Kastoria lies on the western extremity of Macedonia in the picturesque mountainous landscape near the Lake Orestiada. It is the seat of the bishop and it became famous for its extraordinary number of byzantine churches. In Kastoria there are more than 70 byzantine and medieval churches, some of them dating back to the 9th century. Some of them were renovated and rebuilt in late byzantine style together with splendid interior decorations with their outstanding beautiful frescoes. You can admire more gems of byzantine art in the Museum of byzantine History (on the Dexamenis square). Among the other noticeable buildings, you can see the palaces from the 18th and 19th centuries. They are mostly three-storey edifices with large windows and balconies. Their interior is decorated with woodcarvings and wall paintings.
Today Kastoria is also know as the centre of fur trade and processing. In the town you can see and purchase fur products in many different shops.
History of Kastoria
The town of Kastoria has ancient roots that used to be know under the name of Celetum. Around 200 BC, it was taken over by the Romans. As a strategic place, in the Middle Ages it was a point of defence located between the Byzantine Empire and the Kingdom of Epirus. Between 1331-1380, it was part of the Serbian Empire, and in 1385 during the First Balkan War, it passed to the Ottoman Empire which maintained its possession until 1912.
The town was a cosmopolitan one; during the Ottoman rule, it was the traditional orthodox church that kept its position, but it also became a refuge of the Jewish community that had been expelled from Spain in the 17h century, just like in Thessaloniki. Since they were mostly cultured and wealthy townsmen, they significantly contributed to the town’s development. Unfortunately during World War II, the Jewish inhabitants were transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp from where only 35 people came back.
Video from Kastoria
And one more video from Kastoria: