KOZANI - THE LAND OF THE CROCUS
The prefecture of Kozani occupies the southern part of Macedonia and borders the prefectures of Kastoria, Florina, Pella, Imathia, Pieria, Larissa and Grevena. The main areas of the prefecture are Kozani, Velvento, Neapoli, Ptolemaida, Serbia and Siatista. Kozani is the capital of the prefecture and is the economic and administrative center of Western Macedonia. Green mountains and highlands, gorges and waterfalls, small valleys and fertile plains and beautiful villages are some of its unique features as well as the river Aliakmonas. Kozani is built at the foot of beautiful Vermio at an altitude of 720m and has an interesting market, museums, old churches and recreation areas.
The Historical-Folklore Museum as well as the Museum of Natural History are housed in a building with traditional Macedonian architecture. They present the commercial life of the city, as well as the old house with everyday objects. The Panagiotideio Mansion houses the Archaeological Collection with exhibits from prehistoric to early Christian times. The Koventarios municipal library with manuscripts and relics up to the 11th century, antiquities, photographic, archeological collection, paintings, the Psarianou library and a collection of maps. Lassani mansion is a listed building of 1750, where lived the scholar, politician, close associate of Al. Ypsilantis and fighter of 1821, George Lassanis.
The town of Velvento, at the foot of Pieria, is built in the valley of Aliakmonas while in the area is the artificial lake Polyphytou, the largest in Greece. 17 species of fish have been recorded in the waters of the lake while in the Delta of the river there are many other species and it is an important habitat for birds of prey. It is also offered for activities such as fishing, fish farming, rowing, leisure etc. On the shores of the lake is the Holy Temple of Saint Varadatos near the village of Roditi and the monument to those who died during the Asia Minor catastrophe. It retains the strong traditional element in the alleys, squares, stone-built houses and mansions, samples of Macedonian architecture. The church of Agios Nikolaos is one of the most important monuments of the period, in which the oldest known dated iconostasis of Greece is preserved.
Siatista, is a picturesque town built on the slope of Mount Veliai which has a great past, as it was a large shopping center from the 17th to the early 19th century. It also exported its products to Balkan and European countries and imported silks, porcelain, crystals, precious stones, etc. Siatista brought forth many great benefactors, who built schools, churches, an administration, a hotel, a health center, a spiritual center, etc. leaving a legacy. Its mansions and post-Byzantine churches are separate in every way. Of particular interest is the collection of printed books and manuscripts of the metropolis. The "Manousia" Library houses rare editions and manuscripts from the 16th century.
Neraida is a tourist village at the top of the hill above the Serbion Bridge in the center of Lake Polyphytos which is a pole of attraction for many visitors all year round. At the entrance of the village there is a small park with benches, its port, the facilities of the Nautical Club and all the lakeside villages. The Walking Pedestrian Road around Neraida, starts from the entrance of the village and ends at the church of Agios Georgios. The village of Aiani impresses for its archeological site while above the river is the monastery of Zavorda. The village is known to climbers and speleologists for the Skotino cave. Built in the center of the rich plain of Eordea is the industrial city of Ptolemaida in which there are tombs with Hellenistic pottery and marble.
The monument of the Pasha of Missouri is located in the town of Neapolis while in the settlement of Perdiccas is the Small Museum where exhibits of prehistoric elephant and mammoth bones are exhibited. Between Grammos, Smolika and Vasilitsa is Voio, one of the most forested and densely populated mountains in Greece. It is a habitat for all kinds of wildlife and fish. The Ontria Mountains impress with their unique natural landscapes and unique flora and fauna. The area of Pentalofos south of Voio, between the Prefectures of Kastoria and Grevena, is the most beautiful part of the prefecture. Tsotili is a very picturesque part of the prefecture between the mountain ranges of Siniatsiko, Burino, Voio and Smolika with countless slopes and ravines that compose a beautiful landscape. The picturesque arched bridge is a sample of the folk architecture of the years of Ottoman rule.
Kozani offers the visitor cheese products, cold cuts, wine, saffron and anise tsipouro, fruits and jams, mushrooms, chestnuts and all the traditional recipes with ingredients from its place. You should also try giaprakia, tsoukalakia, which is a kind of local stew and boubari. Kozani cheeses such as feta, touloumotyri, batzios and manouri also stand out. The most famous product of all is of course the Kozani yolk used in cooking, medicine, distillery and cosmetology. Kozani is one of the few places in the world that can be cultivated and exported to all over the world. It is also famous for its carnival events with unchanged customs. The "fani", the masquerades that roam the whole city, the folk organ players and the bands in the streets, the wine, the "kichia" and the treats, are characteristic.