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Macedonia
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My Favourite Planet > English > Europe > Greece > Macedonia
Macedonia Introduction to Macedonia, Greece   page 1
Aerial view of Mount Olympus, Central Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

2,918 metre high Mount Olympus, Greece's highest mountain, west of the Thermaic Gulf, Macedonia.
 
Macedonia, the largest of Greece's regions, stretches across the north of the country from the neighbouring regions of Epirus in the west to Thrace in the east. To the south it is flanked by Thessaly, and to the north it borders with Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia [1] and Bulgaria.

See the interactive map of Macedonia below.

The modern political region, the semi-autonomous Region of Macedonia, is divided into 3 smaller regions: West Macedonia; Central Macedonia; East Macedonia and Thrace. My Favourite Panet features the Greek part of Thrace, usually known as Western Thrace (Eastern Thrace being the European part of Turkey), in a separate section of this website: see Thrace and Alexandroupoli, Thrace.

The fertile hills and plains in the southern part of Central and Eastern Macedonia end in the northern Aegean Sea with long stretches of beaches and river mouths. The rivers are fed by the mountains to the north and west of the region, which include Mount Olympos (the home of the gods) and the Rodopi range. The wild, mountainous areas in the northwest, around Kozani, Florina and Kastoria are dotted with lakes, forests and isolated villages.

 
Summer fruit from a garden in Vrasna, Macedonia, northern Greece at My Favourite Planet

Macedonian garden produce
 
  Offshore oil rig, near Thasos, Macedonia, northern Greece at My Favourite Planet

Macedonian oil rig in the
North Aegean, between
Kavala and Thasos.
Northern Greece has a lot more rainfall than the south, where in the Cyclades and Dodecanese it may not rain at all between June and September. The combination of mild climate, plentiful water (from rain, as well as rivers and lakes fed from the mountains), soil and topography mean the farmlands of Macedonia, particularly in lowland Central and Eastern Macedonia, are some of the richest in Greece. A variety of cereals, beans, fruit (delicious peaches), vegetables are grown here as well as rice, tobaccco and cotton. Even a glimpse of some people's gardens may convince you that just about anything can be grown here.

The region's main industries are food processing, the production of textiles and tobacco products, wine, and other alcoholic drinks (including the local spirit tsipero) and tourism. Mineral resources are also exploited here: stone quarries for road building and cement production, marble (famously the pure white marble of Thasos), gold, silver and other minerals in Chalkidiki and offshore oil. Many of these industrial enterprises, especially the gold mining, are controversial because of their environmental and economical implications: arsenic and other chemicals used to extract the gold from the ore are said to pollute the ground water and sea, and whole mountains are destroyed to provide gravel for motorways. [2]

Tourism is by no means as intensive as in southern Greece, and the region generally attracts family holiday-makers from Germany, central and eastern Europe, neighbouring Balkan countries and of course from Greece itself. Many Greeks from Thessaloniki and inland towns have their holiday homes along the coast. The major tourist areas are Thessaloniki, and the beach resorts of the Chalkidiki peninsula, the Aegean coast around Stavros and Asprovalta, Thasos island and around the north of Mount Olympos. Few tourists venture into the interior of Macedonia, except on organized tours of historical and picturesque sites such as Pella, Veria, Vergina, Stageira, Amphipolis, Philippi, Dion and Kastoria.

It has often been said that the atmosphere and culture of Macedonia and Thrace are more Balkan than Greek, which has a lot to do with the landscape, climate, architecture and the ethnic mix, particularly in the north and west where a variety of Slavs, Vlachs, Albanians and Roma have lived for centuries, as well as ethnic Greeks who moved here, often as refugees, from Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and other parts of the Greek diaspora during the 20th century. Macedonia's geographical position on strategic land and sea routes between Europe, the Aegean and Asia has assured it a long, eventful and often turbulent history from which a distinct - and eclectic - Macedonian culture has emerged.

 
The White Tower - Lefkos Pirgos - Thessaloniki, Macedonia, northern Greece at My Favourite Planet

Lefkos Pirgos
(White Tower),
Thessaloniki
The urban as well as the rural landscapes vary around the region. Macedonia's capital and largest city Thessaloniki (Greece's second largest city) is a lively, bustling sea port, but not nearly as hectic as Athens. The streetlife and nightlife are as attractive to many visitors as the architectural reminders of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Jewish life here. Elsewhere, the attractions are approximately proportionate to the size of the town. That goes for the hustle-bustle too. Second city Kavala is an attractive seaside town well worth at least two days of exploring by foot, for example on the way to or from Thasos. This island is open, easy-going and popular, in contrast to the other nearby isle of Samothraki, which is literally more insular in character. Edessa and Kastoria are also very different, but both cities were built at spectacular locations associated with water: clifftop Edessa has its dramatic waterfalls, and Kastoria sits on a peninsula jutting into a lake. Other cities, such as Serres and Drama, have a distintly agricultural market town feel.

We could go on and on about the natural beauty and manmade wonders of Macedonia and why it is well worth visiting and exploring. We have been doing just that over the last sixteen years, and will be publishing further results of our searches and researches in words and pictures, as time goes by...


