Macedonia News el
By George Georgakopoulos (ekathimerini)
The fairy tale continues for APOEL Nicosia in Europe as the Cinderella of the Champions League eliminated Lyon in the penalty shootout and reached the last eight of the competition on Wednesday.
Former AEK Athens player Gustavo Manduca scored in the ninth minute at Nicosia’s GSP stadium to cancel out Lyon’s 1-0 victory in the first leg of the round-of-16 tie in France.
The team of former Iraklis coach Ivan Jovanovic held on to its lead throughout the 90 minutes as well as the extra-time, despite having to play from the 113th minute with a man less due to the second yellow card shown to Brazilian Manduca.
The capacity crowd at the 25,000-seater stadium held its collective breath as the two teams went to penalties: Chiotis dived twice to his left to save the shots by Alexandre Lacazette and Michel Bastos and give APOEL a 4-3 win in the shootout as the Cypriot team made no mistakes from the spot.
“We represent Cypriot Greeks, Cypriot soccer and of course Greece, as above all we are a Greek team,” APOEL spokesman Panikos Hatziliassis told Cypriot state radio RIK after the end of the game.
(News from real/true Macedonia, Greece  ,  )
Set on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Orestiada, in Greece’s mountainous northwest, Kastoria is one of the most enchanting and interesting mainland towns, despite the recent proliferation of apartment blocks.
Its attractions are owed equally to its location, on the lake and in the shadow of mountains Vitsi and Grammos, as well as its long history and prosperity — the result of its tradition as the center of the fur trade in the Balkans. In fact, one explanation for the origin of the town’s name is the Greek word for beaver, “kastoras,” while another is the namesake mythical Macedonian hero, a son of Zeus.
The town’s past dates back to prehistory, as attested by the 1932 findings at the lakeside settlement of Dispilio. It was fortified during Byzantine times — when the fur trade is thought to have started — and was hotly contested by a number of invaders going back to the 11th century, including Normans and Bulgarians — especially the latter.
Today Kastoria, with a population of about 20,000, boasts some 70 Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches, as well as about half a dozen splendid mansions (“archontika”) of the old fur families, from the 16th to the 19th centuries, when the trade was perhaps at its peak. Local furriers established branches in most major European cities. Some of them are still in operation, although the number of enterprises has significantly diminished in the last few decades. In more recent years, the town has not been a major trapping center, but mostly relied on fur scraps imported from Canada, Scandinavia and, more recently, Russia to make coats and other items. Even today, the visitor is struck by the ubiquitous signs in Russian — a measure of the still strong commercial ties with Eastern Europe.
The broader district, with its cultural, archaeological, environmental and natural attractions, is a prime winter destination. A walk around the old neighborhoods is not to be missed.
The aesthetically lacking building boom of the 1970s and 1980s, mostly evident along the southern part of the peninsula, fortunately left intact the old quarters of Doltso and Apozari and the old archontika in the heart of the town — boasting two or three levels – which have been restored and reinhabited or turned into guesthouses and museums, such as the Nerantzi-Aivazi mansion, whose former occupants left in 1972 and which is now an excellent folk history musuem.
A number of the old Byzantine churches are also worth seeing, both for their architecture and frescoes. The oldest, Taxiarches, dates to the 9th century. Panaghia Koumbelidiki, so named because of its unusual dome (“kubbe” in Turkish), has the best-preserved and illuminated frescoes. The Byzantine Museum (Dexameni Sq, tel 24670.22325) exhibits some priceless old icons.
But one of visitors’ and locals’ favorite activities in Kastoria is taking a stroll along the footpath that runs around the lakeshore of the peninsula — about 8 kilometers long — lined with plane trees and the occasional fountain.
The lake, which has an area of 28 square kilometers, hosts plenty of wildlife — including frogs, tortoises, cormorants and Dalmatian pelicans. Winter in Kastoria usually lives up to its name and there is a good chance you will catch idyllic images of frozen or snow-capped tree branches hanging over the water. The setting is, in fact, perfect for an invigorating winter walk.
At the far end of the peninsula is the Mavriotissa Monastery, with fine frescoes both on the interior and exterior walls of the 11th-century church.
The road around the lake leads to the villages of Dispilio, Mavrovo and Polykarpi, in the midst of apple groves and worth a visit. For those eager for more exploration, the route to Mt Grammos is particularly rewarding, through pine and fir forest on impressive mountain slopes with fine views of the Aliakmonas River, Greece’s longest.
