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ANCIENT DION - PIERIA

On the slopes of Olympus, a mere 5 km from the beaches of Pieria, Ancient Dion, the Holy City of Macedonia was found under a covering of undergrowth and water. This city had been a thriving centre of civilization from the time of its foundation for a period of 1,000 years from the 5th c, BC to the 5th c, AD.
We learn from Ancient Greek writers that the Macedonians regularly gathered in Dion to worship the Gods of Olympus, and to make sacrificial offerings, as can be seen from the objects found on the site. It was here that King Archelaos organized athletic competitions and theatrical events, and Philip the Second celebrated his victories at Dion, as did Alexander.
It was here that Alexander gathered together his troops to prepare for his journeys of conquest, worshipping Zeus, King of the Gods of Olympus. In the temple of the Gods of Olympus was a magnificent bronze statue created by Lissippos, which depicted the 25 horsemen who died at the Battle of Granikos.
During the reign of Philip the 5th after a disastrous invasion, the Aetolians ransacked the city. At the Battle of Pydna, 168 BC, the death of Perseas, last King of Macedonia, brought an end to the Macedonian Dynasty. Dion became integrated into the Roman colony during the reign of Augustus.
The second peak of the city came during the Roman occupation in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, when it became "reborn" as a Greek city. The final days of Dion were written when it was destroyed by an earthquake and floods in the 5th c AD. The terrified citizens of the city took flight and sought refuge on the higher slopes of Olympus.
The Holy City of the Macedonians collapsed and its ruins lay beneath the soil of the Macedonian earth.

ANCIENT PYDNA - PIERIA

On the West Coast of the Thermaic Gulf, one kilometer to the south of Makrigialos you can find the ruins of the Byzantine Castle of the Bishop of Kitros. These ruins, together with the western gate of the Castle (opposite the Church), the foundations of an inn, baths and a small single chamber temple were uncovered during the period 1983 - 1992 whilst the site was being excavated by the Society of Byzantine Antiquities of Thessaloniki. These are the only visible remains left today of Byzantine Pydna, which was renamed Kitros in the 6th or 7th and century and was, until the 14th century, the most important city in medieval Pieria.

Inside the Castle two old Christian Basilicas dating from the 4th and 6th century are located, the last of which was destroyed in the Bulgarian occupation of the fortress, an event which took place from 913 - 924. At the end of the 10th century a large scale Church was built with a dome and cloister, 23.20 m. by 16.60 m., decorated with mosaics, wall paintings and some remarkable sculptures, and this must have been the Cathedral Church of Kitros.
Kitros was the seat of the local administrator (an administrative sub-division of the Byzantine Empire) answerable to the regional administration in Veria, and during the 11th and 12th century was the center of production for tiles and also a busy trading port. Evidence for this has been provided by the uncovering of a ceramic factory complete with furnace and a 12th century inn, along with its baths, in the port area. Pydna's commanding position came to an end with the arrival of the Franks in 1204, as can be seen from the objects unearthed from in front of the Castle showing the effects of the siege and the burning and plundering of the entire habitation.
After the burning of the Cathedral the community built two small single room shrines in the area near the port, next to the inn. Outside and roundabout the area a cemetery containing graves and tombs with tiled roofs have been dug up. In 1343, during the civil war between Ioannis Palaeologos and the claimant to the throne, Ioannis Kantakouzinos, the castle was besieged and captured by the soldiers of the rightful Emperor Ioannis Apokafko, and in the autumn of the same year by the Turkish Admiral, Amour.
At the end of the 15th century the site was abandoned because of continual attacks by pirates, and the inhabitants moved to the site of present day Kitros

THE NEOLITHIC SETTLEMENT AT MAKRIGIALOS - PIERIA, GREECE

To the west of Ancient Pydna and the South west of present day Makrigialos lies one of the largest pre-historic settlements in Greece.
It came to light as the result of excavations carried out by the 16th Society for Prehistoric and Classical Studies, which began in1992.
The site was excavated over an area of 60 sq km, though it is estimated that the area of the settlement covered something like 500 sq. km.
It included dwellings and land under cultivation, and artifacts such as clay pots, stone tools from a wide range of materials and small utensils were found. Idols made of clay and marble also came to light, as did the charred remains of seeds and a plethora of animal bones
.

