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By the way, we would recommend you to combine your visit to Kastoria with other popular and interesting places of Greece, for example: Mykonos, Sidari, Kefalos, Polychrono, Samos, Afantou, Naxos, Kalavryta, Pythagoreio, Mytilene, Kalamata, Sparta, Kokkari, Ialysos, Zakynthos, Dassia, Kardamaina, Cephalonia, Kalymnos, Corinth, Patmos, Ionian Islands, Acharavi, Paleokastritsa, Kos, Heraklion, Hydra, Lindos, Kavos, Dodecanese, Chaniotis, Hersonissos, Cyclades, Loutraki, Nafplio, Laganas, Chios, Rethymno, Faliraki, Peloponnese, Patras, Kriopigi, Meteora, Halkidiki, Marathokampos, Arkadia, Kastoria, Mount Athos, Thasos, Lesbos, Karpathos, Spetses, Sporades, Parga, Kassandra, Corfu, Santorini, Crete, Neos Marmaras, Syros, Chania, Mithymna, Katerini, Pefkochori, Delphi, Monemvasia, Afytos, Sithonia, Athens, Lemnos, Andros, Poros, Tingaki, Thessaloniki, Pefkos, Samothrace, Aegina, Rhodes, Lefkada, etc.
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Hotels of Kastoria
A hotel in Kastoria is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Kastoria hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Kastoria are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Kastoria hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Kastoria hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Kastoria have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:
Upscale luxury hotels in Kastoria
An upscale full service hotel facility in Kastoria that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Kastoria hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.
Full service hotels in Kastoria
Full service Kastoria hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.
Historic inns and boutique hotels in Kastoria
Boutique hotels of Kastoria are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Kastoria boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Kastoria may be classified as luxury hotels.
Focused or select service hotels in Kastoria
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Kastoria travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Kastoria focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.
Economy and limited service hotels in Kastoria
Small to medium-sized Kastoria hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Kastoria traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Kastoria hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.
Guest houses and B&Bs in Kastoria
A bed and breakfast in Kastoria is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Kastoria bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Kastoria B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.
Hostels in Kastoria
Kastoria hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Kastoria hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.
Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Kastoria
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Kastoria hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Kastoria lack an on-site restaurant.
Timeshare and destination clubs in Kastoria
Kastoria timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Kastoria often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Kastoria on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.
Motels in Kastoria
A Kastoria motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Kastoria for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Kastoria motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.
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For other places with similar names, see Castoria (disambiguation).
Kastoria and Lake Orestiada.
Location within the region
Coordinates: / 40.517; 21.267 / 40.517; 21.267
763.3 km (294.7 sq mi)
• Municipal unit
57.3 km (22.1 sq mi)
700 m (2,300 ft)
• Municipality density
47/km (120/sq mi)
• Municipal unit
• Municipal unit density
300/km (770/sq mi)
• Summer (DST)
Kastoria municipality map
Kastoria (Greek: Καστοριά, Kastoriá [kastoˈrʝa]) 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, Byzantine and 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 "Περί κτισμάτων" /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 κάστορας (kástoras, meaning "beaver"). Trade in the animal's fur, sourced from nearby Lake Orestiada, has traditionally been an important element of the city's economy. Other theories propose that the name derives from the Greek word κάστρο (kástro, meaning "castle"; from the Latin word castra) or from the mythical hero Κάστωρ (Kástōr), 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: Костур).
The municipality Kastoria was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 9 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
The municipality has an area of 763.330 km, the municipal unit 57.318 km.
The church of St. Stephanos (10th c.).
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 town's current location.
The Roman Emperor Diocletian (ruled 284–305 AD) founded the town of Diocletianopolis 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 town's 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: Middle Ages
The church of Panagia (Koumpelidiki) (9th or 10th c.).
The church of Three Saints (15th c.).
The church of St Nicholas Kasnitzes (12th c.).
Kastoria itself does not appear, however, until the Byzantine–Bulgarian wars of the late 10th/early 11th century (the mention of Diocletianopolis in Constantine Porphyrogennetos' De Thematibus is anachronistic, drawing from the 6th-century Synecdemus). The town was in Bulgarian hands until 1018, when it was conquered by Basil II.
Fresco by Onufri at the Holy Apostles church
Kastoria was occupied by the Normans under Bohemond I in 1082/83, but was soon recovered by Alexios I Komnenos. The town had a significant Jewish presence, most notably the 11th-century scholar Tobiah ben Eliezer.
