Information on the area KASTORIA - Greek Travel Pages

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Information on the area

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City - History - Memorials

  Kastoria is one of the most important cities of West Macedonia, with a long History which cannot fade with the passing of time.
  Proof of this, are the rich prehistorical and archaeological finds (signs of habitations near the lake at Dispilio, Armenohori e.t.c.). It was named after the mythological Macedonian hero Kastoria, Jupiter's son.
  Geographically the area has connections with the ancient Macedonian state of 'Orestias' where the ancient Orestes used to live, having Argos Orestikon, as their capital.
  From this area the Macedonian kings started to join the rest of the small states, which constituted the big Macedonian state having as its capital Eges (Vergina) and later Pella.
  Initially, Philippos and later Alexander the Great joined this state with the rest of the Greeks.
  In Roman period Kastoria shared the same destiny as the rest of Macedonian, however, it gained glory in the Byzantine years.
  This is the city of the Byzantine 'Titoularios', the city of the Byzantine architecture.
  It developed and flourished to become an excellent religious, commercial, artistic and military centre.
  According to the famous Belgian specialist in Byzantine art Gregoire: the city can write the History of the Byzantine art itself.
  The castles which were built by Justinianos and Vassilios Voulgaroctonos are examples of the interest which the Byzantine Emperors showed because of Kastoria strategical position.
  In the past Byzantine years, Kastoria had many benefactors and teachers of Greek Culture, who were really outstanding.
  It took an active part in the preparations for the Revolution of 1821 where it participated with a special group of fighters. The 19th century it took part in Revolutionary movements in order to defeat the Turkish tyranny.
  Kastoria played an important role in the Macedonian fight against the Turks and Bulgarians. In 1912, it is joined with freed Greece. The 75 Byzantine and others churches are samples of a higher civilization and sociability of the city.
  One can meet the architectural style of 'Basilica' as they are the churches of Saint Stefanos, Saints Anargyri, Saints Taxiarches, 'Monoclites' as Saint Nicola Kasnitzi church, the Holy Virgin of Mariotissa Monastery and the Holy Virgin (Panagia) Koumbelidiki. All of them are perfectly built with excellent structure with local materials, in a rich alternation of shapes and colors which pour out from the same material and the good taste of the maker. The outer walls are varied with perfect ceramics. The inners wallpaintings have great expressive strength, which explains the metaphysics of Christianity and the Greek-Christian spirit.
This text (extract) is cited June 2003 from the Municipality of Kastoria tourist pamphlet.

History (1)


  After the Ottoman conquest in 1386, many of the Christians living in Kastoria took refuge in the nearby mountains, while those who remained in the city were confined to the eastern saddle of the peninsula. The Turks settled inside the Byzantine walls to the west, while later the Jews settled between the Muslim and Christian neighborhoods to the south.
  Kastoria, a 'zeamet' (feudal fief) in 1519 and a 'hass' (estate belonging to the Sultan) after 1526/28, was the seat of a deputy official and in 1875 became the headquarters of a 'kaza' (administrative district). The principal factor in the economic development of the Greek population was the processing and trading of fur, with companies founded as early as the 17th century in Constantinople and such European cities as Vienna and Odessa.
  The opening of a school in 1614, the visits of missionaries (Osios Dionysios, Kosmas Aitolos), and contacts with Europe through emigrants contributed greatly to the town's intellectual growth. One indication of its former prosperity is the luxurious mansions erected between the late 17th century and the 19th century.
  Kastoria was prevented from taking part in the revolution of 1822 by the presence of Ottoman troops, but in the early 20th century it became a breeding ground for fighters yearning to liberate Macedonia.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

Information about the place (6)


Geographical position

  The ancient 'Orestiada' is located between two mountains, Vitsi and Grammos, in Western Macedonia.
  In the middle of a circular plain, which is shaped from the above mentioned mountains, is located the famous lake 'Orestias' and above this peninsula which just into it, is the city of Kastoria.
  It is a city of 30.000 inhabitants, closely connected to its legendary past and its great History, which is full of life and progress. One can reach Kastoria by bus from Athens - Larissa - Kozani - Kastoria, Athens - Meteora - Grevena - Kastoria, Thessaloniki - Florina - Prespes - Kastoria, Thessaloniki - Edessa - Kastoria, Thessaloniki - Veria - Kastoria -Yugoslavian borders (Niki) - Florina - Kastoria (and by way of Vitsi), Igoumenitsa - Ioannina - Kastoria.
  All these routes offer the traveler unforgettable sights with alternative views of scenery, lakes, mountainous passes, forests and picturesque villages.
  One can also reach Kastoria from Athens by air.
This text (extract) is cited June 2003 from the Municipality of Kastoria tourist pamphlet.

