to MAINLAND GREECE
Greek Macedonia is one of the most beautiful regions of Greece, and an area which will grow in importance as the commercial and cultural center of the Balkans in the years to come.
and Greek Macedonia
4000 years of history is a very conservative estimate for Macedonia because in the Petrolona Cave in Halkidiki they found the 700,000 year old remains of one of the earliest inhabitants of the country we know know of as Greece.
In the Neolithic period which followed, people lived in mudbrick houses, cultivated the land and made utensils and art from clay. The small clay idols from Nea Nikomidia (6.000 B.C.) and the clay heads from Drama (4.000 B.C.) reveal their sensitivity and their attempts at self-expression.
By 2300 BC the people who appeared upon the scene began making weapons with iron, and jewlery of bronze, reaching new heights in civilization and showing signs of the culture we now know of as Greek. Many of these artifacts have been found in the funeral mounds of Vergina.
During the Archiac period the area began to be colonized by Greeks from the south, bringing Macedonia into contact with the rest of the Greek world and introducing art and architecture from Athens, Corinth and Ionian Greece, the coast of what is now Turkey.
In the classical period the Greek influence became even more pronounced and with the reigns of Phillip and his son Alexander the Great. The palace became home to painters, poets, philosophers (including Aristotle) and musicians from all over the world. It was during this period that Macedonia became the dominant world power, due to the exploits of Alexander. This introduced Greek culture to the east and eastern culture to Macedonia and the rest of Greece and influenced these cultures in a way never seen before in history. Alexander was arguably the greatist influence on the course of mankind up to that time and in the centuries to follow.
Saint Paul brought Christianity to Greece, traveling around Macedonia preaching and teaching the word of God and later in the Byzantine era, Thessaloniki became the second most important city in the empire. The churches and monasteries of this period contain some of the finest examples of Byzantine art and architecture found on the planet and the monastic state of Mount Athos has existed in its present state for over 1000 years. Even during the Turkish occupation after the fall of Constantinople the holy mountain was left alone and became the center of Hellenic culture during this dark period of Greek history. The rest of Macedonia was not so lucky as the conquerors swept through , pillaging as they went, until the day came when they were subdued by the effect of the civilization they encountered, which always had something new to show them. It can be said that Turkish culture was changed as much as the Hellenic culture was changed, by the centuries of occupation.
Now Macedonia is the second largest prefecture in Greece and its capital, Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece. The beautiful Prespa Lakes are one of Europes most important bird sanctuaries and Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece. Thessaloniki is rich in culture and is perhaps the most entertaining city in Greece when it comes to nightlife and eating out and is the birthplace of some of Greece's finest musicians and basketball players. The city of Kastoria on lake Orestiada is concidered to be the countries most beautiful city by the Greeks themselves. The Halkidiki Peninsula with its three prongs of Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos run from crowded tourist resorts to beautiful remote beaches all the way to simple monasticism.
If you are looking for an area to explore, either by car or local bus, or just a place to settle in and get to know the region and its people, then Macedonia will not disappoint you.