BYZANTINE AND POST BYZANTINE MONUMENTS - PIERIA, GREECE

1.The Old Monastery of Agios Dionisios
The monastery of Agios Dionisios is situated at a height of 900 m some 18 km
from Litochoro. It is built in a natural hollow between two small streams
which run into the Enipeas. Today the monastery can be reached by a diversion from the forest road which leads to Prionia, and where one of the ascents
to the highest peaks of Olympus begins.
According to historical sources the monastery was founded in the first half
of the 16th century and dedicated to Agios Dionisios and the Holy Trinity.
During the 400 years of its life it provided religious and economic support
for this part of Olympus. It included part of the forest, Prionia, a water mill,
a flour mill and a farm.
From the beginning of this century it functioned with only 6 monks.
It was the favourite place of pilgrimage for the inhabitants of Central Macedonia and mountain climbers.
In 1943 it was twice destroyed, once by a bomb and then blown up by the German occupying forces. Since then the community has lived in the monastery
at Metohi at Skala, near to Litochoro. There is a unique atmosphere to be found at this spot where Agios Dionisios has been worshipped and miracles have occurred and this privilege can be enjoyed by both Greek and foreign visitors

2.The New Monastery of Agios Dionisios - PIERIA, GREECE
After the destruction of the old Monastery of Agios Dionisios in 1943 a new Monastery was built at Metohi near Litochoro on the site called Skala, where a miracle was witnessed in 1753. It was built by young monks who founded
a new brotherhood in 1987. The order follows a natural way of life with young,
dedicated monks.

3.THE MONASTERY OF KANALON - PIERIA, GREECE
The monastery of Kanalon is on the North East side of Olympus
at a height of 820 m, on the North bank of the Ziliana stream.It is dedicated to the birth of the Mother of God. It was plundered by Albanian thieves in 1843. According to a Byzantine document, it dates from about 1676

4.THE MONASTERY OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE VIRGIN MARY- PETRA
The Monastery of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary is to be found within the grounds of the sanatorium at Petra. It dates from the 11th Century. Its thousand years of history are of considerable historic and religious interest.

5.THE CHURCH OF THE  SLUMBER OF THE VIRGIN MARY- KONTARIOTISSA
The Church has a dome and two chapels on the West aisle. It is in the village of Kontariotissa. Its rare architectural style dates it from the beginning of the 11th century. Situated at the top of a hill outside the village, it is an unusually interesting Church in a fine setting.

6.THE MONASTERY OF AGIOS GEORGIOS-RITINI - PIERIA, GREECE
The Monastery of Agios Georgios is near the village of Ritini. It is a post Byzantine monument with outstanding wall paintings from the 14th and 16th centuries. It is one of the oldest buildings of its type in Pieria and is typical of the Post Byzantine Iconography of the villages of Macedonia.
The Monastery was under the control of the Bishop of Petra, and according to witnesses and folk history which has been handed down over the ages by the inhabitants of the area, who knew it at the height of its fame, it was the hiding place of the soldiers during the Macedonian Struggle

7.THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY-VRONDOU - PIERIA, GREECE
A 14th century Church built on a rock at a height of 420 m. It is situated at the outlet of one of the large streams of Olympus, (Stream Papa) near to the village of Vrondou. There are two wall paintings in the Church, the later of which dates from the 17th century.

8.THE CHURCH OF AGIOS NIKOLAOS-PALEA VRONDOU - PIERIA, GREECE
The first Church built on this site was constructed of wood. This was in 1700. It was restored as a stone structure in 1879. It is a three aisled church, built in the Byzantine style with a tiled floor. It includes a wooden screen, hand carved. The icons date from 1931. There is a stone font in the church and two stone candelabra with the days of the month carved thereon dating from 1760, and decorated with the star of Vergina.

9.THE CHURCH OF AGIA PARASKEVI-ANO MILIA - PIERIA, GREECE
A 17th Century church in the village of Ano Milia, in the style of a Basilica.
Built of stone, in addition to a magnificent bell tower it has fine acoustics and a beautifully decorated interior.

10.THE CHURCH OF AGIOS ATHANASIOS-ANO SKOTINA - PIERIA, GREECE
A fine 17th century church with a superbly painted interior. A range of stories from the Old and New Testament illuminate its walls, and the Narthex is crowned by a representation of the Second Coming. Also of interest if the wood carved screen.



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DISCOVER
Pieria, Greece



Mount Olympus, Titaros and the mountain range of Pieria, the coastal wetlands and the sea complete the integrated ecosystem of Pieria. Both taken as a whole and in its individual parts, the land of Pieria can be seen to be one of great environmental and natural wealth, with a particularly wide variety of plants and animals.