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The Catholic Encyclopedia


  A titular see of Macedonia. Castoria seems to have replaced Celetrum.
  The Byzantine chroniclers describe it as a strong fortress. In the tenth century it must have been occupied by the Bulgarians. About 1350 it was given up by the Emperor Joannes Cantacuzene to the King of Servia, and in 1386 it was captured by the Turks.
  As early at least as the reign of Basil II, Castoria was the first suffragan see of Achrida. The see still exists for the Greeks and has been made a metropolitan. Some ten Latin bishops are known from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries.
  Castoria is today [1908] the chief town of a mutessariflik in the vilayet of Monastir, with about 10,000 inhabitants -- Turks, Greeks, and Bulgarians. It is also the see of a Bulgarian bishopric with 2224 families, 32 priests, and 22 churches.

S. Petrides, ed.
Transcribed by: Gerald M. Knight
This extract is cited June 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Sights (6)


Dragon cave


The mansions of Kastoria

  The Turkish traveler Evliyia Celebi describes the mansions of the Greek quarter in 17th century Kastoria as being: "grand seraglios of a strange and curious nature. All the houses on the shores of the lake possess boatsheds and enclosed balconies. The seraglios are mansions with ports, and with one floor above the other in the Constantinople style"
  The lavishly decorated houses in Kastoria, which were built by wealthy merchants from the late 17th into the 19th century, have layouts which evolved from simple rectangles into a cross enclosed within a square, without undergoing any change in the arrangement or function of the rooms.
  The ground floor contains the auxiliary and storage spaces, the mezzanine a central area with a staircase and the winter rooms. The, usually two, best rooms on the upper storey are arranged around a central reception area ('doxatos') with 'krevates' and 'kioskia', special raised daises with wooden railings.
  The ground floor and mezzanine are built of stone and have only a few openings (air shafts, small windows), while the upper storey and the covered balconies are made of lighter material (varnished 'tsatmas', half timbering filled with various types of rubble, and plastered), particularly the section overlooking the lake or the inner courtyard, and illuminated by a double row of windows.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

The Nantzis mansion

  The mansion of Kyr-Yiannakis Nantzis is located in the Doultso district, in the vicinity of the church of Ayios Nikolaos, and must have been built around 1750. A painting in the wood-paneled room on the second floor bears the date 1796.
  The arrangement of the rooms and the plan of the house are especially unusual. The ground floor has a porch supported by three columns. An outdoor staircase that closes with a trapdoor provides access to the first floor.
  Wall-paintings with plant motifs combined with buildings are preserved in a small vaulted room with the varnished and painted ceiling. The rooms with the most extravagant decoration are the 'doxatos' and the 'kalos ondas' on the second floor, which are presided over by a painting of Constantinople amidst images from the plant and animal kingdoms (birds, lions), which are repeated in the wood carvings.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

The Tsiatsapas mansion

  The Tsiatsapas mansion is situated in the Apozari district on the north shore of the lake. It was built at the start of the 18th century by a well-to-do man named Moralis. Tsiatsapas must have ordered repairs in 1754, as stated in the inscription on the west side and on the mural in the best room.
  This is a grand mansion with a rectangular plan and three floors in addition to the ground floor. Although the rooms on the third floor have been lavishly decorated with wall-paintings and wood carvings, they have been irreparably damaged at certain points.
  The painting of an imaginary city on the wall of the 'doxatos' (parlour) and the stylized depiction of Constantinople in the south-west room, dated by its inscription to 1798, are not only impressive but important to our understanding of the folk painting of the era.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

The Aivazis mansion

  The mansion of Nerantzis Aivazis in the Doultso district has been converted into a folk art museum. Although it contains no inscriptions to date its construction, it must have been built during the second half of the 18th century. Its plan takes the form of a Greek pi but it lacks the usual projecting enclosed balconies.
  It consists of a ground floor, mezzanine and upper floor. On the mezzanine, the so-called "fur workshop"has a painted ceiling and a concave cornice below it depicting buildings in a landscape. Plant motifs ornament the walls of the 'doxatos' on the second floor as well as the walls of the 'kalos ondas', on which Venice is portrayed "according to the artist's imagination".

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.


