western Macedonia, with lively and varied cultural and social events.It is built at an altitude of 720m at the foot of the beautiful Vermio and the south side facing the fertile valley Aliakmona.The climate is continental with cold winters, snow and warm summers.

The area is rich in lignite, chromite, asbestos and of various others.The location of the city is on a place that makes it a  transportation hub connecting Macedonia to Epirus and Thessalia.The construction of the new Egnatia reduced the distance to the large urban centers and facilitated access to visitors and invenstors.

In the Municipality of Kozani you can visit the city’s museums, the old Byzantine churches, the Koventareio Library with rare archival material, you can relax in beautiful countryside areas that abound in the Municipality, but also enjoy the delicious local recipes or do your purchases in the modern market.

The Municipality of Kozani and the hospitable residents, take care of the preservation of the rich local tradition but also for the development of the city through a modern infrastructure with a vision for the future, which will bring the city into a prosperous place and special functionality.

Historical and natural history museum

Permanent exhibitions

1. Natural History exhibition
The Natural History exhibition was firstly set up in 1979. It is exhibited in the Museum’s basement and it covers 350 sq. m. The psrticular exhibition represents nature in a small scale, presenting the evolution of life on earth. The exhibits cover the periods from 70,000,000 years B.C. until recent years. The exhibition aims to get contemporary people to know the world of nature, as well as to educate them through their visit to the department of Natural History. The exhibition aspires to cultivate an ecological conscience through the visitors’ contact with some endangered species. This way, contemporary city residents that have no direct experiences with nature are given the opportunity to get in touch with it.

2. Archaeological – Historical Exhibition
The Museum’s Archaeological and Byzantine Exhibition began to be created in 1969 in order to preserve the dispersed objects that could be found in every corner of the district. The exhibition was organized and has been in operation since 1987. It is exhibited on the 1st mezzanine of the museum and comprises objects from the early Neolithic Era (7000 B.C.) until the Byzantine Era (1453 A.D.). Its purpose is to help visitors form an archaeological conscience. Through the exhibition of the archaeological objects, the temporal course of culture in the area of the Western Macedonia is revealed. Furthermore, another aim is the protection and promotion of the area’s antiquities. 

On the 2nd floor, the historical department is housed. The exhibition is chronologically arranged and comprises, in sections, exhibits of the wars from the Turkish Domination Era until the modern times. This department constitutes a place of education – for the younger ones – and of acquaintance with the area’s historical course, contributing, this way, to the formation of a historical conscience.

3. Folklore Exhibition
The composition of the Folklore Exhibition started in 1969 when the Association was founded. It has been exhibited in the Museum since 1987 and it covers the 3rd to the 6th mezzanine. It is considered the most important exhibition in the Museum because it offers a complex and functional presentation of the traditional culture’s aspects by themes and sections.

The theme of the Folklore exhibition is the presentation of the occupational activities that have died out because of the industrialization, as well as the promotion of habits and customs of the local area, through the traditional, everyday and feast costumes and the musical instruments. Furthermore, on the last mezzanine, a complete view is offered of life at home from the Turkish Domination Era until the end of the 1950s. The visitors are introduced to the wealth and financial prosperity of the people from Kozani, which was the result of their commercial transactions with Central Europe and it led to the erection of manors, which do not exist any more. The particular exhibition helps the visitors go back to the traditional way of life, with their imagination, learn about the habits and customs and experience the magnificence of the older era for a while.

3. Art Gallery
The Art Gallery came to operation in 1997. It is housed on the ground floor and the staircase of the Museum’s new wing, which constitutes an extension of the Historical – Folklore Museum. The exhibition, which enriches the Museum’s historical department, presents the style of modern painters, portraying the country’s temporal course. It comprises works inspired by themes of mythology or modern history.
The hagiography department presents the Byzantine tradition as it was portrayed by the hagiographers who were influenced by the Palaeologean Art. Finally, the department of photography and architectural drawings shows the local architecture of Western Macedonia.

