TEI of Western Macedonia, Kastoria
Kastoria (Greek: Kastoria ) is a city in northern Greece in the region of West Macedonia. It is the capital of Kastoria regional unit. It is situated on a promontory on the western shore of Lake Orestiada, in a valley surrounded by limestone mountains. The town is known for its many Byzantine churches, Ottoman-era domestic architecture, fur clothing industry, and trout.
The name "Kastoria" first appears in 550 AD, mentioned by Procopius as follows: "There was a certain city in Thessaly, Diocletianopolis by name, which had been prosperous in ancient times, but with the passage of time and the assaults of the barbarians it had been destroyed, and for a very long time it had been destitute of inhabitants; and a certain lake chances to be close by which was named Castoria. There is an island in the middle of the lake, for the most part surrounded by water;but there remains a single narrow approach to this island through the lake, not more than fifteen feet wide.And a very lofty mountain stands above the island, one half being covered by the lake while the remainder rests upon it." (Procopius "???? ?????????" /On buildings,book IV,1.3) Although Procopius refers to it as "a city of Thessaly", the description is undoubtedly that of Kastoria, a city on a promontory in a lake.
There are several theories about the origin of the name Kastoria. The dominant of these is that the name derives from the Greek word ???????? (kastoras, meaning "beaver"). Trade in the animals fur, sourced from nearby Lake Orestiada, has traditionally been an important element of the citys economy. Other theories propose that the name derives from the Greek word ?????? (kastro, meaning "castle"; from the Latin word castra) or from the mythical hero ?????? (Kastor), who may have been honoured in the area. The word is sometimes written with a C, Castoria, especially in older works. From Greek, the name was borrowed into Turkish as Kesriye. The Serbian, Bulgarian and Macedonian name of the city is Kostur (Cyrillic: ??????). The town features in the Serbian 18th-century epic poem "Marko Kraljevic i Mina od Kostura" (i.e. Prince Marko and Minnas of Kastoria).
Kastoria is believed to have ancient origins. Livy (XXXI, XL) mentions a town near a lake in Orestis, called Celetrum, whose inhabitants surrendered to Sulpitius during the Roman war against Philip V of Macedon (200 BC). The ancient town was possibly located on a hill above the towns current location.
The Roman Emperor Diocletian (ruled 284–305 AD) founded the town of Diocletianopolis somewhere in the vicinity. Procopius (De aedificiis, 4.3.1-4) relates that, after Diocletianopolis was destroyed by barbarians, Emperor Justinian relocated it on a promontory projecting into Lake Orestiada, the towns current location, and "gave it an appropriate name", perhaps indicating that he renamed it Justinianopolis. Th. L. Fr. Tafel, in his study on the Via Egnatia (De via militari Romanorum Egnatia, 1832), suggested that Celetrum, Diocletianopolis, and Kastoria are three successive names of the same place.
Kastoria is an international centre of fur trade, which dominates the local economy. Indeed (as mentioned above) the town was possibly named after one of the former staples of the trade – the European beaver (kastori in Greek), now extinct in the area. Trading in mink fur now predominates and every year an international showcase of fur takes place in the city. Other industries include the sale and distribution of locally grown produce, particularly wheat, apples, wine and fish. Recently a large shopping center has been built in the city of Kastoria. Kastoria has 16 local radio stations, 2 TV stations, 5 daily newspapers and 7 weekly ones. The towns airport is named Aristotelis Airport.
Kastoria is an important religious centre for the Greek Orthodox Church and is the seat of a metropolitan bishop. It originally had 72 Byzantine and medieval churches, of which 54 have survived, including St Athanasius of Mouzaki. Some of these have been restored and provide useful insight into trends in Late Byzantine styles of architecture and fresco painting. The Museum of Byzantine History located on Dexamenis Square houses many examples of Byzantine iconography. The Costume Museum and the Monuments Museum are also located in the city. Kastoria is filled with old manors dating to the Ottoman period, while parts of the old Byzantine walls also stand.
Local specialities include:Giouvetsi
Milk Pie (dessert)