During the 13th and 14th centuries, the town became contested between several powers and changed hands often. The Second Bulgarian Empire held the city under Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II, until it was recovered by the Despotate of Epirus. The Nicaean Empire captured it in ca. 1252, but lost it again to Epirus in ca. 1257, only for the Nicaeans to recapture it following the Battle of Pelagonia (1259).
In the early 14th century, Kastoria was part of the domain of John II Doukas, "doux of Great Vlachia and Kastoria". After his death, the town became part of the semi-autonomous domain of Stephen Gabrielopoulos. After the latter's death in 1332/3, the Byzantine emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos took over the town, but in the very next year (1334) it was surrendered briefly to the Serbs by the renegade Syrgiannes Palaiologos.
The Serbian ruler Stephen Dushan finally captured Kastoria in 1342/3, taking advantage of the ongoing Byzantine civil war, and made it part of his Serbian Empire. After Dushan's death, Kastoria became the seat of Symeon Uroš.
The town came later under the Epirote ruler Thomas Preljubović, and finally under the Albanian Muzaka family, until it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1380s.
Kastoria: Ottoman Era
Further information: Ottoman Greece
The Ottoman Turks conquered Kastoria around 1385, but it is unclear whether by force or by an agreement with its Albanian rulers. During the Ottoman period Kastoria acquired a sizeable Muslim population and several mosques and tekkes could be found in the city.
The city would remain under Ottoman rule (as part of Manastir Vilayet in the late 19th and early 20th century) until the First Balkan War (1912), when Greece took it. The 1913 treaties of London and Bucharest incorporated Kastoria into the Greek state. Following the end of the First World War the bulk of the Muslim element of Kastoria's population was transferred to Mustafapaşa, Turkey during the Greek-Turkish population exchange.
Kastoria: Dolcho and Apozari
Mansion of Anastasios Picheon, now Museum of the Macedonian Struggle (Kastoria)
Traditional mansion (18th c.), currently housing the Costume Museum.
During the Ottoman times, Kastoria attracted a multitude of people from across the Balkans and beyond, resulting in a diverse, multi-ethnic community. As a result, the city plan was radically transformed. The different ethnic communities, Bulgarian, Turkish, Greek and Jewish, became centred around separate neighbourhoods or ‘quarters’. Two old Greek lakeside quarters, the “Dolcho” and “Apozari” neighbourhoods, are among the best-preserved and last remaining traditional quarters of the city.
These neighbourhoods are characterised by the rich stock of old houses preserved in the shape of autonomous historic buildings, such as the important private mansions or the more humble folk dwellings (‘accessory’ buildings) built between the 17th and 19th centuries. During this time, the processing and exporting of animal furs to Europe created wealth, and city mansions, of particular architectural and decorative value, were built. This interconnected nexus of churches and private houses constitutes a rare example of a Byzantine and post-Byzantine township, and remains inhabited to this day.
The traditional buildings and manor houses of the “Dolcho” and “Apozari” neighbourhoods are threatened by modern development in the city, as well as structural degradation from poor levels of conservation. These sites were included on the 7 Most Endangered list of Europe’s most at-risk monuments and sites in 2014.
Kastoria: World War II
During both World War II and the Greek Civil War, the town was repeatedly fought over and heavily damaged in the process. It was nearly captured by the Communist Democratic Army of Greece in 1948, and the final battles of the civil war took place on the nearby Mount Gramos in 1949.
The first Jewish community was a community of Romaniote Jews. One of them was Tobiah ben Eliezer. In 1940 the Jewish population in Kastoria numbered 900, composed predominantly of Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jews. Many family names were of Italian origin as a result of emigrations (originally from Spain) via Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries.
In late March 1944, under Nazi German occupation during World War II, 763 Kastorian Jews were taken prisoner by Nazi troops and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, as part of a program of deliberate extermination of Jews during the Holocaust. Kastoria was liberated by the guerrillas of the Greek People's Liberation Army less than 4 months after the Jewish citizens were forced to the concentration camps. By the end of the war in 1945, only 35 of the original population had survived, the vast majority of the community having been killed in concentration camps.
In 2016, a special documentary titled "Trezoros: The Lost Jews of Kastoria" was released with never before seen footage has been created by executive producer and director Lawrence Russo (based on his parents story) and co-director and producer Larry Confino.
Old era furriers
Panorama of the city and the lake.