The living world of the sea around Pieria offers everyone a great wealth of both flora and fauna.

A world of plants, large and small, shellfish, molluscs, fish and fowl of many hues and varieties such as starfish, oysters, octopus, and all the animals and birds already mentioned are there for your delight and amazement.

Nature's vast array is suitable for research and observation by both the amateur and professional ecologist. You may learn about the world we live in at first hand from your own personal experience, a unique environment which will give you a deeper understanding of the world we live in.

Enjoy your trip in Pieria!

GReek
tourist guides

team

We thank the municipality
of PIERIA for all the information and the photos


PIERIA - KATERINI
GOOGLE MAP

PIERIA HISTORY

OLYMPOS MOUNTAIN
  • MOUNT OLYMPUS

    Mount Olympus is famous throughout the world for its history, its cultural significance and its ecological treasures as well as its place in mythology. An entire Greek ecosystem is contained within its graded heights. It is the highest mountain in Greece, rising to 2,918 metres, with a lengthy Alpine belt above 2,500 m. and more than 10 peaks exceeding 2650 m. The highest peaks are Mytikas (2,918 m.) followed by Skolio (2911 m.) and Stephani (2909 m.), together forming a central group.Lying to the North West of Olympus, and just as vast, is the mountain range of Titaros Over 1700 varieties of plants have been identified on Olympus, 23 of which are unique to the region, to be found nowhere else on this earth.

  • These are complemented by a wealth of animal and bird life, including 32 species of mammal, 108 types of bird, numerous reptiles and snakes and a great variety of insects, principally butterflies. In 1938 Olympus was declared a "National Forest" and in 1981 its worldwide importance was declared an "International Area of outstanding environmental significance to the biosphere". Each year the mountain attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.

  • Olympus was the first mountain in Greece to be afforded protection under legislation, which awarded it the status of a "National Park", this being ratified in 1985 under new regulations concerning places of outstanding natural beauty. In 1981, under the auspices of The International Committee for Mankind and the Biosphere, the National park was recognised as an "area of international importance for the environment of mankind". Olympus is held up worldwide as an example of a protected ecosystem. It is dedicated to the protection of the natural habitat of this vast resource of plant and animal wildlife, and is available for scientific research in the worldwide service of mankind.

  • Of particular interest is the land formation of the area. With its countless peaks, deep gorges, magnificent ravines, hollow amphitheatres, caves and chasms, as well as a multitude of springs, lakes and ponds and fast flowing torrents of water it offers a terrain of infinite variety.

  • The climate is influenced by its geographical situation, the massive bulk of the mountain, its rocky nature and its slopes. This frequently causes what is known as "heat inversion" and the existence of many "micro climates" due to these factors and the moisture content of the air.
    Generally speaking, there are four identifiable levels of vegetation within the National Park. At the lowest level there are the usual trees, bushes, shrubs and vegetation common to this altitude. The next level has mainly mixed deciduous and coniferous trees, the third level consists of mountainous forests of coniferous pine trees and, at the highest level, Alpine vegetation. The plant life of the region is unique with a wide variety of indigenous species, 23 of which are only to be found here. Fauna recorded includes 32 species of mammal, 108 varieties of birds as well as a wealth of insects, notably butterflies.

  • FLORA
    The changes in the climatic conditions, the varying heights, the variety of relief and the proximity of the sea have influenced the distribution of the different plant systems.
    There are five successive belts of vegetation identifiable at the different levels, in addition to the distinct mountain ranges between them:
    From 0 - 300 m.: suitable principally for the cultivation of grapes and olives, fruit trees flourish and bushes spring up.
    From 300 - 700 m.: hardy and flat leaved evergreens are to be found here as well as varieties of Oak, Chestnut and Arbutus.
    From 700 - 1600 m.: an extensive forest of pine and fir, principal among which is the Black Pine. Beech trees also appear and occasional elm Wild Cherry trees are to be found.
    From 1600 - 2100 m.: mostly mountain pine including a rare variety, the Rompolo.
    Above 2100 m. is the Alpine Zone, with rocky plains and steep gorges where some of the scarcest and most beautiful of the wild flowers of Olympus live.
    More than 1700 different types of plant life have been recorded on Olympus to date, which is approximately one quarter of the known plant population of Greece.
    There are over 150 different varieties of plant above the tree line on the bare rock faces of the mountain. Of these, half are to be found only in the Balkans and 23 are indigenous to Olympus, unique worldwide.

