Kastoria
Overview
 
Kastoria is a city in northern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 in the periphery
Peripheries of Greece
The current official regional administrative divisions of Greece were instituted in 1987. Although best translated into English as "regions", the transcription peripheries is sometimes used, perhaps to distinguish them from the traditional regions which they replaced. The English word 'periphery'...

 of West Macedonia
West Macedonia
West Macedonia is one of the thirteen regions of Greece, consisting of the western part of Greek Macedonia. It is divided into the regional units of Florina, Grevena, Kastoria, and Kozani.-Geography:...

. It is the capital of Kastoria peripheral unit. It is situated on a promontory on the western shore of Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada or Lake Kastoria is a lake in the Kastoria Prefecture of Macedonia, northwestern Greece. Sitting at an altitude of 630 meters, the lake covers an area of 28 square kilometers....

, in a valley surrounded by limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 mountains. The town is known for its many Byzantine
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

 churches, Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

-era domestic architecture, fur clothing
Fur clothing
Fur clothing is clothing made of the fur of animals. Fur is one of the oldest forms of clothing; thought to have been widely used as hominids first expanded outside of Africa. Some view fur as luxurious and warm; others reject it due to moral beliefs...

 industry, and trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

.
The name "Kastoria" first appears at the end of the 10th century, though a town existed on the site since at least the sixth century.
Encyclopedia
Kastoria is a city in northern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 in the periphery
Peripheries of Greece
The current official regional administrative divisions of Greece were instituted in 1987. Although best translated into English as "regions", the transcription peripheries is sometimes used, perhaps to distinguish them from the traditional regions which they replaced. The English word 'periphery'...

 of West Macedonia
West Macedonia
West Macedonia is one of the thirteen regions of Greece, consisting of the western part of Greek Macedonia. It is divided into the regional units of Florina, Grevena, Kastoria, and Kozani.-Geography:...

. It is the capital of Kastoria peripheral unit. It is situated on a promontory on the western shore of Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada or Lake Kastoria is a lake in the Kastoria Prefecture of Macedonia, northwestern Greece. Sitting at an altitude of 630 meters, the lake covers an area of 28 square kilometers....

, in a valley surrounded by limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 mountains. The town is known for its many Byzantine
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

 churches, Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

-era domestic architecture, fur clothing
Fur clothing
Fur clothing is clothing made of the fur of animals. Fur is one of the oldest forms of clothing; thought to have been widely used as hominids first expanded outside of Africa. Some view fur as luxurious and warm; others reject it due to moral beliefs...

 industry, and trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

.

Name

The name "Kastoria" first appears at the end of the 10th century, though a town existed on the site since at least the sixth century. 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
Beaver
The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

"). Trade in the animal's fur, sourced from nearby Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada or Lake Kastoria is a lake in the Kastoria Prefecture of Macedonia, northwestern Greece. Sitting at an altitude of 630 meters, the lake covers an area of 28 square kilometers....

, 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
Castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

"; from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word castra) or from the mythical hero Κάστωρ (Kástōr
Castor and Pollux
In Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioscuri . Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who visited Leda in the guise of a swan...

), 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
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 as Kesriye. The Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

, Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 and Slavic Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

 name of the city is Kostur (Cyrillic
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

: Костур). The town features in the Serbian 18th century epic poem "Marko Kraljević i Mina od Kostura" (ie Prince Marko
Prince Marko
Marko Mrnjavčević was de jure the Serbian king from 1371 to 1395, while de facto he ruled only over a territory in western Macedonia centered on the town of Prilep...

 and Minnas of Kastoria
).

Municipality

The municipality Kastoria was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 9 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
  • Agia Triada
    Agia Triada, Kastoria
    Agia Triada is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 6,117 . The seat of the municipality was in Maniakoi....

  • Agioi Anargyroi
    Agioi Anargyroi, Kastoria
    Agioi Anargyroi is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 2,845 . The seat of the municipality was in Korisos....

