KASTORIA - INFINITE NATURAL BEAUTY
The prefecture of Kastoria borders the prefectures of Florina, Kozani, Grevena and Ioannina as well as Albania. The capital of the prefecture is Kastoria which is built on a peninsula of Lake Orestiada, between the mountains Vitsi and Grammo. Kastoria is the nymph of Macedonia and the most beautiful, perhaps, city of northwestern Greece, famous for its famous fur shops. The secret of their processing, made the furs of Kastoria sought after in the world market and made the city even more famous. Its name is said to come from the beavers, permanent "inhabitants" of the area until the 18th century. Kastoria is a city with a rich history throughout the centuries and is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Greece. Landscapes of endless natural beauty and a multitude of historical monuments compose the uniqueness of Kastoria.
Lake Orestiada of Kastoria was characterized as the rarest habitat in Europe with many animals, such as pelicans, mute swans and ducks which give life to the lake and compose its unique landscape. It has been declared a "Monument of Natural Beauty" by the Ministry of Culture and is part of the European Network "Natura 2000". The best way to enjoy the scenery is to walk around the lake on foot or by bike. Rowing and sailing on the lake also offer guests unique experiences. In the Dragon Cave according to tradition, there was a gold mine which was protected by a poisonous dragon which does not exist. Lakes and rare stalactite formations along the cave and the bones of a bear that lived there 10,000 years ago reward visitors. Its eerie beauty evokes unique emotions in a 300m visitable route.
The lake settlement of Dispilio is a unique experience for every visitor, as it is the first outdoor ecosystem in Greece. The excavations revealed a site of great archaeological importance. The 8 huts contain various tools and household items that testify to life in 5,500 BC. The National Reconciliation Park 55 km from Kastoria, at an altitude of 1450 meters, in a wonderful alpine landscape is a place associated with some of the most important events in Greek history. It has excellent photographs from the History of Western Macedonia from the end of the 19th century until the civil war and the exhibition presents the historical events that marked the Greek history of the 20th century. There is also a 12-room guest house, as well as a restaurant that can meet the needs of guests. The hostel and the restaurant are managed by the Nestorio Women's Cooperative.
In the traditional Dolcho district, is the mansion where the Folklore Museum of Kastoria is housed, which in the past had access to the lake. The rich decoration, the cozy rooms, the photos, the shop where the fur clippings were sewn bring the story to life. The majestic mansions, the Byzantine churches, the cobbled streets, the colorful stained glass windows, and the lake, compose a multidimensional historical image. The Byzantine Museum contains a rich collection of Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons consisting of ecclesiastical relics and wood carvings, findings from excavations in various historical periods. The Costume Museum, housed in the mansion of the Emmanuel brothers, presents a large series of women's and men's costumes from Kastoria and the wider area. The Aquarium at the entrance of the city is the largest freshwater in the Balkans and is co-located in a building of 450 sq.m. at the Center for Environmental Education.
Kastoria with its about 80 churches is the only city in Greece that saves Byzantine and post-Byzantine history. Panagia Kastriotissa is the only church in Kastoria with a dome and the icon of the Holy Trinity. Agioi Anargyroi is the only church with marble decoration, and with various reliefs in all its gates. Agios Athanasios of Mouzakis near the Diocese is the small single-aisled wooden-roofed church with the founding inscription of Theodoros Mouzakis. Agios Nikolaos of Kasnitzis, so named after its owner, Master Nikiforos Kasnitsis, is distinguished from the other temples dedicated to the Saint. Agios Stefanos of the 10th century is the only old church with a gynaeconite. With the exception of Mount Athos, only in Kastoria there are portable icons of the Cretan School and in fact of early date.
Nestorio is a town in the prefecture of Kastoria and reaches the river Aliakmonas. It is built on the slopes of Grammos at an altitude of 890 meters, in a unique way, and is divided into Ano Nestorio and Kato Nestorio. The uniformity of the architecture gives a traditional color to this Macedonian village. The green areas of the area, the river Aliakmonas, the unique view it, are some of the reasons why the village has gained a pan-Hellenic reputation. Grammos is one of the most important bird and bear shelters and is part of the Natura 2000 Network of the European Union. For lovers of alternative tourism it is the most suitable destination for activities such as rafting, kayaking, mountaineering, climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking and ecological jeep routes!
Every summer in Nestorio, the River Party on the banks of Aliakmon, which includes music events in the context of a camp where well-known artists participate. Five days full of fun, concerts, music, camping, side activities and of course the largest group of people gathered in one place at the same time. River Party has won two awards at Europe's biggest music and camping festivals. In Kastoria takes place the idiosyncratic carnival of the city, the famous Ragoutsaria that in addition to the events and celebrations organized by the municipality, begin the day of Lights. The locals dress up and organize in groups, each with its own orchestra, and take to the streets and ask for treats. The mask is necessary, while the highlight of the celebration is the parade in which the best team is awarded.
Typical dishes of the Kastorian cuisine are the sarmades with sauerkraut, the meatballs with makalo, the carp on the pan, the armiopita, the rice pie and the wild mushrooms in the pan. Local products to buy are giant beans and elephants, cheese, kefalotyri and kefalograviera, tsipouro, trahana, noodles, sugarcane,walnut liqueur, chestnuts and of course the unique wild mushrooms. Whatever time of year you travel to the prefecture, you will find a different way to enjoy the liveliness of the city. The south beach of the city, suitable for those looking for an overnight stay with many interesting shops. On the north beach you can enjoy coffee or a drink with stunning lake views, live nights and a warm atmosphere.