The Art Gallery helps the visitors go back to the historical past and broaden their art-loving horizons

5. Stamps Exhibition
The Stamps Exhibition is located in the new wing of the Historical – Folklore and Natural History Museum of Kozani.
The stamp is not just a mail companion or a collection item, but it is also a representative of its country that ‘speaks’ about everything that marked the past, experiences the present and lays the foundations for the future. This little traveller not only has vigour, but also provides abundance of knowledge. The permanent Stamps Exhibition attempts to promote the ideology of Philately, to acquaint the Museum’s visitors (particularly students) with the Greek Stamp and its history, as well as to help develop the relationship among philatelists.

6. Radio Exhibition
The Radio Exhibition started in 1997. It is housed on the last floor of the new wing. Its aim is to present the radio as a means of communication in its temporal course. At the same time, it attempts to show the technology of each era and its development. Today’s visitors who use radios of the latest technology can see the difference between these ones and the older ones, in terms of the technical characteristics and their aesthetic appearance. The particular department depicts the radio’s course of evolution, its operation mode, as well as its contribution as a means of communication.

Daily
Monday – Sunday
08.30 – 14.00 & 17.30 – 20.00

Archaeological Museum of Aiane

The Archaeological Museum of Aiane presents the history of ancient Aiane, capital of Elimiotis, one of the most important kingdoms of Upper Macedonia, and its region from prehistory to Roman times. The museum’s collections include important finds of the Late Bronze Age (fifteenth-twelfth centuries BC) and the of the Archaic and Classical periods (sixth-fifth centuries BC), which illustrate the formation of the Doric-Macedonian peoples in the region and the urban and political development of Aiane, which begins in the sixth century BC.The museum is housed in a two-storey building with a total surface area of 4,500 square metres. It comprises eight exhibition rooms (971 square metres), of which only two are open to the public (242 square metres), storerooms, offices, a library, a drawing studio, a multi-purpose exhibition/lecture hall, a guesthouse and conservation laboratories for metal and terracotta objects. From 1995 until October 2002, when the two permanent exhibition rooms opened, the multi-purpose hall housed a collection of icons, texts, maps and copies of antiquities.

The museum is overseen by the Seventeenth Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. Its collections add a new dimension to the history of Macedonia. Its purpose is to educate the uninitiated public and help visitors recognize these new elements and understand the latest scientific opinions. It also aims to contribute to the cultural life of the region with educational programs, lectures, conferences and temporary exhibitions. Since 1988, the museum has organised three educational programs for children and foreign students, three scientific workshops, dinners featuring ancient diet (1995, 1996, 2000) and outings on horseback along ancient routes connected with important historical events (1996, 1997, 2000, 2002). It also organized in collaboration with the Municipality of Aiane a road race, the so-called ‘Road of Apollodorus’, named after a runner from ancient Aiane. The museum has created five films on archaeological subjects and continues to inform, interest and involve the public in its activities (lectures, organized visits and photographic exhibits). This is to encourage the development of a historical and national self-consciousness, an environmental conscience and the connection between the natural and cultural environment, as well as self-esteem through cultural creation.

 War museum in Lazarades

Aided by the Community Initiative LEADER+, the final works in the interior of the building, where the museum is accommodated were carried out. Also, office equipment was bought and the surrounding space was reformed. The winning battle of Lazarades took place on October 9th 1912. The greek forces moved united against the enemy forces at the passes of Sarandaporo. Then, the forces retracted at the location of “Stena Portes” and Prosilio, forcing the turkish phalanx that moved towards Lazarades to emergently retreat.

The quick victory at those battles uplifted the morale of men and opened the gates for further onward march of the Greek Army and the deliverance of Western and Central Macedonia, after five centuries of slavery. A celebration takes place every year in Lazarades, in which all the administrative, military and ecclesiastic authorities participate.

The museum hosts a permanent exposition of photographs and a model of the historical battle of Lazarades.

 

Folklore museum in Velvento

The Folklore Museum in Velvento is housed at the renovated manor “Kostas” that dates back to the 19th century and is a Macedonian style manor. Through the guided tour, the visitor collects information about the area’s history, the residents’ everyday life, the objects they used, the traditional occupations, as well as the local costumes.

The Program LEADER+ contributed to the completion of the reformation works in the building’s interior, to the electrical equipment installation, as well as to the purchase of fixed and mobile furniture equipment.

