IMATHIA - THE THOUSAND COLORS OF NATURE
The Prefecture of Imathia with Veria as its capital has archeological sites and a rich cultural tradition. The mountainous part consists of the mountains Vermio and Pieria crossed by the river Aliakmonas, Tripotamos and Arapitsa. Aliakmonas is the largest river in Greece with springs in Greek territory, 297 km long. Numerous temples and monasteries are preserved in the prefecture that are more than a millennium old as it has been inhabited since prehistoric times as evidenced by the findings. In Imathia you will find wonderful mountains for endless winter sports, skiing, snowboarding, climbing, mountaineering and hiking. On the slopes of Mount Vermios you can find unique natural ecosystems, as well as picturesque settlements.
The Pieria mountains occupy part of the prefecture, are an extension of Olympus and have the highest peak Flampouro at 2193 meters. They are a favorite destination for those who love hiking and mountaineering with an environment of unique natural beauty, while they also have mountain shelters. Mount Vermio, which occupies part of the prefecture of Imathia, but also of the prefectures of Pella and Kozani, is suitable for mountaineering and hiking, and the international mountaineering trail E4. The rich flora and fauna make it an ideal destination for those who love nature and hiking. In Kastania is the modern monastery of Panagia Soumela which hosts the holy icon of Panagia and the other relics and is a sacred shrine.
Veria, the capital of the prefecture is built at the foot of Vermio near Aliakmonas and is considered one of the greenest cities in the country with its characteristic fountains with spring water. At the entrance of the city, there is one of the central squares, Raktivan or Clock Square. Near the square, is the Step of the Apostle Paul who, according to tradition, preached Christianity. In the center is the district of Kyriotissa with the mansion Sarafoglou which operates as a Folklore Museum. Its Market, which is located between two districts, Panagia Dexia and Kyriotissa, includes the Municipal Market and a number of stores. The green park of Elia, in the most central part of the city, is suitable for walks in the Park of Agioi Anargyroi.
The archeological site of Agios Patapios, was the center of ancient, but also of early Christian Veria with characteristic 48 churches and mosques. The National Museum of Education presents its course from the beginning of history. Just outside Veria, is Vergina where the ancient tomb of King Philip II was discovered with exhibits from the entire history of Macedonia. The findings revealed are so significant that Vergina is considered equal to Mycenae and has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is one of the greatest archaeological discoveries as the golden shrine was found containing the bones of Philip II and the museum is rich in sights.
For the lovers of winter sports the National Ski Center of Seli and the 3-5 Wells for the lovers of skiing are offered for hiking but also for mountaineering. Seli Ski Center is the first and one of the largest ski resorts in Greece. It has 17 excellent tracks with different levels of difficulty as well as two endurance road tracks. The ski center "Pigadia" is one of the most modern in Greece with facilities for tourist and sports skiing. It has slopes of all degrees of difficulty, excellent sports facilities and an artificial snow system that makes it an ideal choice for sports clubs and teams as a training center.
The city of Naoussa is located at the green foothills of eastern Vermio and is characterized as the balcony of Imathia in which they coexist, the modern with traditional architecture. Reference point is the river Arapitsa, which has its sources in the grove of Agios Nikolaos with its age-old plane trees. Funded by the European Union, under the LIFE program, the park is an attraction for thousands of people. The place of sacrifice in the area of Stumbana, presents the typical statue of Naoussa with her child in her arms, who preferred to fall off the cliff rather than fall into the hands of the conquerors. The church of Agios Theologos on the road to Arkochori is a quiet place with beautiful views.
During the carnival, there is the well-known custom "Genitsaroi and Boules", with local traditional costumes and traditional music. The Folklore Museum of the Vlachs of Naoussa near the Pouliana district aims to highlight the life of the Vlachs. The Municipal Park is located on a natural balcony overlooking the entire plain of Naoussa. The lake is inhabited by fish, ducks, swans and peacocks, squirrels and many species of birds. The Museum of Vine and Wine of Naoussa presents the history of viticulture and the tradition of wine production of Naoussa. One of the attractions is the watermill near the church of Agios Georgios, at the entrance of the city and is a sample of the identity and tradition of the city.
The third largest city in the prefecture is Alexandria, named after Alexander the Great, and has beautiful picturesque villages around Aliakmonas. The amphitheater has been located on the west side of the city, since 1983 and has a capacity of 2,000 spectators. It is worth visiting the railway station, the tavern of Mehmet Sefik Pasha, the Monastery of Agia Kyriaki and the chapel of Agios Ioannis the Theologian. One of the most beautiful traditional settlements in Greece is Seli, a village that is a pole of attraction in winter and summer. The area of Seli and the other villages of Vermio is part of the European Network NATURA 2000 and is protected as an area of special natural beauty.
Veria is famous for its revani which is also the traditional dessert, but also for its syrupy donuts. The prefecture is known for the production of fruits and vegetables due to the huge plain and for the large production of meat and dairy products. The traditional pies with leek, cheese or greens and the savory batzo, but also the meat, with the frying pan, the barbouria (meatballs), the pork with celery etc. will satisfy even the most demanding palate. The most famous dish of the area is the fasoulontavas(baked beans). Naoussa is known for the highest quality wine it produces as well as its apples and peaches. For fun there are in the city from picturesque taverns to bars with all kinds of music.