Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lake Kastoria

Kastoria, the capital of the prefecture of the same name, is one of Macedonia's most picturesque cities and is in fact regarded by the Greeks as one of the most beautiful towns in the country. Built on an isthmus on the shores of lovely Lake Orestiada and surrounded by mountains, it is a city of old neighbourhoods, narrow lanes, stately mansions and Byzantine churches. 

The city flourished both culturally and economically during the Turkish occupation, particularly in the 17th century and afterwards when large numbers of Jewish furriers came to the area because of the abundance of beavers. Unfortunately the beaver population was wiped out in the nineteenth century and the Jews not long after that during the Nazi occupation. Since that time, the people of Kastoria have dedicated themselves to working with furs and embroidery.

Lake Kastoria is especially beautiful in autumn and spring, the best seasons to get to know the town. At various points round the lake you'll find restaurants, tavernas, rotisseries, and cafes for gazing at the lake and reflecting on what you've seen. There is a 9 km road that follows the promontory and the lake is home to frogs, turtles and a great many species of birds. 

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