  • Kastoria
  • Kastraki
    Kastraki, Kastoria
    Kastraki is a former community in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 769 . The seat of the community was in Ieropigi. The other village in the community is...

  • Kleisoura
  • Korestia
    Korestia
    Korestia is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 1,000 . The seat of the municipality was in Makrochori....

  • Makednoi
  • Mesopotamia
    Mesopotamia, Greece
    Mesopotamia is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. population 4,100 .The municipality was also known as Aliakmonas, named after the river Aliakmonas...

  • Vitsi
    Vitsi
    Vitsi is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. It takes its name from Mount Vitsi which is the highest point within the municipal unit. The...


Antiquity

Kastoria is believed to have ancient origins; it has been identified with the ancient town of Celetrum, possibly located on a hill above the town's current location, and captured by the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 in 200 BC
200 BC
Year 200 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Maximus and Cotta...

. The Roman Emperor Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 (ruled 284-305 AD) founded the town of Diocletianopolis somewhere in the vicinity. After it was destroyed by barbarians, the Byzantine Emperor
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 relocated the town on a promontory projecting into Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada or Lake Kastoria is a lake in the Kastoria Prefecture of Macedonia, northwestern Greece. Sitting at an altitude of 630 meters, the lake covers an area of 28 square kilometers....

, the town's current location, and may have renamed it Justinianopolis.

Middle Ages

Kastoria's history was peaceful until the 10th century, when its strategic position led to it being contested between the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and the First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

. The town was conquered by the Bulgarian Empire in the mid-9th century and remained in Bulgarian hands until the fall of First Bulgarian Empire at the hands of Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...

  in the beginning of the 11th century, when it re-joined the Byzantine Empire. The town was later re-conquered by Bulgaria under Kaloyan
Kaloyan of Bulgaria
Kaloyan the Romanslayer , Ivan II , ruled as emperor of Bulgaria 1197-1207. He is the third and youngest brother of Peter IV and Ivan Asen I who managed to restore the Bulgarian Empire...

 and Ivan Asen II
Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
-Early rule:He was a son of Ivan Asen I of Bulgaria and Elena . Elena, who survived until after 1235, is sometimes alleged to be a daughter of Stefan Nemanja of Serbia, but this relationship is questionable and would have caused various canonical impediments to marriages between various descendants...

 in the 13th century but was recovered by the Nicaean Empire in 1246. It was held by the Serbian Empire
Serbian Empire
The Serbian Empire was a short-lived medieval empire in the Balkans that emerged from the Serbian Kingdom. Stephen Uroš IV Dušan was crowned Emperor of Serbs and Greeks on 16 April, 1346, a title signifying a successorship to the Eastern Roman Empire...

 between 1331 and 1380 and by the Albanian Muzaka family in the 1380-1385 period.

Ottoman Era

Around 1385, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 conquered Kastoria, but it is unclear whether by force or by an agreement with its Albanian rulers. The city would remain under Ottoman rule until the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913, pitted the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success...

 (1912), when Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 took it. The 1913 treaties of London
Treaty of London, 1913
The Treaty of London was signed on 30 May during the London Conference of 1913. It dealt with the territorial adjustments arising out of the conclusion of the First Balkan War.-History:...

 and Bucharest
Treaty of Bucharest, 1913
The Treaty of Bucharest was concluded on 10 August 1913, by the delegates of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece.As Bulgaria had been completely isolated in the Second Balkan War , and as it was closely invested on its northern boundary by Romania and on its western frontier by the...

 incorporated Kastoria into the Greek state.

World War II

During both World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the Greek Civil War
Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

, the town was repeatedly fought over and heavily damaged in the process. It was nearly captured by the Communist Democratic Army of Greece
Democratic Army of Greece
This article is based on a translation of an article from the Greek Wikipedia.The Democratic Army of Greece , often simply abbreviated to its initials DSE , was the army founded by the Communist Party of Greece during the Greek Civil War, 1946–1949...

 in 1948, and the final battles of the civil war took place on the nearby Mount Gramos
Gramos
Gramos is a village and a former community in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Nestorio, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 28 . The village is an old Aromanian settlement, named after the nearby...

 in 1949.

