Pieria

Pieria (Greek: Πιερία) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is located in the southern part of Macedonia, in the Region of Central Macedonia. Its capital is the town of Katerini. Pieria is the smallest regional unit within Macedonia. The name Pieria originates from the ancient tribe Pieres and the ancient country of Pieris. In Pieria, there are many sites of archeological interest, such as Dion, Pydna and Platamonas. Pieria is also home to Mt. Pierus where Hermes launches himself from to visit Calypso (Odyssey 5.50), home to Orpheus and the Muses, as well as the Pierian Spring. Mt. Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece and throne of the ancient Greek gods, is located in the southern part of Pieria. Other ancient cities included Leibethra and Pimpleia. The Pieria regional unit is bordered by Larissa (Thessaly) to the south and west, Kozani to the west and Imathia to the north. The Pierian Mountains lie to the west. The Thermaic Gulf lies to the east. It also has a valley by the GR-13. Most of the population live within the Olympian Riviera. The lowest point is the Thermian Gulf and the highest point is Mount Olympus.  It combines extensive plains, high mountains and sandy beaches. The region's beauty gives it a great potential for further tourist development.  Its climate is mainly of Mediterranean type with hot summers and cool winters. Severe winter weather is common in the central and western parts of Pieria, especially in the Pierian Mountains and on Mount Olympus. The region, known as Pieria or Pieris (Ancient Greek: Πιερία/Πιερίς) in Antiquity, took its name from the Pieres (Πίερες),a Thracian tribe that was expelled by the Macedonians in the 8th century BC from their original seats, and driven to the North beyond the Strymon river and Mount Pangaeus, where they formed a new settlement. The name Pieria has been connected to Homeric πῖαρ "fat", πίειραν ἄρουραν "fertile land" in a metaphorical sense. At some time before the archaic period Pieria was incorporated in the Kingdom of Macedon (808 BC, see below) when it became the second province of the ancient kingdom, following its fate through the rule of the Antipatrid dynasty (302 BC - 277 BC) and the Antigonid dynasty (306 BC - 168 BC). It became part of the Roman Republic after the Fourth Macedonian War, and remained part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire.   It was later invaded and became a part of the Ottoman Empire. During the Greek War of Independence in 1821, Pieria took up arms along with the rest of Greece, but their struggle failed and Pieria did not join the rest of Greece until the Balkan Wars in 1913. Until 1947, Pieria was part of the Thessaloniki Prefecture (at that time the largest Greek prefecture), as a province. Pieria saw an economic boom in agriculture and business. During the Greco-Turkish War, it saw an influx of refugees from Asia Minor, now a part of Turkey, and several places were named after their former homelands including Nea Trapezounta from Trezibond (now Trabzon) and Nea Efesos from Ephesus (now Efes). The village of Elafos in the municipal unit Elafina, formerly a community in the Imathia prefecture, was united with Pieria in 1974.   On June 8, 2007, a low pressure weather system from Southern and Central Europe resulted in heavy rainfall that ravaged the prefecture and caused great damage in fruit and vegetable production. The worst hit area was Korinos.

 

Katerini

Katerini (Greek: Κατερίνη, former name: Αἰκατερίνη - Aikaterini; "Catherine") is a town in Central Macedonia, Greece, the capital of Pieriaregional unit. It lies on the Pierian plain, between Mt. Olympus and the Thermaikos Gulf, at an altitude of 14 m. The town, which is one of the newest in Greece, has a population of 85,851 (according to the 2011 census). It is near the city of Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, which has been beneficial for Katerini's development over recent years. Katerini is accessible from the main Thessaloniki–Athens highway GR-1/E75 (with two interchanges near the town) and the Egnatia Odos to the north. It is served by both Intercity and local trains on the main railway line from Athens to Thessaloniki and there is a comprehensive regional and national bus service with its hub in the town.

A popular tourist destination, Katerini is close to the sea (6 km) and to several archaeological sites of great interest such as the ancient city of Dion (5th century BC, 17 km away) and the Castle of Platamon. The beaches of Korinos, Paralia and Olympiaki Akti (or Katerinoskala) are visited by both Greek and international tourists during the summer. The base of Mount Olympus and the town of Litochoro, are at a distance of around 20 kilometres from the centre of Katerini.

The origin of the name is obscure. The modern town was probably founded during Ottoman rule, but already from the 13th century, travellers as well as maps record the existence of a settlement called Hatera (Ἅτηρα), which may have been the origin of the modern name. Thus Felix Beaujour recorded its name as "Katheri", while François Pouqueville gives the name of the settlement as "Kateri Hatera". According to another theory, the town derives its name from the small chapel dedicated to Saint Catherine (Aikaterini in Greek) to the east of the town, dating to at least the early 19th century. The latter hypothesis influenced official usage, where the town is found as "Aikaterini" or "Agia Aikaterini" until the early 20th century, until the vernacular name Katerini prevailed.

According to the reports of travellers, at the turn of the 19th century, the town had four to five thousand inhabitants, mostly Greeks. In 1806, William Martin Leake recorded 100 hearths, while four years later Daniel recorded 140. For the remainder of the 19th century, the number of homes remained steady at about 300, with a population in 1900 of 2,070 Greek Orthodox and 600 Muslims.

The town was captured by the Greek 7th Infantry Division in 1912, during the First Balkan War, and has been part of Greece since then. With the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923, the town's Muslims left, and Greek refugees, particularly from Eastern Thrace and Greek Evangelicals from Asia Minor, took their place, almost doubling the town's population from 5,540 in 1920 to 10,138 in 1928.

 

Paralia, Pieria

Paralia (Greek: Παραλία) is a touristic seaside village and a former municipality in the eastern part of the Pieria regional unit, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Katerini, of which it is a municipal unit. The seat of the municipality was in Kallithea. The 2011 census reported a population of 1,124 for the village of Paralia, and 6,803 for the municipal unit. The community of Paralia covers an area of 1.849 km2.     Paralia is situated on the west coast of the Thermaic Gulf. It lies 2 km east of Kallithea, 5 km south of Korinos and 8 km east of Katerini. Motorway 1 and the Piraeus–Platy railway (nearest station at Katerini) pass west of the village. Paralia has a small port.

 

Olympiaki Akti

 

Olympiaki Akti (Greek: Ολυμπιακή Ακτή), or Olympic Beach, is a resort town in the eastern part of the regional unit of Pieria in Greece. Its beach is part of the Olympian Riviera. The Thermian Gulf is situated to the east. The entire coastline is sand. The town is located 2 km S of Paralia, 5 km E of Katerini, SE of Veria, 70 km S of Thessaloniki and the Makedonia International Airport, N of Larissa, NNW of Athens, NE of Tyrnavos, NE of Mount Olympus and 150 km NE of Kalampaka. The popualation of the settlement was 320 people as of 2011.