Folklore museum in Servia

The Folklore Museum in Servia was founded in 1998 by the Educational Association of Servia “ta Kastra”, when Kosmas Savvilotidis was its president and inspirer of the museum. It is accommodated at the house of Dr.Aristedes Christakis, after his family’s kind donation. The goal of the museum’s foundation and operation is the preservation and maintenance of our heritage.

Today, the museum is just maintained. Very few new objects were added, due to lack of space. However, the last one and a half year, it is in constant operation with the support of the Municipality of Servia-Velvento. The museum attracts the area’s students, as well as local and other visitors.

The visitor through the projection of eight stories that take place in the houses of Velvento:

  1. Is informed about the area and its residents
  2. Is guided through the family living rooms, as well as the reception room
  3. Learns about the residents’ agricultural activities
  4. Is informed about the traditional costumes and the secrets of the loom.

 

Information of Regional unit of Florina

Florina is one of the Regional Units that form the Region of Western Macedonia.Determined north of the neighboring Skopje and west from neighboring Albania.The lake of Big Prespa is the meeting point of three countries, the tri-national. 

To the Greek mainland Florida borders with E.E Pella, Kozani and Kastoria.The Regional Unit consists of 8 municipalities: Aetos, Amyntaio, Kleines, Meliti, Perasmatos, Prespa, Philotas, Florina, and four communities Variko, Krystallopigi, Lechovou, Nymphaeum.Population 54.678 residents, 0,5% of the country population distributed in an urban center , the city of Florina(14,279 residents) a semiurban Amyntaio (3,636 residents) and a total of 88 communities , with populations ranging from one (Miliona of Prespa) to 1,821 residents (Filiotas). 

The land area of 1,924 square kilometers , with rich scenery , attitude of 650 meters, which reaches 2,254 meters at the top of Vora.Morphologicaly, the E.E it has mountainous, hilly and lowland character.The compact mountain massif of the northern-northwest section consists of the mountains Varmountas, Vernon and Voras , that their mountain massif end up in the fertile plains of Prespa.Six lakes , the scarce wetlands of Prespa in combination with the climate and the alternations in the landscape, make the area a challenge for the visitor.

The climate of the Regional Unit is affected by the geographical position and altitude of the area, combined with the large mountains and the presence of lakes in Prespes and Amyntaio region.The climate is purely continental, with cold winters, many snow and rainfall and an average annual temperature 1,5 ° C, although there is a perceptible difference between the three uplands of Amyntaio, Florina and Prespes.

The visitor can begin acquaintance with the city from the Archaelogical Museum, next to the railway station.In one of the most old buildings of the station is housed and operates the Gallery Florina painters, that maintain the Roof Art Lovers of Florina and where exposed samples of Florinian creators.From the street Jonn Artis, complete of buildings, we find Sakouleva, the river of Florina.The picture varies depending on the seasos.Other colors in the spring, other the autumn and different the winter.The hill of St.Panteleimon seems nearby.Moving by the visitor sees the building-represantive samples of the past architecture.On the left side of the river the 2nd Elementary school, home of Tegos Sapountzi(first mayor of the town in 1912),workshops of two florinian artists, the Museum of Modern Art, and the house of Vogiatzi where he made several scenes of the movie “The Beekeeper” the Theo Angelopoulos.To the right the workshop of the dear departed Sterika Koulis, the Cathedral, the 3rd High school and the Centre for the building of F.S.F.The “Aristotle”, the oldest active cultural association.Opposite and right of the Association still stands the three-storey house of “Peiou”, one of the oldest traditional urban mansions of the city.After that the Justice square with tidy public buildings, the derelict old prison and the Turkish bath(hamam).The riparian waik except from the contrast images that gives, leads to the old Agricultural School, the current T.E.I.and St.Nikolaos.The return can be done from the main road, Alexander the Great where are the 4th Primary school (Former Pedalogical Academy), the courts, the old Prefecture, the Town Hall,the old boarding house, the children annex of the Public Library “Royal Pitoska” in Georgiadis building and the “International” where the Cultural Club of Florina housed where filmed scenes with Marcello Mastrogianni in the movies of Theo Angelopoulos.Further down the shopping street  and the National Bank of Greece a building in New-Byzantine style built in 1931.Across the street leads in the house of “Exarch” which will soon be transferred to the Museum of Modern Art.