Jewish Community

In 1940 the Jewish population in Kastoria numbered 900, composed predominantly of Ladino language speaking Sephardic Jews. Many family names were of Italian origin as a result of emigrations (originally from Spain) via Italy in 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.

Economy

Kastoria is an international centre of fur
Fur
Fur is a synonym for hair, used more in reference to non-human animals, usually mammals; particularly those with extensives body hair coverage. The term is sometimes used to refer to the body hair of an animal as a complete coat, also known as the "pelage". Fur is also used to refer to animal...

 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
European Beaver
The Eurasian beaver or European beaver is a species of beaver, which was once widespread in Eurasia, where it was hunted to near extinction both for fur and for castoreum, a secretion of its scent gland believed to have medicinal properties...

 (kastóri in Greek), now extinct in the area. Trading in mink
Mink
There are two living species referred to as "mink": the European Mink and the American Mink. The extinct Sea Mink is related to the American Mink, but was much larger. All three species are dark-colored, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the weasels and...

 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
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, apple
Apple
The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family . It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apple grow on small, deciduous trees that blossom in the spring...

s, wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 and fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

. 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.

Landmarks

Kastoria is an important religious centre for the Greek Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and is the seat of a metropolitan bishop
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

. 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
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

 styles of architecture and fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

 painting. The Museum of Byzantine History located on Dexamenis Square houses many examples of Byzantine iconography. Kastoria is filled with old manors
Manor house
A manor house is a country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor, the lowest unit of territorial organisation in the feudal system in Europe. The term is applied to country houses that belonged to the gentry and other grand stately homes...

 dating to the Ottoman period, while parts of the old Byzantine walls also stand.

Sports

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
Beta Ethniki
Football League, former Beta Ethniki, is the second highest professional football league in Greece.-History:In its first years, the system of conduct was very intriguing. It began in 1954 as regional championship, separated in two groups, North and South. Then, the participating teams were the...

) title.

Population

Year Town population Municipality population
1981 20,660 -
1991 14,775 -
2001 14,813 16,218

Location

{|
Kastoria ( Kastoriá kastoriˈa) is a city in northern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 in the periphery
Peripheries of Greece
The current official regional administrative divisions of Greece were instituted in 1987. Although best translated into English as "regions", the transcription peripheries is sometimes used, perhaps to distinguish them from the traditional regions which they replaced. The English word 'periphery'...

 of West Macedonia
West Macedonia
West Macedonia is one of the thirteen regions of Greece, consisting of the western part of Greek Macedonia. It is divided into the regional units of Florina, Grevena, Kastoria, and Kozani.-Geography:...

. It is the capital of Kastoria peripheral unit. It is situated on a promontory on the western shore of Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada or Lake Kastoria is a lake in the Kastoria Prefecture of Macedonia, northwestern Greece. Sitting at an altitude of 630 meters, the lake covers an area of 28 square kilometers....

, in a valley surrounded by limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 mountains. The town is known for its many Byzantine
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

 churches, Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

-era domestic architecture, fur clothing
Fur clothing
Fur clothing is clothing made of the fur of animals. Fur is one of the oldest forms of clothing; thought to have been widely used as hominids first expanded outside of Africa. Some view fur as luxurious and warm; others reject it due to moral beliefs...

 industry, and trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

.

Name

The name "Kastoria" first appears at the end of the 10th century, though a town existed on the site since at least the sixth century. 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
Beaver
The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

"). Trade in the animal's fur, sourced from nearby Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada or Lake Kastoria is a lake in the Kastoria Prefecture of Macedonia, northwestern Greece. Sitting at an altitude of 630 meters, the lake covers an area of 28 square kilometers....