Byzantine Kastoria through its monuments

Foundation of the Hellenic World

Culture & Art Centres (3)


  The building of this museum is located on top of a hill where the Byzantine acropolis once stood. It was inaugurated in 1989 and currently hosts icon collections (second half of 12th c. - 17th c. AD) from various churches (of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine style) in the town of Kastoria, sculpture, mosaic works as well as woodwork and sacred items.
  Some of the most important exhibits are:
•The Descent from the Cross (ca. 1400)
•The Icon of the Annunciation of Virgin Mary (16th c.)
•St Cosmas and Damian (14th c.)
•Icon of St. Nicholas (15th c.)
•Icon of Christ Pantocrator (14th c.)

This text is cited May 2003 from the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs URL below.

Folklore Museum

Tel: +30 24670 28603
  The Folklore Museum of Kastoria is lodged in the mansions of Nerantzi Aivazi in the Doltso area.
  The articles of the museum concern items used in older times and they are connected to the activities of the people of Kastoria in their homes, their work, their leisure and their social life. The articles concerning the fur process are remarkable. The pavilion is divided into three areas, the kneading room, the larder and the wine cellar.
  On the mezzanine floor there is a room with a fireplace.
This text (extract) is cited June 2003 from the Prefecture of Kastoria tourist pamphlet.

  It is the museum where safeguarded traditional local costumes of men and women. It is lodged in the mansion of Emmanouel Brothers and possesses an important collection of traditional costumes of Kastoria city and the wider region. Its operation is based on the effort of the musical and philological club "ARMONIA", which works and sees for its enrichment and its completion.
  The exhibits include:
- Women's costumes
- Men's costumes
- Children's costumes
- A rich collection of coins
  The museum preserves the cultural heritage of the region. It demonstrates the way of life of the people of that time, the quality of life, and the relations of the people of Kastoria with Europe and the rest of the world.
This text (extract) is cited June 2003 from the Prefecture of Kastoria tourist pamphlet.

Places of worship (8)


Church of St. Stephen

  Three-aisled basilica of the "Oriental" type, with a narthex and a gallery. The aisles and the narthex are covered with barrel-vaults but over the gallery the roof is semi-barrel vaulted. In the apse there is a synthronon (bench) with a bishop's cathedra in the middle. A small chapel dedicated to St. Anne is formend in the south section of the gallery.
  Two layers of the wall paintings of the church have been uncovered. The earlier, which dates from the end of the 9th or the beginning of the 10th century, covers the narthex, the side aisles, the middle aisle up to the height of the celestory, and part of the gallery. The second layer, dated to the end of the 12th century, is visible on the high celestory and the lower friezes of the pillars.
  The church has undergone several phases of restoration and protection work.

The basilica of Ayios Stephanos

  The triple-aisled basilica of Ayios Stephanos in Kastoria is one of the oldest ecclesiastical monuments of the Balkan Peninsula. It has attractive tile decoration and wall-paintings, the earliest of which date to the 9th century.
  These wall-paintings are of exceptional significance as an example of early painting reflecting a high level of iconographic and artistic attainment. The painting is flat and abstract, with strange colour combinations, and the compositions are geometrically arranged.
  Some scattered dedicatory or liturgical scenes in the narthex and on the lower sections of the walls in the main body of the church date to the 12th century. Scenes on the ceiling of this part of the church must have been executed around 1200, while some others date to the 13th and 14th centuries.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

Church of Panaghia (Holy Virgin) Koumbelidike

  Triconch, domed church founded in the 10th century. The exonarthex is a later addition. Three layers of wall paintings are distinguished in the building: the earlier is dated to 1260-1280 and is preserved on the arches of the naos (except for the east) and on the walls of the esonarthex (except for the west). A more recent layer, dated to the 17th century, covers the east arm of the cross, the apse of the sanctuary, and the exonarthex.
  The church was bombed in the 1940's and the dome and several parts of the superstructure had collapsed. It was completely restored in the 1950's.

The church of the Panayia Koumbelidiki

  The Panayia (Virgin) Koumbelidiki or Skoutariotissa, a small triconch church dated to the 10th century, has become the emblem of Kastoria. The small dimensions of the church and its high dome with a variety of masonry work make it an architectural gem of the city.
  The 13th century wall-paintings are in poor condition. Their attraction now lies largely in the Dormition of the Virgin at the west end of the main body of the church, and in the rare representation of the Holy Trinity in the narthex.
  Taken as a whole, the painting is conventional and lacks an inner quality, yet it contains certain innovative features that foretell the creative outburst of the Palaeologan age. Some of the painting in the narthex dates to the 17th century, while the murals on the west front of the church were executed in 1496.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

The church of the Taxiarchis of the Metropolis

  The church of the Taxiarchis (Archangel) of the Metropolis, a small triple-aisled basilica with narthex, is of 10th century construction. Its considerable interest lies equally in its antiquity and in its original wall-paintings.
  While they have deteriorated through age, these paintings are of importance to the study of art in the Middle Byzantine period. The old murals were painted over in 1359/60, the more recent being the ones most visible today.
  These later murals display their own characteristic techniques that do not follow the rules governing painting as formulated at the time in the large urban centres of Byzantium. From then on a local painting workshop existed in Kastoria; it was inspired by locally conceived aesthetic canons and persisted until the first years of the 16th century.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains image.