A shorter route, to Mt Vitsi, reveals a landscape full of color, fragrances and wild herbs. The area is also excellent for mushroom picking in spring and fall. Higher up, in the Korestia area, you’ll find several deserted villages, relics of a bygone era.
A good time to visit Kastoria is January 6-8, the time the town organizes Ragoutsaria, the main local festival and first carnival of the year.
Transport & useful info
Area telephone code: 24670. Olympic Airlines has flights on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. From the airport, at Argos Orestikou, you need a taxi. Kastoria is 570 kilometers from Athens, via Lamia, Trikala and Kozani, and 219 km from Thessaloniki via Kozani. In both cases, there is highway but also a good deal of tight turns and narrow stretches. Τhere are three intercity bus connections from Athens daily (210.515.2548) and seven from Thessaloniki (2310.595.440). Car rental: 84000.
Where to stay
Most hotels have good views of the lake: Archontiko Alexiou Vergoula (imposing traditional guesthouse, 23415, http://www.vergoulas.gr), Venetoula (homely neoclassical, 22446, http://www.venetula.gr), Limneon (outside town, modern design, 85111), Tsamis (classic hotel outside town, simple decor, 85344), Loggas (luxury, stone-built, 7 km from town, 72424), Aeidrosos Chloe (29721), Aiolis (21070), Aposkepos (21480, in the namesake village, owner gives traditional cooking lessons).
Where to eat
Casablanca: good Mediterranean cuisine, Tuesdays closed (80 Nikis); Katergo: friendly eatery in a former jail, in-house tsipouro distillery, low prices, Mondays closed (19 Oresteion); Doltso: an old furrier’s mansion, serves boar when available (2 Tsakali); Krontiri: local cuisine, good views (13 Orestiados). Cafes: Nautical Club: superb view of the lake, live bands in the evening, Mondays-Tuesdays closed (1 Sougaridi); Zaza: 1 M. Alexandrou; Lago: 53 M. Alexandrou; Domus: trendy bar (7 Ermou); Cohiba: 2 Orestion.
What to see & activities
Traditional Costumes Museum (25188); the Musical Instruments Construction and Study School (12 Aiditras) has live concerts at weekends; the 15-million-year-old petrified forest and other fossils at Nostimo village, 27 km south of Kastoria; the walls of ancient Dioklitianoupolis, outside Argos Orestikou; the spa baths at Ammoudara; the Environmental Education Center (23069, email@example.com); take a boat tour of the lake — Overland (6973.051.2131) and Escape Land (6997.162.395) organize outdoor sports.
Η ιδέα ηχούσε παράξενα πριν από εννιά χρόνια: μια οικολογική γιορτή στη Βλάστη Κοζάνης, ένα ορεινό χωριό της Δυτικής Μακεδονίας, σε υψόμετρο 1.240 μέτρων. Σε μια εποχή που οι συλλογικότητες υποχωρούν, το περιβάλλον φαίνεται να απασχολεί όλο και λιγότερο τους πολίτες και επιπλέον επιλέγοντας έναν τόπο μακρυά από πολυσύχναστους καθιερωμένους τουριστικούς προορισμούς που γειτνιάζει με μια περιοχή περιβαλλοντικά υποβαθμισμένη από τα θερμοηλεκτρικά εργαστάσια της ΔΕΗ, η διοργάνωση των Γιορτών της Γης έδινε την εντύπωση ενός πρόωρα χαμένου στοιχήματος.
Ωστόσο η Κοινότητα Βλάστης και η Εταιρεία Περιβαλλοντικής Έρευνας και Ενημέρωσης OΙΚOΤOΠΙΑ, τόλμησαν, και με την αρχική συμπαράσταση της Διεύθυνσης Περιβάλλοντος της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής, κατόρθωσαν από την πρώτη κιόλας χρονιά, το 2001, να «τραβήξουν» τα βλέμματα όλων όσων αναζητούν κάτι διαφορετικό και οι Γιορτές της Γης να καθιερωθούν ως ένα από τα ξεχωριστά καλοκαιρινά events.