, 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
Castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

"; from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word castra) or from the mythical hero Κάστωρ (Kástōr
Castor and Pollux
In Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioscuri . Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who visited Leda in the guise of a swan...

), 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
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 as Kesriye. The Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

, Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 and Slavic Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

 name of the city is Kostur (Cyrillic
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

: Костур). The town features in the Serbian 18th century epic poem "Marko Kraljević i Mina od Kostura" (ie Prince Marko
Prince Marko
Marko Mrnjavčević was de jure the Serbian king from 1371 to 1395, while de facto he ruled only over a territory in western Macedonia centered on the town of Prilep...

 and Minnas of Kastoria
).

Municipality

The municipality Kastoria was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 9 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
  • Agia Triada
    Agia Triada, Kastoria
    Agia Triada is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 6,117 . The seat of the municipality was in Maniakoi....

  • Agioi Anargyroi
    Agioi Anargyroi, Kastoria
    Agioi Anargyroi is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 2,845 . The seat of the municipality was in Korisos....

  • Kastoria
  • Kastraki
    Kastraki, Kastoria
    Kastraki is a former community in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 769 . The seat of the community was in Ieropigi. The other village in the community is...

  • Kleisoura
  • Korestia
    Korestia
    Korestia is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 1,000 . The seat of the municipality was in Makrochori....

  • Makednoi
  • Mesopotamia
    Mesopotamia, Greece
    Mesopotamia is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. population 4,100 .The municipality was also known as Aliakmonas, named after the river Aliakmonas...

  • Vitsi
    Vitsi
    Vitsi is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. It takes its name from Mount Vitsi which is the highest point within the municipal unit. The...


Antiquity

Kastoria is believed to have ancient origins; it has been identified with the ancient town of Celetrum, possibly located on a hill above the town's current location, and captured by the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 in 200 BC
200 BC
Year 200 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Maximus and Cotta...

. The Roman Emperor Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 (ruled 284-305 AD) founded the town of Diocletianopolis somewhere in the vicinity. After it was destroyed by barbarians, the Byzantine Emperor
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 relocated the town on a promontory projecting into Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada or Lake Kastoria is a lake in the Kastoria Prefecture of Macedonia, northwestern Greece. Sitting at an altitude of 630 meters, the lake covers an area of 28 square kilometers....

, the town's current location, and may have renamed it Justinianopolis.

Middle Ages

Kastoria's history was peaceful until the 10th century, when its strategic position led to it being contested between the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and the First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

. The town was conquered by the Bulgarian Empire in the mid-9th century and remained in Bulgarian hands until the fall of First Bulgarian Empire at the hands of Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...

  in the beginning of the 11th century, when it re-joined the Byzantine Empire. The town was later re-conquered by Bulgaria under Kaloyan
Kaloyan of Bulgaria
Kaloyan the Romanslayer , Ivan II , ruled as emperor of Bulgaria 1197-1207. He is the third and youngest brother of Peter IV and Ivan Asen I who managed to restore the Bulgarian Empire...

 and Ivan Asen II
Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
-Early rule:He was a son of Ivan Asen I of Bulgaria and Elena . Elena, who survived until after 1235, is sometimes alleged to be a daughter of Stefan Nemanja of Serbia, but this relationship is questionable and would have caused various canonical impediments to marriages between various descendants...

 in the 13th century but was recovered by the Nicaean Empire in 1246. It was held by the Serbian Empire
Serbian Empire
The Serbian Empire was a short-lived medieval empire in the Balkans that emerged from the Serbian Kingdom. Stephen Uroš IV Dušan was crowned Emperor of Serbs and Greeks on 16 April, 1346, a title signifying a successorship to the Eastern Roman Empire...

 between 1331 and 1380 and by the Albanian Muzaka family in the 1380-1385 period.

Ottoman Era

Around 1385, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 conquered Kastoria, but it is unclear whether by force or by an agreement with its Albanian rulers. The city would remain under Ottoman rule until the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913, pitted the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success...

