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Macedonia is one of the geographic regions of continental Greece
and constitutes the southern and larger part of the wider geographic
and historical region of Macedonia. Today it constitutes the
northern larger geographic and historical region (25,9% of all
extent) of the Greek territory. Macedonia borders with The Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (The FYROM) and Bulgaria in the
north, southerly with Thessaly and the Aegean Sea, easterly with
Western Thrace and westwards it borders with Epirus and Albania.
The self-governed monastic community of Athos,
one of the important centres of Orthodoxy worldwide is found in
Macedonia, as well as the city of Thessalonica, the metropolis and
main city of Macedonia and Northern Greece.
Generally speaking, as it was mentioned previously, Macedonia is
the largest geographic region of Northern Greece, including 34.231
square kilometres with a population which rises to 2.625.681
residents. The region is known for its rich history, engrossed in
the depths of fables. According to one of many versions, Macedonia’s
name derived from the name of one of its founders, the grandson of
Deucalion, whose name was Macedon.
The area is divided into thirteen prefectures:
Prefecture of Thessalonica with its capital the city of
Thessalonica, Pieria with its capital Katerini, Imathia with its
capital Veria, Kozani with its capital Kozani, Grevena with its
capital Grevena, Kastoria with its
capital the city of Kastoria, Florinis with its capital Florina,
Prefecture of Pella with capital the city of Edessa, Kilkis with its
capital Kilkis, Chalkidiki with its capital Polygyros, Serres with
its capital Serres, Drama with its capital the city of Drama and the
Prefecture of Kavala with capital the city of Kavala.
Ground: A large section of the area is covered by mountains; the
total percentage of its extent can be illustrated as follows: 34,7%
of its area is flat, 25,9% is hilly and 39,4% mountainous.
The mountain ranges of Macedonia are endings of large
mountainous volumes found outside of the Greek borders. The names of
some of its mountain ranges are:
Agistron 1.295m, Athos 2.033m,
2.177m, Falakro 2.232m, Grammos 2.520m, Hasia 1.565m,
Kaimaktsalan 2.524m, Mayrovouni 1.179m, Menikio
1.963m, Mpelles 1.883m,
Olympos 2.917m, Orvilos 2.212m,
1.956m, Paiko 1.650m,
2.190m, Syniatsiko (Askion) 2.111m, Varnous
2.334m, Vassilitsa 2.249m, Vermio 2.052m, Vitsi (Vernon)
2.128m, Voio 1.802m,
Macedonia is enhanced with a multitude of
fertile plains. They are extended in the length of her rivers and
are separated by her long mountain ranges. The largest flat area is
the plain of Hrisoupolis in the Prefecture of Kavala; another one is
the plain of Drama in the homonym prefecture, the plain of Strimonas
in the Prefecture of Serres. The plains Kilkis, Thessalonica,
Giannitsa, Veria, Edessa, Katerini and Chalkidiki can be found in
the homonym prefectures.
The western part of Macedonia is also a most
mountainous area with plateaus extending between the mountain
ranges. Most plateaus important are the plateau of Florina,
Ptolemaida, Kozani, Kastoria and Grevena.
The forests in Macedonia cover more than 25% of
her surface and they extend on the mountains of Western Macedonia
and between the borders with Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. The trees that
dominate the area are oaks, beech trees and pine trees.
The subsoil of Macedonia is rich in mining
wealth. The main minerals that are found are chromium iron, chromium
nickel alloy, and granulite. In smaller quantities exist layers of
asbestos and copper.
In the Macedonian coastlines the climate is
mild and has the characteristics of Mediterranean climate.
Advancing into the interior however, which is isolated by the
beneficial effect of the Aegean Sea and being surrounded by extended
mountain ranges, the climate becomes continental.
The main rivers which irrigate the fertile
plains of Macedonia are: River Nestos, which springs in Bulgarian
territory and extends 143 km length in Greek territory, River
Strimonas which also originates in Bulgaria and extends 104 km
length in Greek territory, Aggitis is tributary of Strimonas,
Gallikos River which springs from Croatia and has a length of 73 km,
Aksios which springs in Yugoslavia and extends to 82 km in Greek
territory, Loudias and Aliakmonas Rivers, both springing from
Grammos mountain range and extending to 314 km.
A number of lakes can be found in Macedonia:
Kerkini Lake which takes its shape from the course of River
Strimonas, Doirani Lake which is found in the border between Greece
and The FYROM, Lake of Lagkada (Koronia), Volvi Lake, Vegoritis, Lake of Kastoria,Lake
Petron, Lake Hemaditis and the Prespes (Small and Big Prespa).