Εύστοχα χαρακτηρίστηκε από τον τύπο ως «ένα φεστιβάλ για σκεπτόμενους ανθρώπους», καθώς οι επισκέπτες συμμετέχουν σε πλήθος πολιτιστικών και περιβαλλοντικών δραστηριοτήτων, που επιπλέον αποτελούν μια πρόταση εναλλακτικών διακοπών, μια πρόταση πολιτιστική, μια πρόταση διαχείρισης του ελεύθερου χρόνου, ακόμα και μια πρόταση εναλλακτικής διατροφής. Παράλληλα οι Γιορτές της Γης φιλοδοξούν να λειτουργήσουν ως καταλύτης για την αειφόρο ανάπτυξη και το ξαναζωντάνεμα της ευρύτερης ορεινής υπαίθρου, καθώς η Βλάστη παρά την μεγάλη της ακμή στις αρχές του αιώνα, σήμερα φθίνει πληθυσμιακά ακολουθώντας την μοίρα όλων σχεδόν των ορεινών κοινοτήτων της χώρας μας.
Περισσότεροι από 80.000 επισκέπτες έχουν συμμετάσχει τα οκτώ αυτά χρόνια, στις 39 συνολικά ημέρες φεστιβαλικών δραστηριοτήτων. Με φυσικό σκηνικό το λιβάδι, κεντρικό σημείο αναφοράς του οικισμού της Βλάστης, έλληνες και ξένοι καλλιτέχνες μας ταξίδεψαν με ήχους και ρυθμούς παραδοσιακούς, έθνικ, τζαζ και ροκ. Ανάμεσά τους οι Kultur Shock (USA), Fanfare Ciocarlia (Ρουμανία), ο Shantel (Γερμανία), ο Ivo Papasov και o Theodosii Spasov (Βουλγαρία), ο Trilok Gurtu (Ινδία), ο Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar και οι KAL (Σερβία), οι DelaDap (Austria), ο Khalid K.και οι Compagnie Cameleon (France), οι Hands Percussion Team (Malaysia), o Νίκος Παπάζογλου, ο Αλκίνοος Ιωαννίδης, ο Θανάσης Παπακωνσταντίνου, ο Παντελής Θαλασσινός, ο Σωκράτης Μάλαμας, η Καλλιόπη Βέττα, η Μάρθα Φριντζήλα, η Λιζέτα Καλημέρη, η Μελίνα Κανά, ο Δημήτρης Zερβουδάκης, ο Πετρο-Λούκας Χαλκιάς, o Χρίστος Τσιαμούλης, η Σοφία Παπάζογλου, ο Αγάθωνας, η Μαριώ, η Ρούλα Μανισσάνου, το συγκρότημα ΤΑΧΙΜΙ από τη Σουηδία, οι Mode Plagal, πολλά νεανικά συγκροτήματα (Δάρνακες, Δυτικές Συνοικίες, Xaxakes, Tσοπάνα Rave, FFC, κά), αλλά και αρκετά συγκροτήματα έθνικ μουσικής από Ιταλία, Γαλλία, Ισπανία, Τσεχία, Τουρκία, Σερβία και Ινδία.
Αλλά οι Γιορτές της Γης δεν εξαντλούνται στην απλή διοργάνωση μιας σειράς συναυλιών. Στόχος μας είναι η λειτουργία μιας «οικολογικής πόλης» με την αγορά της, το χώρο του πολιτισμού, του θεάματος και του φαγητού, όπου ο πολίτης βιώνει μια διαφορετική λογική, σε αρμονία με το περιβάλλον, συμμετέχοντας σε μια μεγάλη γιορτή, που περιλαμβάνει συναυλίες, παιδότοπο, θέατρα δρόμου και παραστάσεις Καραγκιόζη, εικαστικές και φωτογραφικές εκθέσεις, εικαστικές παρεμβάσεις, σεμινάρια και συζητήσεις, παζάρι βιολογικών προϊόντων και χειροτεχνιών, παρουσίαση της δράσης περιβαλλοντικών οργανώσεων, περιβαλλοντικά παιχνίδια, ορεινές αθλητικές δραστηριότητες, κ.α.
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- Macedonia News : Vlasti.. The fair maiden of Kozani (Macedonia News -News from real/true Macedonia, Greece  ,  )
Once-thriving Macedonian village is perfect base from which to explore the region…
The village of Vlasti in the region of Kozani, northern Greece, is on a plateau with rich vegetation and alpine meadows at an altitude of 1,180 meters between mounts Askio (or Siniatsiko) and Mouriki. The latter is much greener than its neighbor, whose name means “without shade,” due to the fact that it is practically devoid of trees. The reason why the mountain’s vegetation has been stripped is likely the activities of the “teligato,” a cooperative form of intensive livestock farmers that prevailed throughout Greece during Ottoman rule and is responsible for many a barren hillop.