 (1912), when Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 took it. The 1913 treaties of London
Treaty of London, 1913
The Treaty of London was signed on 30 May during the London Conference of 1913. It dealt with the territorial adjustments arising out of the conclusion of the First Balkan War.-History:...

 and Bucharest
Treaty of Bucharest, 1913
The Treaty of Bucharest was concluded on 10 August 1913, by the delegates of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece.As Bulgaria had been completely isolated in the Second Balkan War , and as it was closely invested on its northern boundary by Romania and on its western frontier by the...

 incorporated Kastoria into the Greek state.

World War II

During both World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the Greek Civil War
Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

, the town was repeatedly fought over and heavily damaged in the process. It was nearly captured by the Communist Democratic Army of Greece
Democratic Army of Greece
This article is based on a translation of an article from the Greek Wikipedia.The Democratic Army of Greece , often simply abbreviated to its initials DSE , was the army founded by the Communist Party of Greece during the Greek Civil War, 1946–1949...

 in 1948, and the final battles of the civil war took place on the nearby Mount Gramos
Gramos
Gramos is a village and a former community in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Nestorio, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 28 . The village is an old Aromanian settlement, named after the nearby...

 in 1949.

Jewish Community

In 1940 the Jewish population in Kastoria numbered 900, composed predominantly of Ladino language speaking Sephardic Jews. Many family names were of Italian origin as a result of emigrations (originally from Spain) via Italy in 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.

Economy

Kastoria is an international centre of fur
Fur
Fur is a synonym for hair, used more in reference to non-human animals, usually mammals; particularly those with extensives body hair coverage. The term is sometimes used to refer to the body hair of an animal as a complete coat, also known as the "pelage". Fur is also used to refer to animal...

 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
European Beaver
The Eurasian beaver or European beaver is a species of beaver, which was once widespread in Eurasia, where it was hunted to near extinction both for fur and for castoreum, a secretion of its scent gland believed to have medicinal properties...

 (kastóri in Greek), now extinct in the area. Trading in mink
Mink
There are two living species referred to as "mink": the European Mink and the American Mink. The extinct Sea Mink is related to the American Mink, but was much larger. All three species are dark-colored, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the weasels and...

 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
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, apple
Apple
The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family . It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apple grow on small, deciduous trees that blossom in the spring...

s, wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 and fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

. 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.

Landmarks

Kastoria is an important religious centre for the Greek Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and is the seat of a metropolitan bishop
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

. 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
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

 styles of architecture and fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

 painting. The Museum of Byzantine History located on Dexamenis Square houses many examples of Byzantine iconography. Kastoria is filled with old manors
Manor house
A manor house is a country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor, the lowest unit of territorial organisation in the feudal system in Europe. The term is applied to country houses that belonged to the gentry and other grand stately homes...

 dating to the Ottoman period, while parts of the old Byzantine walls also stand.

Sports

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
Beta Ethniki
Football League, former Beta Ethniki, is the second highest professional football league in Greece.-History:In its first years, the system of conduct was very intriguing. It began in 1954 as regional championship, separated in two groups, North and South. Then, the participating teams were the...

) title.

Population

{| class=wikitable
! Year !! Town population !! Municipality population
|-
| 1981 || 20,660 || -
|-
| 1991 || 14,775 || -
|-
| 2001 || 14,813 || 16,218
|}

Location

{|
Kastoria ( Kastoriá kastoriˈa) is a city in northern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 in the periphery
Peripheries of Greece
The current official regional administrative divisions of Greece were instituted in 1987. Although best translated into English as "regions", the transcription peripheries is sometimes used, perhaps to distinguish them from the traditional regions which they replaced. The English word 'periphery'...

 of West Macedonia
West Macedonia
West Macedonia is one of the thirteen regions of Greece, consisting of the western part of Greek Macedonia. It is divided into the regional units of Florina, Grevena, Kastoria, and Kozani.-Geography:...