 

Behind the National Bank operates the Municipal Market, “the Bazaar”.Well worth a visit for shopping and if it is Wednesday the variety is extremely interesting.The day that that women are coming, local producers, with genuine products from Florina land and sometimes with traditional costumes from the axis Skopias, Polypotamos and Ydrousa.Next to the market, on the 1st floor, above the Ellderly operates the women’s association”the Pelagonia”  that reproduce and sell traditional costumes, beautiful scarves and textiles.The most famous products that anybody buys in the market are Florina red peppers – the Hot “tsouskes”, beans, mountain tea, apples, and strawberries accordingly to the season.Markets “in remebrance”, in workshops with local sweets and unique knitted candles, of Florina candle makers.

The main square and the sidewaik zone of the city , have traffic all the hours.Breakfast coffees for those that have the luxury of the time, evening rides for the householders and the night for the students and young people in the bars.The new square was created where the old National Stadium was and hosting two works by sculptor Dimitris Kalamaras, the “Duying warrior” and “Captain Kottis”.Opposite from the new Square there are the Bus station and the Ministry that hides the magnificent building of the old Housekeeping School.

The interesting points and waiks are numerous depending on the mood and time of the visitor in the city or on short trips around it with more characteristic the hill of St Panteleimon or the riparian to Alwna.

The Basilica of Saint Achilles 

Located in the northeastern part of the homonymous island of Lake Prespa.The church was founded from the Tsar Bulgarian Samuelthe 983 or 986 A.C who after his victory against Byzantine and the occupation of Larissa , transports from there there relics of Saint Achilles in Prespa.Despite the repeated destruction and looting of the church the locals rebuid it and continue to use it as the main center of worship until the mid-15th century..

The church belongs to the type of aisle basilica with three naves , seperated by two pessaries-arrays , which each of them counts seven pillars.Interesting architectural element are the steps used in official ceremonies the senior priests , most of which have survived and samples from the oldest wall paintings depicting red eighteen arches still showing the seats of bishops who belonged to the Archdiocese Ohrid.Also from other layers of wall paintings have been preserved forms of military saints , the Virgin Mary and an angel , which date from the 11th and 12th century.

Interest presents the tombs of important persons are in the southern nave of the temple.In the south antennaof the diakonikon there is a tomb covered by anaglyph limestone slab  , which according to tradition are kept the relics of Saint Achilles.Of the other four graves of the south aisle stands in which he found a silk fabric piece , depicting eagles in circles decorated with plant motifs.

The church of St.Demetrios in the south-west of St Achilies , which dates back to the 14th century.Moving south from the Basilica of Saint Achielles, we ascend the small hilland somewhere on the south side of the hill lies the ruined church of St Demetrius.Currently preserved a part of the apse and south wall.

The church is small.A pier-wall creates a small apartment on the south side of the church , in front of the sanctuary . A similar partition muist exist on the north side.The walls are made of local stone and mortar , which was subsequently eroded by harsh weather conditions.The wall paintings dating to the 14th century.Has great aesthetic value  wooden templon , Epirotes work Taliadouros of 1864 . despotic throne, pulpit and shrines .Noteworth attaction  is also the bell tower of the church. 

The church of St Germain , in the namesake community , dedicated to Saint Germain, Patriarch of Constantinople which according to local tradition, died and was buried in the temple .It is a registered crusiform church with a dome  , which founded few years ago in 1006 .It preserves parts of wall paintings dating to the 11th and 12th century , all of today’s visible decoration dating to 1743.The dome rests on four pillars instead of columns , as is most common.The shape of the cross is evident in the upper structure , both domestic and abroad.The dome  , with peculiar bezel is shaped like a square with rounded angles.East the church ends in three semi-circular niches.The nartex , equal width with the church is covered with a semicircular arch , interrupted in the center by another , transverse and taller.Today one can not enjoy the fine masorny of the exterior surfaces of the church , as seen in old photos before coated with plaster.However it is obvious that the proportions of the monument are structured and the scale is human.