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Edessa – the town of waters

10 November 2012 / 17:11:03  GRReporter
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There are few Greek towns which are endowed with such natural beauty as Edessa. Located at the foot of the Vermio Mountains, with wonderful views of the valley, abundant waters, rich vegetation and a great heritage, the town is ideal for short escapes which will help you forget the stress of everyday life.

Edessa is located in central Macedonia and it is the capital of Pella, with a population of 18,253 inhabitants. In the heart of the town you can see the Clock, built around 1900. One of the most beautiful parts of the city is the traditional town quarter Varosi, which is protected by a special law. You can see beautiful old houses there, which have remained from the old town after it was burned down, then you can take a walk through the narrow picturesque streets to see the interesting churches. Varosi hosts the Folklore Museum, which shows us the daily life of the mid 9th century to the 1950's. At the end of the quarter you can also admire the "High Rock", providing stunning views over the fields of Edessa and Pella.

There are a lot of pedestrian areas in the city centre where you can walk, have a coffee or shop near the greenery and the waterfalls. The mosque Geni Tzami /New Mosque/, built in 1904, is also worth seeing. It was once an archaeological museum. This is the only mosque which has remained intact, unlike other Ottoman temples, which were demolished or rebuilt. The building is inspired by Byzantine architecture, and in particular by Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. At the town's exit, towards Florina, opposite the Town Hall, you will find the old Byzantine bridge.

The more active of you can enjoy river rafting, horseback riding in the old town, cycling or walking in the woods.

The town is very famous for its waterfalls, descending along Edeseos River, which flows through the city. They are the largest in Greece. Once, there were 6-7 waterfalls, but today there are two large and several smaller ones. They are surrounded by a green park with centuries-old plane trees. The park was created by German invaders, and before the war it was a cemetery and waterfalls were almost inaccessible. After the war ended, the municipality made them accessible for visitors. The waters of the big waterfall Karanos fall from a height of approximately 70 metres. Next to the waterfall, there is a small cave with stalactites and stalagmites.

From the Waterfalls Park you can reach the Museum of Water - known as the place of the mills. You can see restored industrial buildings, mills and water canals. After the walk to the waterfalls, a path leads you to the armoury of Edessa - an old factory, which operated from 1913 to 1967.

Even if you do not ski, it is worth visiting the Ski Centre Voras-Kaimaktsalan (www.kaimaktsalan.gr), which is located about 40 km from Edessa, as well Loutraki Spa Baths "Pozar" at the foot of the mountain. Lake Vegoritida, about 22 km from Edessa, is part of the European ecological network Natura 2000. It is a perfect shelter for wild birds. 30 km from Edessa, at an altitude of 750 m, you will find Agios Athanasios - a lovely holiday village with houses with typical traditional Macedonian architecture.

Edessa was one of the important towns of ancient Macedonia, and during the Ottoman rule it was an important city and administrative centre. In the 40 years of the 20th century, during the German invasion and then during the Civil War, the city suffered irreparable damage. Imports of synthetic fabrics from America led to the closure of the weaving workshops, and electrification led to the closure of the mills. Migration in the '50s and '60s left the town almost without a working population. In the early days of the 21st century, even the old factories of Edessa were destroyed or converted into restaurants and the small houses with gardens were replaced by blocks of flats. However, the town has retained its green areas with important parks in the centre, and it is crossed by small rivers giving it a special colour.

How to get there:

Edessa is located about 560 kilometres from Athens. Take the highway Athens-Thessaloniki and drive towards Veria. From there, take the diversion to Edessa. Thessaloniki is only 89 km away. More information can be found on www.edessacity.gr and http://dimosedessas.gov.gr.

Tags: Edessa waterfalls
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