Ayios Nikolaos Kasnitzis

  Ayios Nikolaos Kasnitzis is a small single-aisled church with 12th century wall-paintings. These paintings provide a perfect example of how a church of this shape is to be decorated.
  The upper register of the painted surface is covered with scenes from the Gospels and the lower with a row of full-length figures of saints. In the narthex there are scenes from the life of Saint Nicholas, whom the church honours, and representations of the donors, Nikephoros Kasnitzis and his wife Anna.
  As for the artistic intent, all the figures display a similarity of style, being the work of a painter bent on portraying tall, supple bodies and noble faces, and using subdued colours devoid of abrupt transitions of tone. The prevalent harmony and the rejection of all inessentials create a sense of that unique inner solemnity which reflects the religious ideals current in the Komnenian age.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains images.

Agioi Anargyroi

  The church of Ayioi Anargyroi (dedicated to Saints Kosmas and Damianos) is a three-aisled basilica of the 11th century with marvellous tile decoration and interesting proportions. It has two layers of wall-paintings that belong to the 11th and 12th centuries respectively.
  The earliest murals, which are clearly visible where the later ones have crumbled away, are not particularly expressive, being of a very conservative character.
  The 12th century paintings, on the other hand, present a rich iconography and display all the signs of conspicuous artistic merit consistent with the dynamism of Komnenian art. Elongated figures of saints, their faces imbued with an intense spirituality, their stance noble, almost theatrical, create scenes in harmonious colours that comprise one of the most important works of Byzantine art.
  One may marvel at the figures, among several others, of the donor Theodoros Limniotis, his wife Anna, their son Ioannis, and of the monk Theophilos Limniotis.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains images.

The monastery of the Panayia Mavriotissa (church)

  The single-aisled church with narthex of the Panayia (Virgin) Mavriotissa, the katholikon of the monastery bearing the same name, is probably an 11th century building. A chapel dedicated to John the Theologian, with wall-paintings executed in 1552 by the artist Eustathios Iakovou, was erected beside it in the 16th century.
  The paintings that have survived in the katholikon are confined to the sanctuary, the west wall of the main body of the church and the narthex. Their particular style gives rise to pronounced reservations regarding their date, estimates varying from the 11th to the early 13th centuries. Moreover their style lacks features which would relate the paintings with local tradition.
  The violence depicted in the wall-paintings and the distortions occurring in the drawing reach the extremes of abstraction. Some of these old wall-paintings were restored in the 13th century, while the exterior wall of the narthex was decorated with new ones.

By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains images.

Festivals and fairs (2)


Prophet Elias

, , 20/7/2002
Furriers' Patron


Biographies (4)