See our guides to:

Kavala

Pella

Polygyros

Stageira & Olympiada

Veria

Alexandroupoli, Thrace
 

national Greek flag at My Favourite Planet
Vergina Sun, flag symbol of Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet
Macedonia

galleries

 
Photo gallery of Kavala, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Kavala
Photo gallery of Olympiada village, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Olympiada
Photo gallery of Pella, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Pella
Polygyros photo gallery at My Favourite Planet

Polygyros
Photo gallery of Ancient Stageira, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Ancient Stageira
Photo gallery of Veria, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Veria
The Imaret, Kavala, Macedonia at My Favourite Planet
Mosaic of Dionysos ridng a panther, Pella, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet
The town hall, Kavala, Macedonia at My Favourite Planet
Traditional old house in Veria, Macedonia at My Favourite Planet
The House of Dionysos, Pella, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet
Macedonian goat, Stavros, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet
Panagia Church, Kavala, Macedonia at My Favourite Planet
Equestrian statue of Mehmet Ali, Kavala, Macedonia at My Favourite Planet
Summer swallow flies over Macedonia at My Favourite Planet
 
Macedonia,
Greece
Notes, references and links

1. The Republic of North Macedonia

Following the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in September 1991 by the Socialist Republic of Macedonia (in the Macedonian language, Социјалистичка Република Македонија), the Greek government waged an intensive international campaign to prevent the country from calling itself the Republic of Macedonia. As a result of the ensuing dispute between the neighbouring countries, the international community attempted compromise by referring to it as "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (F.Y.R.O. Macedonia or F.Y.R.O.M.). Many people referred to the country simply as "Skopje" after the republic's capital city.

On 17 June 2018 the governments of Greece and Macedonia signed the Prespa Agreement in which Greece recognized the republic, since February 2019 officially named the Republic of North Macedonia (Република Северна Македонија, Republika Severna Makedonija).

2. Ruina montium

I have witnessed the destruction of hills by such stone quarrying myself. Over the last few years I have seen a large hill outside Didymoteicho, Thrace completely disappear. It was one of two almost identical, graceful, conical pyramids of rock either side of an ancient road. This year (2012) the explosives, diggers and bulldozers are due to get to work on the remaining one. Boom!

The road building programme / frenzy is subsidized by the European Union. It may be argued that it is worth sacrificing part of the landscape to improve infrastructure and communications. On the other hand, it could be argued that pretty soon there will be no place worth driving to.
 
 
Macedonia,
Greece
Area map
Interactive map of Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Interactive map of Macedonia and the North Aegean Sea.

See also our interactive map of Greece.
Swallows in Amphipolis, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Swallows in Amphipolis, Macedonia
Articles, maps and photos: © David John,
except where otherwise specified.

Some of the information and photos in this guide to Macedonia
originally appeared in 2004-2005 on davidjohnberlin.de.

All photos and articles are copyright protected.

Images and materials by other authors
have been attributed where applicable.

Please do not use these photos or articles without permission.

If you are interested in using any of the photos for your website,
project or publication, please get in contact.

Higher resolution versions are available on request.

My Favourite Planet makes great efforts to provide comprehensive and accurate information across this website. However, we can take no responsibility for inaccuracies or changes made by providers of services mentioned on these pages.
 
 
See also
The Cheshire Cat Blog
photo essays about Greece:

Athens (street life)

Athens (Aristotle's Lyceum)

Dion

Meteora

Pella

Thessaloniki

Polygyros

Kastellorizo (Megisti)
 
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  page 2: history of Macedonia >
 
 
 
Hotel Orestias Kastorias Thessaloniki, Greece - The heart of hospitality beats at the heart of the city
 
Hotel Liotopi, Olympiada, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece
 
Hotel Germany, Olympiada, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece
 
Hotel Okeanis, Kavala, Macedonia, Greece
 

George Alvanos

rooms in
Kavala's historic Panagia District

Anthemiou 35,
Kavala, Greece

kavalarooms.gr

 
Vyzantino Greek Restaurant, Plaka, Athens, Greece
 
NEWGEN Travel Agency, Athens, Greece
 

Olive Garden Restaurant

Kastellorizo,
Greece

+30 22460 49 109

kastellorizo.de

 

Papoutsis
Travel Agency

Kastellorizo,
Greece

+30 22460 49 286

greeklodgings.gr

 
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My Favourite Planet travel guide to Pella, Macedonia, Greece My Favourite Planet travel guide to Veria, Macedonia, Greece My Favourite Planet travel guide to Kavala, Macedonia, Greece Guide to Alexandroupoli, Thrace, Greece at My Favourite Planet My Favourite Planet travel guide to Samothraki island, Greece My Favourite Planet travel guide to Agios Efstratios island, Greece My Favourite Planet travel guide to Psara island, Greece My Favourite Planet travel guide to Athens, Greece My Favourite Planet travel guide to Polygyros, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece My Favourite Planet travel guide to Stageira and Olympiada, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece