journey through cherry orchards of pella
Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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Journey through cherry orchards of Pella

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Arab Today, arab today Journey through cherry orchards of Pella

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If you decide to travel to the prefecture of Pella during these late days of spring, not only will you delight in the beautiful mountains and forests of Central Macedonia, but also in the waterfalls and blooming cherry orchards of Edessa, the region’s main city. The birthplace of Alexander the Great and one-time capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, this semi-mountainous border region is somewhat off the beaten track as tourism has only started to take off in the past few years. Best known for its waterfalls, Edessa, the capital of the prefecture, has a population of around 25,000 and is graced by a good number of traditional stone houses and neoclassical mansions. The gurgling of water can be heard everywhere in the town, which is traversed by the Voda River, a fact that earned Edessa the nickname “Manchester of the East” back in the 1920s and 30s thanks to the large number of factories that operated here using hydropower. The industrial history of the river of 200 bridges can be explored in depth during a visit to the Open-Air Water Museum. Every part of Greece is beautiful in the springtime, but Central Macedonia is that much more so thanks to its forests and rivers, and the blossoming cherry trees on the slopes of Mount Kaimaktsalan. In Edessa itself, take some time to walk around the old Christian quarters, a neighborhood known today as Varosi. Along the narrow cobbled streets you will see fine specimens of traditional Macedonian architecture, as well as a 14th-century Byzantine church dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin. The Karanos waterfall is also a must-see, which at 70 meters is the tallest in Greece while a cave exists behind its cascading torrents. The waterfall was created during a large earthquake in 1395 that razed almost the entire city to the ground. The rest of Pella is well worth exploring too, though most visitors come for the Pozar natural therapeutic springs, which are located 32 kilometers from Edessa and are renowned for their curative properties. Near the springs is the town of Aridaia, until 2006 the capital of the Eparchy (province) of Almopia and which today hosts a population of 30,000. The area was named after Arrhidaeus, son of Amyntas III, the half-brother of Philip, father of Alexander the Great. The Eparchy of Almopia, whose total area of 1,021 square kilometers is 70 percent forestland, was known as Moglena by the Bulgarians and Karatzova by the Turks, who made good use of its rich, fertile soil. If you look closely, you will see traces of the historic Decauville railway, whose tracks started in Skydra and ended up in Kilkis, carrying supplies to the Allied troops in World War I. The train remained in use until 1936 or 1938. Seven kilometers northwest of Edessa is the wetland of Agra-Vritton-Nisiou, formed by a dam built by the Public Power Corporation on the site of a marsh that is mentioned in antiquity and was once the bed of the Edesaios River. Located at an altitude of 475 meters, the 600-hectare wetland is covered mostly by reeds and provides shelter for a number of rare species and migrating birds. The wetland is listed for protection under Greek and international regulations following the discovery of 36 species of birds, three reptiles, two amphibians, two mammals and one fish that are rare or endangered. To revel in the cherry orchards for which the region is known, visit the villages of Arnissa, Nisi, Platani, Agra, Kerasia and Karydia. Try to make time for a stop at Aghios Athanasios with its elegant stone houses reminiscent of an Alpine village. If you feel up to a bit of road trip, head off from Aridaia along the route through the villages of Foustani, Aitochori, Notia and Archangelos. From there, climb up Mount Paiko for Megalo Livadi and head back down through Kastaneri and Giannitsa to Edessa. From/ekathimerini

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