General Information on Kozani
Kozani Prefecture in Greece is situated in the western part of Macedonia region. Kozani has been a prosperous area in the course of its history. Its merchants once dominated in the Balkan Peninsula, expanding their trade activities to the north and along the Danube.
Nowadays the prefecture is still among the most prosperous areas of the Greek province, but due to its lignite deposits. The prefecture is a major energy producing area, but this very operation in the region of Ptolemais has raised environmental issues. The capital of the Kozani Prefecture which has the same name is situated in the northern part of Aliakmonas River valley. The city lies 710 meters above sea level and it is the home of the Technological Educational Institute of West Macedonia and the University of West Macedonia, with about 15,000 students from all over Greece.
History of Kozani
Kozani has a very long history and recent excavations indicate human presence in Neolithic and Paleolithic Times, dating back as far as 100,000 years. During Philip II of Macedon’s reign, the region was named Eleimia. The city was probably founded by Chrsitan settlers who, after the Ottoman conquest, withdrew from the plains of Macedonia into the mountains during the 14th and 15th century. Its safe position soon attracted other Christians from Epirus. One of the most important colonists of Kozani was chief shepherd Ioannis Trantas. His son, Charisios Trantas, obtained a Sultan’s firman in 1664, according to which the town came under the protection of the Sultan’s mother, was endowed with many privileges, and could not be inhabited by the Turks.
Over the years, no Tukrish Minaret was built and was thus called “the Acropolis of Hellas” during the long Turkish occupation. Along with privileges came economic development and urbanization during the 17th century. During the 17th and 18th century, commercial relations with countries in central Europe helped the city flourish economically. During the 19th century, according to foreigner travelers, the population of the town was Greek. The Greek army entered Kozani on 11 October 1912, during the First Balkan War, after its victory against the Ottoman army in the Battle of Sarantaporo. In 1923, during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, about 1,400 Greek families from Pontus and Asia Minor settled in Kozani. In the 20th century, the city grew tremendously, as lignite reserves in the area started being used by the Public Power Corporation, making Kozani the fleading producer of electrical power in Greece.
Towns & Villages in Kozani
Vlasti: This village is situated 160km from Thessaloniki and about 12km from the capital of the Prefecture, Kozani. Vlasti lies at an altitude of 1,240 meters and thus remains cool, even during a heat wave. The Annual EcologyFestival (The Earth Festival) is held here. It lasts four days and the range of activities available for visitors is vast, considering that nowadays only about ten people live here during winter. The hill of Profitis Ilias, just outside the village, is located in plain fields teeming with beech and oak trees.
Eratyra: This village is situated at the foot of Mountain Siniatsiko, on the road between Kozani and Siatista. If was founded in the 16th century by refugees from western Macedonia. There are about 23 Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches and Monasteries in the area and all of them are well preserved. The artistic wealth in the form of frescoes and Byzantine icons can by appreciated by everyone. In Eratyra, each January, a big Carnival Festivity, called “Bouboussaria”, takes place in the village. All inhabitants participate in a large parade, dressed up, usually satirizing last year's events, personalities or social issues. An open-air dance follows until late in the afternoon, and when night falls the most successful costume is awarded a prize.
Namata: This village which is situated about 9km from Eratyra is one of the most beautiful settlements of the prefecture. Built at the foot of Mountain Askio the village has very picturesque houses and a superb climate. Namata lies at an altitude of 1,320 meters and it was built during the Middle Ages. The Monastery of Agia Paraskevi, which is situated at the village, is definitely worth a visit.
Skalohori: Skalohori village which belongs to Kozani Prefecture is situated near Kastoria. As most Greek villages, Skalohori suffers from a decline in the number of permanent residents; however, many return to spend part of their summer vacation here. The village is built around a hill, with Agia Paraskevi church and a cemetery on its top. It has an amazing view of the forest and a lovely Cultural Museum. Although there are no hotels and rooms to let in the settlement, there are many fantastic traditional guest houses in the vicinity.
Siatista Town: Siatista is a beautiful town but off the beaten tourist path. However, Siatista is a large town, situated 28km away from Kozani, at an altitude of 900 meters on the slopes of Mountain Velia. The city was founded by Greek refugees from Asia Minor and Thessaly, during the time of the Ottoman expansion. The city is full of fantastic mansions and churches, has very good hotels and the nearest ski center is a 15-to-20-minute drive away.
How to Reach Kozani
Coach: Kozani has regular KTEL coach services to Athens, Thessaloniki, and most other major cities in Greece.
Train: Kozani is linked to Thessaloniki via a regular train connection.
Air: There is a plane connection between Kozani and Athens.
Top 10 Destinations in Kozani
All Destinations in Kozani
Map of Kozani