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 (kastóri 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.Fur trade is the biggest factor of Kastoria economy and it started back to the 14th century, now there are more than 300 small and big fabrics of fur 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 town's airport is named Aristotelis Airport.
See also: Fur industry in Kastoria
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.
Stone bridges are an important part of the traditional architecture of Kastoria. The best known is the bridge of Zouzouli, the bridge of Koromilia, the Koutsoumpli bridge and the bridge in Beriki.
The Bridge of Zouzouli, located in a remote area on the southern tip of the prefecture of Kastoria, is built over the waters of the stream of Zouzouli and connects mt. Smolikas with mt. Voios. It is arched, has a length of 25 meters and a height of 7 meters. Constructed in 1880 by artisans coming from Konitsa. The construction was financed from either a man, in memory of his brother who drowned in the river, or from a ruler who, moved by the drowning of a little girl, wanted to build the bridge.
The bridge of Koutsoumpli is located between the mountains of Voio and Smolikas, over the river of Zouzouli and it previously connected the villages of Eptachori and Zouzouli. Its arch is 14 meters wide, 8 meters high and it has a total length of 33 meters and a width of 2.40 meters.
The bridge in Beriki has a very thin arch and a great height. It was manufactured by master builder Sdrolios, who came from the village of Ntempeni (now Dendrochori), probably in 1866. Next to the bridge there was possibly a watermill and an inn. Probably, this is where the name of the region came from (inn Beriki).
The bridge of Koromilia is built over the Ladopotamos river and it used to connected the village of Koromilia with the one of Dendrochori. It is arched and has a length of 26 meters, a width of 2.80 meters, a height of 7 meters and an arch opening of 16 meters. It was built in 1865 and consists of limestone and schist slate.
See also: Churches of Kastoria
Local specialities include:
Milk Pie (dessert)
Kastoria F.C. crest
Kastoria FC is the town's football team. It was established in 1963 when three local sides joined to form one stronger team representing the town. The team's most successful years to date were 1974 when it was promoted to the Greek first division and competed there for a year, and then 1980 when it won the Greek Cup after an impressive 5-2 victory over Iraklis FC in the final. The team are hoping to return to the first division this year as they are currently competing for the second division (Beta Ethniki) title.
Amyntaio - Edessa
Ptolemaida - Veria
Neapoli, Kozani - Siatista - Grevena
Kozani - Larissa
Kastoria: Notable people
Şefik Aker (1877-1964), military officer in the Ottoman and Turkish armies
Athanasios Christopoulos (1772–1847), poet
Dimitris Diamantidis (1980-), basketball player
Christina Giazitzidou (1989-), Olympic bronze medalist in rowing
Jagnula Kunovska (1943-), politician, jurist and writer
Nicholas Lambrinides, founder of Skyline Chili, a famous restaurant chain in Cincinnati, USA
Qazim Baba, 15th century Muslim bektashi holy man.
Tobiah ben Eliezer Author of the Midrash Lekach Tov
Sevastos Leontiadis (1690–1765), educationalist
Lucas Samaras (1936-), artist
Maria Spiropulu (1970-), experimental physicist
Kastoria: International relations
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Greece
Kastoria: Twin towns - sister cities
Kastoria is twinned with:
Kiev, Ukraine since 1998.
Plovdiv, Bulgaria since 2005.
Statue of Germanos Karavangelis
Statue of Athanasios Christopoulos
The Holocaust memorial
Pelicans at the Lake of Kastoria
Plan of the medieval Bulgarian fortress Kastoria
Kastoria: See also
Kastoria (regional unit)
Castoria (titular see) (Latin Catholic)
Metropolis of Kastoria (now Greek Orthodox)
Kastoria (Greece) Folklore Museum
Fossil Exhibition (Nostimo), a village 25 km (16 mi) from Kastoria
"Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
"Καστοριά - Προέλευση Του Ονόματος (Kastoria - origin of the name)" (in Greek). Δήμος Καστοριάς (City of Kastoria). Retrieved 2008-10-29.
"K". The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989, online
Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
"Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece.
Δρακοπούλου, Ευγενία. Η πόλη της Καστοριάς τη βυζαντινή και μεταβυζαντινή εποχή (12ος - 16ος αι.): ιστορία, τέχνη, επιγραφές, Χριστιανική Αρχαιολογική Εταιρεία, 1997, Buy book ISBN 960-85882-1-9, p.23. (Greek)