. It is the capital of Kastoria peripheral unit. It is situated on a promontory on the western shore of Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada or Lake Kastoria is a lake in the Kastoria Prefecture of Macedonia, northwestern Greece. Sitting at an altitude of 630 meters, the lake covers an area of 28 square kilometers....

, in a valley surrounded by limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 mountains. The town is known for its many Byzantine
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

 churches, Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

-era domestic architecture, fur clothing
Fur clothing
Fur clothing is clothing made of the fur of animals. Fur is one of the oldest forms of clothing; thought to have been widely used as hominids first expanded outside of Africa. Some view fur as luxurious and warm; others reject it due to moral beliefs...

 industry, and trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

.

Name

The name "Kastoria" first appears at the end of the 10th century, though a town existed on the site since at least the sixth century. 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
Beaver
The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

"). Trade in the animal's fur, sourced from nearby Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada or Lake Kastoria is a lake in the Kastoria Prefecture of Macedonia, northwestern Greece. Sitting at an altitude of 630 meters, the lake covers an area of 28 square kilometers....

, 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
Castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

"; from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word castra) or from the mythical hero Κάστωρ (Kástōr
Castor and Pollux
In Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioscuri . Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who visited Leda in the guise of a swan...

), 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
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 as Kesriye. The Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

, Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 and Slavic Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

 name of the city is Kostur (Cyrillic
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

: Костур). The town features in the Serbian 18th century epic poem "Marko Kraljević i Mina od Kostura" (ie Prince Marko
Prince Marko
Marko Mrnjavčević was de jure the Serbian king from 1371 to 1395, while de facto he ruled only over a territory in western Macedonia centered on the town of Prilep...

 and Minnas of Kastoria
).

Municipality

The municipality Kastoria was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 9 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
  • Agia Triada
    Agia Triada, Kastoria
    Agia Triada is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 6,117 . The seat of the municipality was in Maniakoi....

  • Agioi Anargyroi
    Agioi Anargyroi, Kastoria
    Agioi Anargyroi is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 2,845 . The seat of the municipality was in Korisos....

  • Kastoria
  • Kastraki
    Kastraki, Kastoria
    Kastraki is a former community in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 769 . The seat of the community was in Ieropigi. The other village in the community is...

  • Kleisoura
  • Korestia
    Korestia
    Korestia is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 1,000 . The seat of the municipality was in Makrochori....

  • Makednoi
  • Mesopotamia
    Mesopotamia, Greece
    Mesopotamia is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. population 4,100 .The municipality was also known as Aliakmonas, named after the river Aliakmonas...

  • Vitsi
    Vitsi
    Vitsi is a former municipality in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kastoria, of which it is a municipal unit. It takes its name from Mount Vitsi which is the highest point within the municipal unit. The...


Antiquity

Kastoria is believed to have ancient origins; it has been identified with the ancient town of Celetrum, possibly located on a hill above the town's current location, and captured by the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 in 200 BC
200 BC
Year 200 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Maximus and Cotta...

. The Roman Emperor Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 (ruled 284-305 AD) founded the town of Diocletianopolis somewhere in the vicinity. After it was destroyed by barbarians, the Byzantine Emperor
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 relocated the town on a promontory projecting into Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada
Lake Orestiada or Lake Kastoria is a lake in the Kastoria Prefecture of Macedonia, northwestern Greece. Sitting at an altitude of 630 meters, the lake covers an area of 28 square kilometers....

, the town's current location, and may have renamed it Justinianopolis.