The peninsula of Chalkidiki in Central
Macedonia is a well-known seacoast spot, famous for its beaches that
lead to three smaller peninsulas, shaping the Gulf of Kassandra and
the Gulf of Sigritiko. In Eastern Macedonia the Kavala Gulf can be
found with Cape Keramon opposing the island of Thassos.
Macedonia is one of the richer regions of
Greece. Its geophysical outline divides the area in three regions:
Westerner, Central and Eastern Macedonia. Each region has its own
economic structure. Central Macedonia is the richer and most
efficient region. It includes the most bountiful plain of the
country, that of Thessalonica, supplying the whole country with its
produce. Livestock farming, even though it is adequately developed,
it plays a secondary role in this area. Central Macedonia is
considered one of the first industrial regions of the country, with
main centers Thessalonica, Veria, Edessa and Naoussa.
Eastern Macedonia is a tobacco-growing region.
Here is produced first quality tobacco, known well all over the
world. Also livestock-farming is developed, mainly that of big
animals. The inferior terrain of Western Macedonia and the
relatively difficult climatic conditions, do not allow efficient
cultivation of the land. Therefore agricultural activities are
combined with the advanced livestock farming. Fishery is also
developed in the region. Seafaring fishery does not exist in this
part of the land because Western Macedonia is landlocked; Fishery
however exists in Macedonia’s sweet waters (lakes, rivers).
Macedonia in the last two
centuries of Ottoman domination was the second center in craft
production after Epirus. It produced all types of popular art and
guilds. The main productive and commercial activity in Macedonia
however, began in 1865, when the French Consulate was established in
Thessalonica, thus establishing commercial transactions with
Marseille, France. During 18th and 19th centuries the major industry
in the area was textile. The workmanship of silver was developed in
north-western Macedonia using mainly the techniques of Filgranou and
Savatiou. The center of copper plating was Thessalonica and Kastoria
became the famous center where the art of fur making was developed.
During the period of the
Ottoman dominion and mainly around the 17th century AD,
the Macedonian architecture became quite distinct. The houses of
Macedonia were distinguished by certain basic characteristics. The
walls of the ground floor were made with stone and they were tied up
with timber, while the walls in the remainder floors were wooden. In
the ground floor we have few and small windows, while in the
remainder floors the windows were numerous. The spaces are
constructed around a big central space and interconnected with
wooden colonnades or with doors. The interior was built with timber.
Macedonian History: The whole
"For I (Alexander I) myself am by ancient descent a Greek, and I
would not willingly see
Hellas change her
freedom for slavery."
(Herod. IX, 45, 2 [Loeb])
"Tell your king (Xerxes), who sent you, how his Greek viceroy (Alexander I) of
Macedonia has received you hospitably."
(Herod. V, 20, 4 [Loeb])
"Now, that these descendants of
Perdiccas are Greeks, as they themselves say, I myself chance to know."
V, 22, 1 [Loeb])
The country by the sea which is now called
Macedonia... Alexander, the father of Perdiccas,
and his forefathers,
who were originally Temenidae from Argos"
(Thucydides 99,3 (Loeb, C F Smith)
"But Alexander (I), proving himself to be an
Argive, was judged to be a Greek;
so he contended in the furlong race and ran a dead heat for first
(Herod. V, 22, 2)
Macedonian people and their kings were of Greek stock, as their traditions and
the scanty remains of their
language combine to testify."
Bagnell Bury, "A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great", 2nd ed.(1913)
"Clearly, the language of the ancient Macedonians was Greek"
John C. Roumans Professor Emeritus of Classics Wisconsin University}
"There is no doubt, that Macedonians were Greeks."
(Robin Lane Fox "Historian-Author" In Interview with newspaper TO BHMA)
historians say FYROMians are of Bulgarian origin and their language
developed from a Bulgarian dialect," which Skopje denies.
But Sofia was also the first country to recognize FYROM's independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and now
joining the EU.
(August 2006 AFP)
FYROMIAN national who does not claim Albanian or Serbian
origin has the right to declare a Bulgarian origin." This is an
individual act in accordance with the historical reality of our
common ethnic origin,”
Stefan Nikolov of the Agency for
Bulgarians Abroad. (August 2006 AFP)
The speech of Alexander I, when
he was admitted to the Olympic games
"Men of Athens...
Had I not greatly at heart the common welfare of Hellas I should not
have come to tell you; but I am myself Hellene by descent, and I would
not willingly see Hellas exchange freedom for slavery....
If you prosper in this war, forget not to do something for my freedom;
consider the risk I have run, out of zeal for the Hellenic cause, to
acquaint you with what Mardonius intends, and to save you from being
surprised by the barbarians.
I am Alexander of Macedon."
(Herodotus, The Histories, 9.45)
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