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The town of Velvento in the Prefecture of Kozani - the keeper of Aliakmonas

26 January 2013 / 18:01:48  GRReporter
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Velvento, a small town of 4,000 residents, is located at the foot of Western Pieria. It enjoys a wonderful location near the Polyfytos dam along the Aliakmonas River. It has centuries of history and you can see traces of ancient fortified villages hiding among the rich vegetation. The site provides a unique opportunity for the visitor to experience relaxing moments close to nature with all the amenities of a small organised town. The historic city centre, with its narrow streets, traditional houses with their Macedonian architecture, modern houses, flowered courtyards, small squares and beautiful corners, creates a multicoloured mosaic, lost among the green valley, full of aromatic fruit and lots of water. And all this is related to a simple lifestyle and strong traditions.

At the entrance of the village you can find the churches of Agios Minas (built in the 12th century) and Agios Nikolaos (built in the 16th century) which represent just two of the 80 pictorial and wonderful churches that adorn the area of Velvento. Be sure not to miss the Kastanaras spring, all the small squares and green parks. Just outside the village you can find the Papastamatis Mill and Kosmas Mill (near Metohi), as well as a lot of fountains with the cold water of Pieria scattered inside and outside Velvento.

Visit also some small neighbourhoods like Psiri, Barangas and Tsablak, where you can enjoy the hospitality of their residents. One must try the local cuisine at the tavernas in the square. Velvento is famous for its local tsipouro brandy and wine, delicious appetizers, taverns and cafes.

Another landmark that should not be missed is the newly renovated "Konstas Mansion" which now houses the Folkloric Museum. If you explore the neighbouring areas of the Velvento municipality you will enjoy some fascinating panoramic views of the dam and the region of Western Macedonia, as well as Olympus. The fields around Velvento are full of peaches, apples and vines. Here, you can visit wineries in the area and try their wine. Vogiatzis, Zandes and Kamkoutis are the three main Velventian wine producers, and the city is included in the Roads of Wine Programme.

About 2.5 km from Velvento is the gorge "of the nine Pierian Muses" or "Skepasmeno" (meaning "covered"). This is a natural site of spectacular beauty, with its waterfalls, natural ponds, sycamore trees, frozen springs, abundant vegetation and impressive rocks. You can enjoy the views of the first 25m-high triple waterfall from the recently built wooden observation post.

The Polyfytos Dam was built in 1973 after the construction of the lake of the same name along the Aliakmonas river. It is crossed by the high bridge Servia, the largest bridge in the Balkans, which is 1,372 m long, and the small bridge Rimniou. Some 17 species of freshwater fish live in the waters of the lake. The area is an important refuge for birds of prey because it provides shelter, food and nesting sites. The dam offers a lot of activities such as swimming, fishing and other sporting activities. It is also very interesting to visit the dam's reservoir which can be reached via a scenic route along the lake.

How to get there:

By car, from Athens, via the National Motorway Athens-Thessaloniki (E75): turn at Larisa and make your way towards Elasona-Kozani (E65). Some 1.5 hours later, you will reach Servia town. You will find the exit for the town of Velvento 2km down the Servia-Kozani Local Road.

By air, with Olympic Airlines: Athens - Kozani - Kastoria

Tags: Velvento Kozani Pieria Polyfytos waterfalls
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