Christopoulos Athanasios

, , 1772 - 1847


Dimitris Dollis

, , 1956
General Secretary for Hellenes Abroad


Hadjileodiadis Leontios

  Leontios Hadjileontiadis was born in Kastoria, Greece, in March 14, 1966. At the age of nine he began his studies of classical guitar which, from 1983, he continued at the Macedonian Conservatory. He got the Guitar Diploma with honours and the first prize of performance in 1993.
  From 1984 to 1990 he attended the Class of Advanced Theory with D. Athanasiadis, obtaining the Diplomas in Harmony, Instrumentation, Counterpoint, Orchestration and Fugue with honours.
  He attended guitar seminars presented by H. Kappel, R. Aussel, D. Russel, C. Kotsiolis and T. Perring.
  He also attended Composition Classes presented by Th. Antoniou, G. Cramp, A. Baltas, D. Athanassiadis.
  In June '98 he obtained the diploma of composition from the composition class of Prof. Th. Antoniou, (Boston Univ., USA) with honours and the first prize of distinguished work.
  In January 1990, he received the Third Prize of Composition in the Panhellenic Composition Competition, organised by the Ministry of Culture (Centre of Art and Culture) for his composition for guitar solo "Tone Transmutations".
  In May 1990, he recorded "Guitar Works".
  In September 1991, he presented his original work for chamber music in a concert organised by the Cultural Centre of the Municipality of Thessaloniki.
  In May 1992, he received the First Prize of The Panhellenic Composition Competition organised by "TECHNI" Cultural Society with his work "Mythology" for 4 voices mixed choir (poetry by Zoe Karelli), presented in Athens and published the same year.
  In October 1992, The National Orchestra presented his work "Macedonian Suite" for orchestra and piano, dedicated to the late Professor Manolis Andronikos in the frame of the celebration of the 35 anniversary of the School of Technology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
  In October 1992, he was invited to Goettingen, Germany, where the string quartet "Rosenquartett" performed his work "Theme and Variations" for string quartet.
  In November 1993, he wrote a piece called "Fuzzification" for harp and violin requested by Union des Compositeurs Helleniques, which is based on Fuzzy Logic, and performed and broadcast by the National Greek Radio Station one year later in Athens.
  In May 1994, three works for piano ("Fillochoros", "Eikonoseira", "Scherzo") were awarded in a National Composition Competition for educational works of contemporary music in Thessaloniki.
  In June 1994, he became a member of the Union of Greek Composers.
  In September 1994, he wrote the original soundtrack for the film "God's Garden" produced by the Centre of Hellenic Cinema. The film has been presented at International Film Festival of Thessaloniki, where the music gained excellent reviews.
  From March 1995 till September 1996 he served his duty in the army as a sergeant.
  In November 1996, one work for violin "Shadows" and one for flute "Elegia" were awarded in a National Composition Competition for educational works of contemporary music in Athens and performed and broadcast from the 3rd program of the National Greek Radio Station.
  In May 1998, he was selected to participate, composing an original work for chamber music ("Wavelets"), in a workshop dedicated to Greek composers with George Cramp, as a special invited guest, from the organisation of Athens MEGARON.
  In November 1998, his string quartet No1 was included in a CD (ARKADIA) with works of Greek composers, performed by the Greek Quartet, and it would soon be available in the market.
  In December 1998, the Symphonic Orchestra of Thessaloniki Municipality will perform his latest work "Ihnomythia", for string quintet and string orchestra.
  Since today he has written various compositions for orchestra, chamber music, theatre music, solo music and electronic music. Some of his works combine theories from mathematics ("Fazzification", "Wavelets"), transformed for music assessment, while others are in the frame of ideas of ancient Greeks, e.g. Aristotelian Theory ("Akinito Kinoun" for 2 flutes, clarinet, string quartet and piano, written for the celebration of the beginning of the academic year in the School of Technology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) or under other metaphysical theories, resulting in a rather narrative way of composing.
  He is a student of the School of Arts, Faculty of Musicology and in May 1997 he received his Ph.D. degree in Biomedical engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece, with honour. Since 1996, he has published over 20 papers in international journals and currently he is a Research Assistant at the Unit of Biomedical Signal Analysis of the Telecommunications Laboratory of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. His scientific work was awarded three times by sound international scientific organisations.
  He is also the conductor of the Orchestra of the School of Technology of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and the conductor and founder of the "Mandoulidis School Orchestra".
  He is currently a professor of composition at Conservatory of THERMI CULTURAL CENTER, Thessaloniki, and a professor of contemporary music at public IEK of CULTURE, Thessaloniki.
  Since March '97, he is the Director of the Cultural Centre of Municipality of Thermi. Within that frame he participates in various cultural networks (EC-STRATCULT), taking initiatives on establishing contemporary cultural institutions.
  In April '99, he was unanimously elected as a Lecturer at the Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece, Division of Telecommunications, Signal Processing Unit.

This text is cited Apr 2003 from the Friends of Music Society "Lilian Voudouri" URL below, which contains image.

Useful Information (2)


Castoria Police Headquarters

Tel: +30 24670 22100, 83216
Fax: +30 24670 83614

Police Department of Castoria

Tel: +30 24670 83422, 83696

Photo Album (1)

Local governments (2)


Regional Division of Kastoria

Tel: +3024673 50200-1
Fax: +3024670 22513


Kastoria Municipality

Tel: +3024673 51100-2
Fax: +3024670 22451

Professional associations: (1)

Tourism trade

Kastoria Hoteliers Association

Tel: +30 24670 29453
Fax: +30 24670 29453

Selected tourism enterprises (3)

Travel agencies

Fourkiotis Tours & Cargo

Tel: +30 24670 29921, 23077
Fax: +30 24670 24509


Esperos Palace 4 Stars

Tel: +30 24670 24670
Fax: +30 24670 27827

Calma Hotel & Spa 4 Stars

Tel: +30 24675 08888, 24670 22215
Fax: +30 24675 08888

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