Middle Ages

Kastoria's history was peaceful until the 10th century, when its strategic position led to it being contested between the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and the First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

. The town was conquered by the Bulgarian Empire in the mid-9th century and remained in Bulgarian hands until the fall of First Bulgarian Empire at the hands of Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...

  in the beginning of the 11th century, when it re-joined the Byzantine Empire. The town was later re-conquered by Bulgaria under Kaloyan
Kaloyan of Bulgaria
Kaloyan the Romanslayer , Ivan II , ruled as emperor of Bulgaria 1197-1207. He is the third and youngest brother of Peter IV and Ivan Asen I who managed to restore the Bulgarian Empire...

 and Ivan Asen II
Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
-Early rule:He was a son of Ivan Asen I of Bulgaria and Elena . Elena, who survived until after 1235, is sometimes alleged to be a daughter of Stefan Nemanja of Serbia, but this relationship is questionable and would have caused various canonical impediments to marriages between various descendants...

 in the 13th century but was recovered by the Nicaean Empire in 1246. It was held by the Serbian Empire
Serbian Empire
The Serbian Empire was a short-lived medieval empire in the Balkans that emerged from the Serbian Kingdom. Stephen Uroš IV Dušan was crowned Emperor of Serbs and Greeks on 16 April, 1346, a title signifying a successorship to the Eastern Roman Empire...

 between 1331 and 1380 and by the Albanian Muzaka family in the 1380-1385 period.

Ottoman Era

Around 1385, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 conquered Kastoria, but it is unclear whether by force or by an agreement with its Albanian rulers. The city would remain under Ottoman rule until the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913, pitted the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success...

 (1912), when Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 took it. The 1913 treaties of London
Treaty of London, 1913
The Treaty of London was signed on 30 May during the London Conference of 1913. It dealt with the territorial adjustments arising out of the conclusion of the First Balkan War.-History:...

 and Bucharest
Treaty of Bucharest, 1913
The Treaty of Bucharest was concluded on 10 August 1913, by the delegates of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece.As Bulgaria had been completely isolated in the Second Balkan War , and as it was closely invested on its northern boundary by Romania and on its western frontier by the...

 incorporated Kastoria into the Greek state.

World War II

During both World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the Greek Civil War
Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

, the town was repeatedly fought over and heavily damaged in the process. It was nearly captured by the Communist Democratic Army of Greece
Democratic Army of Greece
This article is based on a translation of an article from the Greek Wikipedia.The Democratic Army of Greece , often simply abbreviated to its initials DSE , was the army founded by the Communist Party of Greece during the Greek Civil War, 1946–1949...

 in 1948, and the final battles of the civil war took place on the nearby Mount Gramos
Gramos
Gramos is a village and a former community in Kastoria peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Nestorio, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 28 . The village is an old Aromanian settlement, named after the nearby...

 in 1949.

Jewish Community

In 1940 the Jewish population in Kastoria numbered 900, composed predominantly of Ladino language speaking Sephardic Jews. Many family names were of Italian origin as a result of emigrations (originally from Spain) via Italy in 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.

Economy

Kastoria is an international centre of fur
Fur
Fur is a synonym for hair, used more in reference to non-human animals, usually mammals; particularly those with extensives body hair coverage. The term is sometimes used to refer to the body hair of an animal as a complete coat, also known as the "pelage". Fur is also used to refer to animal...

 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
European Beaver
The Eurasian beaver or European beaver is a species of beaver, which was once widespread in Eurasia, where it was hunted to near extinction both for fur and for castoreum, a secretion of its scent gland believed to have medicinal properties...

 (kastóri in Greek), now extinct in the area. Trading in mink
Mink
There are two living species referred to as "mink": the European Mink and the American Mink. The extinct Sea Mink is related to the American Mink, but was much larger. All three species are dark-colored, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the weasels and...

 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
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, apple
Apple
The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family . It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apple grow on small, deciduous trees that blossom in the spring...

s, wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 and fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

. 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.

Landmarks

Kastoria is an important religious centre for the Greek Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and is the seat of a metropolitan bishop
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

. 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
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

 styles of architecture and fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

 painting. The Museum of Byzantine History located on Dexamenis Square houses many examples of Byzantine iconography. Kastoria is filled with old manors
Manor house
A manor house is a country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor, the lowest unit of territorial organisation in the feudal system in Europe. The term is applied to country houses that belonged to the gentry and other grand stately homes...

 dating to the Ottoman period, while parts of the old Byzantine walls also stand.