The history of Vlasti begins somewhere around 1570, when the residents of Eordaia and Sisianoupoli were expelled from their villages by Turkish settlers/farmers (known as “koniari”), and sought a new, inaccessible place to set up home where they would be protected from further raids. Vlasti was not registered as an organized settlement until 1611. During the Orlov Revolt in 1770 — which, instigated by the Russian Count Orlov, commander of the Russian navy during the Russo-Turkish War in the Peloponnese, spread to other parts of the country only to end ingloriously when the Russian abandoned the Greeks to their fate — and the pillaging of Moschopolis — a region in Albania with a large Greek and Vlach population that was punished by the Muslim Albanians for its participation in the Orlov Revolt — a large number of Greek and Vlach refugees from that region settled in Vlasti.
Previously something of a backwater, Vlasti gained a significant boost from this influx of refugees, who contributed to its growth and importance, attracting more settlers from Epirus and other parts of Macedonia.
The rocky terrain and rich alpine meadows were especially conducive to livestock farming, which quickly took hold and became a staple of the local economy, with other sectors developing around it, such as dairy and textile production, as well as commerce. As the economy grew, so did professional diversity, with a number of residents becoming carpenters, builders, architects, painters, jewelers, etc.
Vlasti came under the jurisdiction of the Valide Sultan (Queen Mother) of the Ottoman Empire, who granted it numerous privileges that boosted its security, as well as its economic, social and cultural evolution. Vlasti got its first school for boys in 1843 and for girls in 1856.
Soon after the introduction of high school education to the village, the people of Vlasti began making their fortunes further afield, settling in Belgrade, Vienna, Venice, Trieste, Bucharest and other parts of Europe and the Balkans, earning wealth, academic qualifications and peerage titles. But this boom period ended in the early 20th century, as Vlasti was unable to ride out the repercussions of the Macedonian Struggle, the Balkan Wars and World War I. In World War II, the village was incinerated by the Nazis, and during the Greek Civil War, its residents abandoned it completely.
Some 800 residents returned in 1950 or thereabouts, but Vlasti never returned to its former glory and followed the fate of so many other mountain villages around the country whose residents preferred to seek their fortunes in the big city.
Vlasti, or Blasti as it is known today by locals, is located 52 kilometers from the city of Kozani and 24 km from Ptolemaida, and the trip from both cities is beautiful. The village currently has only around 100 permanent residents, but the population has been steadily rising in recent years as pensioners return and young people leave Greece’s crisis-hit cities looking to settle down in the countryside.
Vlasti is not a destination for a long holiday, but it is perfect as a base from which to explore the region, including towns like Kastoria, Siatista and Kozani, which are all marvelous. The village offers pleasant walks along narrow cobbled streets and good food at the local tavernas, and also boasts some very pretty old homes and churches.
How to get there
By car, Vlasti is located 555 km from Athens. The road is good, especially since the detour through Kastania was reopened. The route from Athens is to Larissa – Katerini – Veria, and then on to the Egnatia Highway to Vlasti via Kozani.
Where to stay
Galanos Hotel (tel 24630.92590, http://www.galanoshotel.gr). Located just 400 m from Vlasti’s main square, this recently opened traditional stone-built guesthouse has spacious, elegantly decorated rooms. Rates start at 60 euros for two people with breakfast. The Giannioti Estate (tel 24630.92090, 6945.953.500, http://www.ktimagiannioti.gr) is a new guesthouse, built with style and care. The service is excellent and the restaurant a must. Rates start at 80 euros for a double room with breakfast. The Lambas Hotel (tel 24630.92111) is one of Vlasti’s oldest and is built on a slope overlooking the entire village. The rooms are clean, warm and comfortable, though somewhat basic. Rates start at 40 euros for a double room with breakfast. Liotropi (tel 24630.92464) is a small guesthouse with five cozy rooms, located on the village’s main square. Rates start at 45 euros for a double room with breakfast.
Severe criticism and attacks against Gruevski’s policies by a number of FYROM’s Media and the Opposition Party was the outcome of the Wednesday interview of the FYROM’s PM in Dnevnik.
