In the southwestern part of the Regional Unit, near the
village Nostimo, lies the Fossilized Forest, which is 15 to 20 million years
old. The rivers’ deposits formed a huge delta, where a wild subtropical forest
with beeches, chestnuts, oaks and even palms was created. A volcanic eruption
covered the forest with lava and volcanic ashes and led to its fossilization.
Remarkable fossils have been also found in Inoi.
Excavation revealed 5-10 meter long tree trunks with a
diameter of 50-80 cm, where one can still see the bark and the rings. Amongst
them, the only fossilized palm trees found in continental Greece.
Excavations also brought to light sea fossils such as
shells, snails, starfishes, mussels and the tooth of a huge shark. At the small
Fossilized Forest Museum in Nostimo, you will be able to admire these unique
The Prehistoric settlement of Dispilio is one of the
oldest lake settlements discovered in Europe and it gives us a full overview of
an early civilization with admirable achievements. Its early phase dates back
to around 5500 b.C.
The settlement’s inhabitants used to live in huts built on
pile platforms in the lake. They were organizing and using space in a unique
way. The 3000 inhabitants were fishing, hunting, cultivating the earth,
breeding animals, constructing tools and utensils, and they were acquainted
with writing and music.
Adjacent to the excavation site we find the Eco-museum,
truly representing part of the lake settlement.
A Neolithic village was also discovered in 2002 in the
rural and hilly Area of Avgi, 8 km away from the lake settlement of Dispilio.
This settlement dates back to 5650 b.C.
Excavations at Avgi revealed interesting facts about the
layout of the settlement and the construction techniques, the agricultural
production, the processing and storage of agricultural products, the
preparation of food, the available tools, the decoration and various aspects of
the burial practice and ideology of the Neolithic society.
Antiquity – Roman Times
The Roman historian, Titus Livius, says that in the 5th
century b.C., a city called Kilitron was lying at the current location of
Kastoria, while in the 6th century b.C., Prokopius from Ceasarea
mentions that there is a lake in Macedonia called Kastoria. The broader region
is identified with ancient Orestis, inhabited by the “Makednoi”, as Herodotus
A significant tomb relief found in Pentavriso, depicts the
calm face of a woman and it is one of the best classical works-of-art ever
discovered in Macedonia. Other recent discoveries from the classical times
(epitaphs, helmet, pottery) verify the fact that there are still a lot to learn
about this period.
In the Roman times, Diocletianoupolis was the center of
the region. It was built where Argos Orestiko now stands. The walls the city,
which was founded by Emperor Diocletianus, had a length of 2700 m. In 197 b.C.
the region fell into the hands of the Romans.
In 550 a.C. Justinian renamed the city into
Justinianoupoli and turned it into a powerful fortress, surrounding it with a
double castle, residues of which have survived to date. From 927 to 969 a.C.,
the city was occupied by the Bulgarians who were later expelled by the
Petsenegi. In 990 a.C., the Bulgarian Tsar, Samuel, conquered Kastoria. The
city was liberated in 1018 by Basil II the “Bulgaroktonos” (Bulgar-slayer).
From 1082 to the fall of Constantinople the city was
conquered by the Francs. In 1204 it was conquered by the Normans, the
Albanians, the Crusaders, the Serbs and finally in 1385 by the Turks. The
occupation of Kastoria by the Turks lasted five centuries, until 1912.
In the years of the Turkish domination, the region managed
to preserve its national consciousness and religion faith and to develop into
one of the most important commercial and cultural centers in the Balkans. It
was also a pole of reinforcement for the pre-revolutionary movements that
prepared the grounds for the Greek Revolution of 1821, as well as for
liberating movements of the 19th century.
Kastoria was the region, where the liberating Macedonian
Struggle started (1904-1908). The fight against the Bulgarians was organized
here, under the leadership of Pavlos Melas. Pavlos Melas was killed in 1904 in
the village Melas and his house is now museum exhibiting memorials of the
Another eminent personality of that time was Metropolite
Germanos Karavaggelis who did his best to enhance the religious faith and led
the Macedonian fighters to many victories against the armed bands of Komitadji
The residents of the region participated in the Balkan
Wars (1912-1913) as well as in World War I (1914-1918) and II (1940-1945).
During the Civil War (1946-1949), Kastoria was found again the center od
The day when the city was finally liberated from the
Turks, the Serbs and the Bulgarians was the 11th of November 1912,
when the cavalry major Ioannis Artis entered the city of Kastoria as a victor.
Source: Region of Western Macedonia – Development Department