  • FAUNA
    The Fauna of Olympus includes a variety of important species, notable among which are the wild goat (fupicapra rupicapra), the roedeer (capreolus capreolus), the wild boar (sus scrofa), the wildcat (felis sulvestris), the Pine Marten (martes foina), the fox (vulpes vulpes), the squirrel and many others.
    In the eight different ecosystems of the Forest, between 300 and 2918 m. 104 different species of birds have been identified, many of them rare.

  • From those raptors (predatory birds such as Eagles, Hawks and Vultures) which are threatened with extinction, 11 species (41% of the total European stock of these birds) either nest or feed in the forest. These include the Lammergeier or Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus Barbatus), the Black Vulture (Aegypius Monachus), the Snake Eagle (Circaeyous gallicus), the Falcon (Accipiter brevipes), the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrisaetos), the Golden Hawk (Falco biarmicus) and the King Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and seven varieties of woodpecker, (70% of the European population).

  • There are also plenty of rare reptiles (snakes, tortoises, lizards and others), amphibious creatures and insects in the streams and on the lakes of the region, and a wide variety of butterflies for which Mount Olympus is justly famous.
  • TRANSPORT AND TRAVEL in Pieria

    TRANSPORT AND TRAVEL
    in Pieria


    Geographical Location

    The Municipality of Pieria is situated on the South Western edge of Central Macedonia. It lies between the Municipality of Larissa to the South and the Municipality of Thessaloniki to the North, straddling the national motorway (E75) from Athens to Thessaloniki.
    To the East lies the Thermaic Gulf, to the North the River Aliakmonas, the River Pineios to the South and the Mountain ranges of Olympus and Pieria to the West.

    Communications - Distances in Kilometres
    Pieria has the advantage of having one of the best communication networks in Greece, and is easily accessible from all the regions of the country and abroad, as well as transport for export purposes.

    DISTANCES IN KMS FROM KATERINI
    ATHENS 440
    THESSALONIKI 68
    LARISSA 84
    IGOUMENITSA 380
    PATRA 480
    EVZONI 110
    PROMAHONAS 185
    EVROS 450

    There are frequent bus and train services from all parts of Greece and abroad as well as Taxi services and access by car and motor bicycle.

    TEL. FOR BUS SERVICES (K.T.E.L.) :
    ATHENS 2108317059
    THESSALONIKI 2310519101
    LARISSA 2410537773
    IGOUMENITSA 2665022309
    PATRA 2610623885
    KATERINI 2351023313, 2351029317

    RAILWAY STATIONS
    ATHENS (0030) 2103624402, 2105298837, 2108237741
    THESSALONIKI (0030) 2310517517
    LARISSA (0030) 2410236250, 2410590163, 2410590263
    PATRA (0030) 2610639102 2610277441
    ALEXANDROPOULI (0030) 2610639102, 2610277441
    KATERINI (0030) 2351023709

    AIRPORTS
    From all the airports in Greece and worldwide via Athens and Thessaloniki.

    • ATHENS
    "Elefterios Venizelos" Airport Tel (0030) 2103530000
    • THESSALONIKI
    "Macedonia" Airport Tel (0030) 2310473212

    • Small Craft

    Small private boats, the "trademark" of Greece, can be found in the Harbours of Paralia Katerini, Alikes Kitros, Gritsa Litochoro and Platamonas.
    Boats seating up to 100 people can be found in the harbour at Platamonas.

    For travelling around in Pieria the alternatives available include:
    The National Bus Service K.T.E.L.
    Taxis
    Car and Motor Bike hire
    A local bus service serving Katerini and the outlying suburbs, including Paralia and Dion. Tel 0030 2351029339, 0030 2351023352


    PIERIA GASTRONOMY

    In recent years there has been a considerable increase in the variety of foods available in Pieria, with restaurants serving both regional and international cuisine.

    There is a wide range of restaurants and taverns available offering traditional Greek food - the typical menu of pork and lamb chops, with chips and salads, those offering food from the oven - moussaka, casseroles, beans in a rich tomato sauce, pasticcio, others serving roast beef and pork and, particularly, for this is a coastal district, fish restaurants.

    Greece 2010
    official holidays
    Read here
    1/1, 6/1, 25/3,
    2/4, 4/4(Easter )
    1/5, 15/8,
    26/10
    (only in Thessaloniki)
    28/10, 25/12, 26/12





    PIERIA ~ Pieria History, Greece ~ Katerini Hotels, Greece
    ~ Greek tourist Pieria Hotel guide ~ Platamonas Hotels

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