The PM of the former Yugoslav Republic, more or less, announced a black prognoses on what is awaiting his country at the NATO Summit taking place in Chicago. Gruevski stated that the chances for FYROM to join NATO at the summit in May are very slim.
In order to explain the dead-end that his Nationalistic policies led his country, he tried once more to put the blame elsewhere and conveniently leave out himself. Namely he stated that the great powers are preoccupied with their internal problems and are totally disinterested in resolving the name issue.
The essential admittance by Gruevski of the dead-end caused an uproar between the Opposition and a considerable number of FYROM’s Media. Utrinski Vesnik published on its front page a photograph of Gruevski watching himself in a mirror. The newspaper mentioned that Gruevski finally realized what is really happening and his illusions related to the judgement of the Hague were clobbered.
Fokus also predicted a Fiasco waiting Gruevski’s government in the NATO Summit. In a newspaper’s article it is mentioned that Gruevski has reached a wall in the end of the road he chose. Now instead of blaming himself for the road he chose, he blames the wall.
In the meantime, ELIAMEP organised two days ago a Public Debate regarding The future of relations between Greece and the FYROM. The Speakers who among them were found the former advisor of the Greek MFA, Mr E. Kofos and the ret. Ambassador, Mr A. Mallias emphasized that Greece should denounce the Interim Accord, since its constantly violated by FYROM.
Want more of this? See these Posts:
- PM Gruevski´s hardline policy leaves FYROM out of NATO summit yet again
- FYROM’s Officials Have Nobody to Blame for their NATO Summit’s Fiasco But Themselves
- Opposition Slams FYROM PM Over “Anti-NATO” Comments
- Macedonia News : FYROM Begs Greece to Unblock Its EU Accession Talks
- Milososki-Simmons: FYROMacedonia remains qualified for NATO membership, name issue must be resolved
- Μετά τη Χάγη
- “Η Ελλάδα θα μπορούσε να προχωρήσει σε καταγγελία της Ενδιάμεσης Συμφωνίας εάν τα Σκόπια δυναμιτίσουν με την προκλητικότητά τους την διαπραγμάτευση στον ΟΗΕ”
- Ένα ρεπορτάζ από το Συνέδριο ΕΛΙΑΜΕΠ: «Τα επόμενα βήματα στις σχέσεις Ελλάδας-πΓΔΜ»
- Ενδιάμεση Συμφωνία & Χρονικό – Χάγη
- Χάγη πριν και μετά
- Απορρίπτουμε τη λεγόμενη σύνθετη ονομασία
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The new round of meetings will be hosted by Matthew Nimetz, the U.N. mediator, and representatives from borth parties. Greece will be represented by the Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis and FYROM by the Ambassador Zoran Jolevski.
Up to now FYROM applied a tactic of postponing the process until the judgement in The Hague was declared. This resulted the Name Negotiations essentially to be “frozen”. After the Hague’s Judgement, FYROM’s PM Nikola Gruevski tried unsuccessfully to create an impression through his statements and actions that the Greek side is to be blamed for not reaching any progress.
Want more of this? See these Posts:
- Macedonia News : FYROM Begs Greece to Unblock Its EU Accession Talks
- FYROM organizations call for cease in name negotiations with Greece
- Macedonia News – Former FYROM’s PM admits FYROM’s Slavs rewrite Greek History
- UN mediator on FYROM name issue due in Athens Friday
- Macedonia News: MINA “News” Agency is caught again Fabricating News
Macedonia News – One of the most famous Macedonian hotels in Greece, the Makedonia Palace is to set to reopen on January 14 according to infos from ekathimerini. This was agreed after the IKA social security fund, which owns the building, and the hotel managers reached a deal to keep the operation going for a few more months.
The Daskalantonakis Group, which manages the hotel issued a statement in November saying that it had failed to reach an agreement with IKA to renew the lease.
However, the sides have agreed on a compromise for Daskalantonakis to keep operating the hotel until October next year while IKA seeks someone willing to sign a long-term lease.
The deal also means that 95 percent of the staff – reported to number about 120 people – will retain their jobs until October.
The Makedonia Palace, which is situated on the Thessaloniki promenade, just a few meters from the Macedonian city’s famous White Tower in Northern Greece, has almost 300 rooms.
It is the temporary home of the Greek prime minister and cabinet when they attend the Thessaloniki International Fair each year, and the resting place for celebrities from the world of cinema who attend the city’s annual film festival.
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