Sports

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
Beta Ethniki
Football League, former Beta Ethniki, is the second highest professional football league in Greece.-History:In its first years, the system of conduct was very intriguing. It began in 1954 as regional championship, separated in two groups, North and South. Then, the participating teams were the...

) title.

Population

{| class=wikitable
! Year !! Town population !! Municipality population
|-
| 1981 || 20,660 || -
|-
| 1991 || 14,775 || -
|-
| 2001 || 14,813 || 16,218
|}

Location

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Notable people

  • Athanasios Christopoulos
    Athanasios Christopoulos
    Athanasios Christopoulos , Greek poet, was born at Kastoria in Macedonia.He studied at Buda and Padua, and became tutor to the children of Alexander Mourousis, Prince of Wallachia...

     (1772–1847), poet
  • Dimitris Diamantidis
    Dimitris Diamantidis
    Dimitris Diamantidis is a Greek professional basketball player. Standing at 1.98 m , Diamantidis mainly plays at the point guard position, but he also has the ability to play as a shooting guard, as well as to assume the small forward position, being utilized as a point forward...

     (1980-), basketball player
  • Jagnula Kunovska
    Jagnula Kunovska
    Jagnula Kunovska , is a prominent Macedonian jurist, politician and artist.-Biography:She was born in the Greek city of Kastoria in 1943. She is the granddaughter of the Kastorian voivode, Nikola Dobrolitski. She was evacuated to the city of Tetovo in the People's Republic of Macedonia in 1948 as...

     (1943-), politician, jurist and writer
  • Nicholas Lambrinides
    Nicholas Lambrinides
    Nicholas Lambrinides was an American entrepreneur who built the Skyline Chili, a chain of chili restaurants based in Cincinnati, Ohio.-Life:Born a Greek in Kastoria, Greece, Lambrinides emigrated to the States in 1912 at the age of 33...

    , founder of Skyline Chili
    Skyline Chili
    Skyline Chili is a chain of chili restaurants based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Founded in 1949 by Greek immigrant Nicholas Lambrinides, Skyline Chili is named for the view of Cincinnati's skyline that Lambrinides could see from his first restaurant , opened in the section of town now known as Price Hill...

    , a famous restaurant chain in Cincinnati, USA
  • Qazim Baba
    Qazim Baba
    Qazim Baba also known as Kasim Baba of Kostur was a 15th century Albanian holy man. Standing on a hill of Kastoria, he is supposed to have converted to Islam many Christians during the Mehmed II period....

    , 15th century Muslim bektashi
    Bektashism
    Bektashi Order or Bektashism is an Islamic Sufi order founded in the 13th century by the Persian saint Haji Bektash Veli. In addition to the spiritual teachings of Haji Bektash Veli the order was significantly influenced during its formative period by both the Hurufis as well as the...

     holy man.
  • Sevastos Leontiadis
    Sevastos Leontiadis
    Sevastos Leontiadis was most known as the director of the Kastoria school between 1726 and 1728.He was born in Kastoria on 1690. He was student of Methodios Anthrakites in Siatista, Kastoria and Ioannina. He spent some time in Italy for studies. He was the director of the Kastoria school and...

     (1690–1765), educationalist
  • Lucas Samaras
    Lucas Samaras
    Lucas Samaras , is an artist, born in Kastoria, Greece. He studied at Rutgers University on a scholarship, where he met Allan Kaprow and George Segal. While at Rutgers, he joined Gamma Sigma . He participated in Kaprow's "Happenings," and posed for Segal's plaster sculptures...

     (1936-), artist
  • Maria Spiropulu
    Maria Spiropulu
    Maria Spiropulu , born in 1970 in Kastoria, a mountain town in West Macedonia, is an experimental physicist at Caltech and CERN, the European high-energy physics laboratory outside Geneva, and is working on experiments for the Large Hadron Collider...

     (1970-), experimental physicist
  • Constantine Pavlides, Ph.D. (1955-), Neuroscientist

External links

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