KARDITSA - DESTINATION OF AUTHENTIC TRADITION
The prefecture of Karditsa is located in the southwestern part of Thessaly with the capital city of the same name, in the heart of the Thessalian plain. It borders to the north with the prefectures of Trikala, Fthiotida, Larissa, Arta and Etoloakarnania. The main feature of the prefecture of Karditsa is the frequent alternation of landscapes with the endless plains, the imposing mountains and the picturesque rivers. It presents strong contrasts as it combines the imposing mountain mass of Agrafa with the vast Thessalian plain. Its position made it a crossroads of peoples and cultures, who left their mark. In Karditsa there are archeological monuments, which prove that the area is inhabited since the Neolithic Age and monasteries with rare icons and amazing iconostasis.
The city is famous for its roads, sidewalks and network of bicycle paths. The bicycle is considered an official means of transportation as there is a developed network of sidewalks and bicycle paths. The building of the Municipal Market, one of the best of its kind in Greece, is a sample of architecture. Of unique beauty is the park Pausilipo, the recreation area where one can admire the beautiful peacocks that move freely. At the edge of the park dominates the metropolitan church of the Holy Emperors Constantine and Helen while on the west side is the statue of Nicholas Plastiras. The forest of Paparantza or "Thousand Trees" at a distance of three kilometers from the center of Karditsa is adorned by its age-old trees and the church of the Prophet Elias.
"Pallas" was the most important place of spectacles and entertainment which was built on the eve of the war, on the site of the historic hotel "Beautiful Greece". The hotel "Beautiful Greece" was the oldest and only hotel in the city until the beginning of the interwar period with the "Big Cafe" which was a reference point. The Archaeological Museum houses findings of Prehistory and History from the Paleolithic and Neolithic to the Late Ancient times. The bronze statue of the great hero of 1821, Georgios Karaiskakis, which adorns the central square is the largest equestrian statue in Greece. Fanari, is a genuine Medieval castle, one of the best preserved in all of western Thessaly with six prominent towers.
To the west rise Agrafa, whose mountain range is part of Pindos, one of the wildest and most isolated mountain ranges in Greece, which is recognized by the cleanest places in the world. It is a place rich in springs and streams, which supply the rivers Acheloos, Tavropos, Sofaditiko, Petriliotiko, Karditsiotiko and Enipea. Also characteristic are the many species of maple and wildflowers, such as geraniums, violets and orchids. The fauna is rich with the most important species being the wolf and the wildcat, the golden eagle, the vulture and the partridge. Lake Plastira enriched the fish and birds of the area.
Eleven kilometers east of Mouzaki, at the foot of the Agrafa mountain range is the Ithomis Tower. It is a modern village that retains its traditional character built in lush vegetation. A reference point of the cultural life of Karditsa is the Municipal Gallery in the city center. Its creation is due to the donation, by artists and collectors, of many works, local and other contemporary Greek artists. The art collection consists mainly of paintings but also sculptures, engravings, and photographs.
Lake Plastira is the jewel of Agrafa, an artificial lake, which offers a fascinating and enchanting landscape with lush mountains and was named after the military Nikolaos Plastiras, who inspired it. The area is considered an oasis for every nature lover offering alternative tourism such as mountaineering, fishing, walks, swimming and hunting. It has a Research and Information Center, Environmental Education, Ecological Trails, Hydrobiological Station, Observatory, etc. The area is a protected part of the NATURA 2000 network, as an eco-development area. Around the lake there are many small villages such as Moschato, Kerasia, Anthochori, Kryoneri, Kalivia Pezoulas, Neraida, Fylakti, Neochori, Mouha, Kastania, Lampero, etc ..
Rentina has been established as the "Queen of Agrafa'', a historical village that dominates with a rich history. Its contribution was substantial, as it played a leading role in the Revolution of 1821 and during the occupation of World War II, as one of the most important centers of the National Resistance. It was also the seat of the diocese of Liti and Rentini, captains and place of establishment of the first political organization in 1942. During the Turkish occupation it was one of the most developed capital villages of Agrafa, where the economy and the arts flourished. The architecture of the village has been preserved and highlights the history of more than a thousand years of life of the settlement. Of particular interest are the Museum Church of Agios Georgios and the Museum of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art.
A destination for "relaxation and wellness" in a green valley is the baths of Smokovo. It is a very well organized spa town where nature combined with the healing properties of the waters and the constantly improved services provide visitors not only healing but rest and entertainment. The thermal waters gush from five sources and are recommended for respiratory diseases, arthritis, arthritis, skin diseases, myalgias, neuralgia, rheumatism and inhalation. There is also a cold water source, suitable for positherapy. It is one of the most modern as it has a swimming pool, classic and diathermy saunas, hammam rooms, massage rooms, inhalation rooms, nasal wash room and individual baths with hydromassage (jacuzzi).
After Lake Plastira towards the village of Neraida is the ski center of Agrafa at an altitude of 1,536 meters in the area of Karamanoli with 2 lifts while it also provides the possibility of renting equipment. The facilities include a 300 m long beginner's track and a sliding lift. The Ski Center of Agrafa is under development, and provides great opportunities for endurance roads and mountain skiing. Near the ski center there is a mountaineering shelter of the Mountaineering and Ski Club of Karditsa, which can accommodate up to 25 people. The new shelter of Agrafa is located in the wider area "Karamanoli" and is a stone building that offers basic services.
In the restaurants and traditional taverns of the area you will enjoy grilled, cooked, local appetizers, wild boar, hare stew, lamb steak, rooster in wine, meatballs, kokoretsi and kebab, accompanied by excellent local wine or tsipouro. Unique local flavors are the sausages, the celery, the batzina, the frying pan and various pies. As in most mountainous areas, the cuisine of Karditsa is based mainly on meat, while vegetarians can choose between dishes with fresh salmon or local trout. For dessert, do not forget to try the typical dessert of the area, the retseli, made from zucchini.