GREECE: EDESSA

GREECE: EDESSA

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 07:41

City of Waterfalls holds charming old architecture, laid-back atmosphere – to sound of constantly running water

edessa-greece-waterfall.jpg

Edessa's main waterfall

Many cities are situated on famous rivers or seas, but Edessa, in northern Greece, was founded on waterfalls.

Edessa sits on the edge of one of the easternmost outcrops of the Pindus mountains, where streams and rivulets jump through thick greenery and fantastically shaped rocks. Water has been its defining feature since the very beginning, as evident in its Greek and Bulgarian names. Both Edessa and Voden mean Water City.

The earliest Edessa, however, appeared at this particular spot not because of the waterfalls, but because its location on the ancient route crossing the Balkans east to west was more important. The Ancient Macedonians were the first to settle here, at the foot of the hills, in what became their first-ever capital city. As centuries came and went, ancient Edessa grew and prospered. Its inhabitants were unable to cope with the constant Barbarian raids that ravaged the region in the 4th-6th centuries AD. Later, however, they abandoned the city and would not return for the next 500 years. This time, the settlers chose for their new home the top of the hills, by the streams and waterfalls. The upland location provided security, and the abundant water sources were crucial for withstanding sieges.

Edessa, Greece

Modern Edessa with its traditional houses seen from the ruins of ancient Edessa

In the following centuries, Byzantines and Bulgarians, Normans and Serbs fought for control of Edessa, with the Ottomans taking the upper hand in the 14th century. The city had a vibrant, multinational population of Greeks, Bulgarians, Turks, Pomaks, and Vlachs that by the late 19th century lived in beautiful wooden houses and used the abundant water as a cheap source of energy for pre-industrial rope and cordage production. Tensions within the community grew nonetheless, as both Bulgarians and Greeks claimed ownership of the town that was still part of the Ottoman Empire.

In the first decades of the 20th century, Edessa changed dramatically, as a series of wars made the city a part of Greece. After an exchange of populations, Edessa's inhabitants were now predominantly Greek, and the import of cheap industrial goods made the primitive mills by the waterfalls redundant.

Today, Edessa is quiet and blissfully overlooked by international tourists. The ruins of its ancient predecessor stand among the lush greenery at the foot of the hill. Water gushes through the centre of the city, flowing by beautiful old mansions, a 14th century church, an Ottoman bridge and a mosque, and a pretty railway station, a rarity in Greece. Then it rushes through a tranquil garden of mighty plane trees with the inevitable– and inevitably excellent – restaurant. Much has changed, but one thing stays the same: the water still fills the air with its freshness, chaotic and deafening, yet soothing, noise, before tumbling into the abyss. Edessa's fairy-tale waterfalls are best experienced on a hot day, and at dawn, when the rising sun turns them into gleaming columns of water.

Edessa, Greece

Edessa's main waterfall appeared, supposedly, in the 14th century after a lake, located on top of the hill, overflew

Edessa, Greece

Edessa's old centre was extensively renovated and revamped in recent years

Edessa, Greece

Rivers, canals and bridges define central Edessa. In summertime, they are fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes

Edessa, Greece

The ruins of ancient Edessa are witness of the time when the city was important for its strategic location rather than its abundant water

Edessa, Greece

Boasting a restored medieval church, Holy Trinity Monastery is another site of interest near Edessa

Issue 162 Greece
0 comments

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Discover More

thessaloniki train cemetery 2_0.jpg
GREECE: WHERE TRAINS GO TO DIE
We have written extensively, with justification, about the many charms of Thessaloniki. A short drive from Bulgaria, the second largest city in Greece abounds with pleasures for both body and the soul.

Glyfa.JPG
FTHIOTIDA, GREECE: A SAFE, ACCESSIBLE AND HIGH-QUALITY DESTINATION FOR SUMMER VACATION IN 2020
Domestic scientific and healthcare human capital’s efficiency in tackling the virus’s spread has made Greece as one of the safer destinations, in which everybody can spend their holidays, a vacation time that will not be deployed under usual norms.

tbilisi2018.jpg
GEORGIA: A SAFE DESTINATION IN COVID-19 STRICKEN WORLD
2020 is particularly bad year for people who love to travel the world, to discover new landscapes, cultures, food and experiences. In a time of closed borders and fear of contagion, a country stands out. 

lesbos greece.jpg
LESBOS: GREEK ISLAND OF DISCOVERY PROFFERS POETRY, OUZO AND MUCH TO EXPLORE
In popular imagination, Lesbos is associated with Sappho, the ancient Greek poetess who composed enchanting love poems inspired by and dedicated to other women.

sigri petrified forest.pg_.jpg
WALKING THROUGH FOREST OF STONE
T-Rexes and diplodocs, pterodactyls and megalodons.

constanta.jpg
CITY OVER COLD WATERS
As a rule, Bulgarians are not interested in Romania. They would rather go south, with Greece and Turkey being their favourites especially in summer time.

cappadocia hot air baloons.jpg
TURKEY'S WORST KEPT SECRET
A cloud of dust appears on the edge of the horizon, where the flat plains give way to snow-covered peaks. As the cloud comes nearer, low thunder rumbles through the air. The noise increases, the dust rises.

chalkidiki.jpg
CHALKIDIKI FEVER
Every year, come a long weekend and the start of the holiday season, the Bulgarian media focus on this nation's border crossings with Greece, and start counting the cars in the queues.

batumi.jpg
ROUND BLACK SEA IN 3 VAGABONDS PART 3: CITIES
Several major cities border the Black Sea. They are home to millions of people, with their own personality and atmosphere, monuments of interest and distinctive cuisine.

black sea.jpg
ROUND BLACK SEA IN 3 VAGABONDS PART 2: THE NATURE
What do you need to make a sea? In the case of the Black Sea, you take three tectonic plates between Europe and Asia that clash, divide and subside under the pressure of volcanic activity for several million years, and let rivers and rains fill the gaps.

bosphorus.jpg
ROUND BLACK SEA IN 3 VAGABONDS. PART 1: THE HISTORY
It encompasses six countries, with wide rivers, majestic mountains and splendid beaches, and the remains of ancient civilisations and modern developments.

ohrid lake.jpg
NORTH MACEDONIA
The Balkans are associated in the common imagination with bloody conflicts, but in recent months a series of events challenged this notion. After years of grandstanding and disputes two Balkan countries finally agreed on... a name.