The Heroic Naoussa – first part

The Heroic Naoussa – first part

You see “her” as you approach sitting comfortably on a creek at the eastern feet of Vermio. “She” sees you as you ascend the road to the entrance to the city. Around the slopes with lush vegetation and at the end of the road is the Agios Nikolaos grove, designated as a Landscape of Special Natural Beauty.

  The town welcomes you with the watermill on St. George’s rock emphasizing Naoussa’s relationship with water and its contribution to the development of textiles, with waterfalls and sculptures referring to the natural beauty and brilliant tradition of Naoussa in wine and agricultural production.

  Continue to the left to Naoussa’s Park. Enter through the stone arch entrance. On the left is the summer municipal theater gazing the plain. The 30 acre park has been there since the late ’50s. Lush, with artificial lakes, wooden bridges, streets, a fountain and benches to rest enjoying unobstructed views of the plain! Arapitsa, the river of Naoussa, flows to the south. the watermill on St. George’s rockYou can see the precipice with the waterfalls or move on to the opposite bank of the river where the textile buildings that once thrived in the city are located.Today they are a municipal property that house civil services, a nice café-bar (Boston’s). The former factory across the street is now a cultural events venues building (ERIAS). Car parks are located on either sides of the park. On the road above the park (also known as “beach”!) you will find many bars, cafes (“Neon”) and taverns (try “Paradosiako”). You are close to the centre and Karatassou Square with the obelisk which is 11 meters high and ranks among the 10 tallest in the world. Walk up the street to the Town Hall. The trademark of Naoussa, the Clock Tower in front of the Town Hall, Naoussa’s Parkwas built in 1895 with limestone and is 25 meters high. It still maintains its original clock mechanism.

  Move on to the old quarter of the city, the “Alonia”.Clock Tower A few streets in all in this plebeian neighborhood, with a few old houses having survived from the modern recontstruction. They are typical of the town’s characteristic architectural style with the “sahnisia”, keeping up with the Macedonian style, made of limestone, adobe and wood. Stop and drink water at the fountain under the crooked plane tree. Here is also the remarkable building of the “Galakia” school.

  Cross to the other side of the city, along the river, to the ‘Batania’ and ‘Pouliana’ neighborhoods. Some few two-storey, larger inner-city buildings belonging to more affluent families survive here. From the “Batania” walk up the cobbled street towards the church of Metamorphosis, stop at the ‘Vlach Folklore Museum’ (Sofroniou 23) and admire the renovated building of the “Gennitsari and Boules” Group – ex sesame mill of Makis in “Pouliana” and the imposing- although abandoned nowadays -former roller mill, a building belonging to Chr. Matthaios.

Vlach Folklore Museum  A trail on a paved pedestrian street on the lush banks of the Arapitsa River with rushing waters and spectacular waterfalls from the ‘Batania Bridge’ ends at the site of the sacrifice of the Naousaian women, the “Stoubanoi”. It’s the site of the sacrifice of the Naoussaian women who jumped in the chasm and into the waters of Arapitsa holding their children in order not to fall into the hands of the Turks, in April 1822. The city’s uprising against the Ottomans was paid with heavy blood tax. After the Holocaust of Naoussa, as the bloody suppression of the revolution, was named, the Greek State gave the town the name “heroic”. Stroll around the area with the panoramic views and the noise of water falling into the chasm forming waterfalls. Walk across the wooden bridge which remains at the same point as the old bridge that connected the two banks. It is under the modern bridge. Raise your eyes towards the abandoned industrial buildings that once functioned as cotton mills, with their tall smokestacks testifying their location and the reminiscent of its rich industrial past. the site of the sacrifice of the Naoussaian womenThey once produced the famous Naoussa blankets, “flokates” (long haired handmade blankets) and yarns.

  You won’t find old churches in Naoussa since they were all burned down in 1822 at the city’s holocaust. The only temple that survives is the small Temple of Prodromos. One of the old churches (built 11 years after the Holocaust), is the church of the Virgin Mary (Dormition of the Virgin Mary) is worth a visit for its impressive wood-carved ceiling. What you will see everywhere, often under centuries-old plane trees, at squares and crossroads, are fountains old but also new that cool passers-by with their icy cold fresh water. The Municipality of Naoussa, besides being the largest forested municipality in the country is also well known for its many water reserves.

church of the Virgin Mary

  Get to know the cultural heritage of Naoussa at the Historical and Folklore Museum. It is located next to  the church of Agios Dimitrios. It includes the collection of the Naoussa’s Lyceum of the Greeks (10 Agios Dimitriou Street, tel: 2332021713) and see the Wine and Vine Museum, housed in the city’s first winery, at the home of John Boutaris (17 Chatzimaloussi, tel: 2332029800), founder of the company of the same name.

  Naoussa is famous for its wine and tsipouro and that’s something you should definitely taste. Take a break to drink a glass of local wine in a tavern. The special variety of this wine is ‘Xinomavro’, which is a Designation of Origin of High Quality (PDO). 

Wine and Vine Museum

The label “Naoussa” has received many awards in the country and abroad. It was one of the first wines in Greece to be bottled. It goes without saying that the area is full of wineries that you can visit, especially during the grape harvest so you can attend the process of distilling the ‘tsipouro’ in the “kazania”.

Do not miss it! And of course, depending on the season, taste and take home with you local fruits (apples, peaches and cherries).

Naoussa is also famous for its traditional carnival and the custom of “Genichari and Boules”, which attracts a large number of visitors each year. Visit during Carnival Season!


  • Where ever you choose to have a bite you have to taste traditional dishes of Naoussa:  ‘gavopsara’, ‘mantza’, ‘batzio saganakiι’ και ‘sarmades’.

Down town:

 Paradosiako (“Παραδοσιακό”) (tel. 23320.29132)

Oinomagiremata (“Οινομαγειρέματα”)  (τηλ. 2332 023576)

Σπονδή (“Spondi”) (tel. 2332022233 at the main square)

Agios Nikolaos

4 Seasons (“4 Εποχές”) (tel. 2332026221)

Gerania (“Γεράνια”) (tel. 23320 25174, 23320 21922)


 Harama (“Χάραμα”) (tel. 2332021125)

3-5 Pigadia

Sfendamos Wood Village (“Σφένδαμος”) (tel. 23320 – 44844)

Agonari (“Αγκωνάρι”) (tel. 2332 044 588)


1st May – a morning in a fairy forest!

1st May – a morning in a fairy forest!

 Metamorphosi (Drazilovo), Naoussa, in the heart of Vermio Mountain, was our choice for the 1st May holiday, to spend a day in nature as usual. Driving through the narrow mountain roads … .. hoping to find the chapel of Metamorphosis, the waterfalls and the bars (natural ponds), along the flow of the nearby stream and with the rainy weather making it almost impossible for us to stay, we finally got somewhere outside the village, following the signs with some uncertainty. But the courageous win and in our case it was really rejoicing!

   But the courageous win and in our case it was really rejoicing!

The built barbeque and the tables next to the church were just fine. Right after the meal we started exploring the place! We headed to the stream that we heard flowing in the forest, somewhere in the woods…

If there are fairies, they would definitely be there that day! Right in this forest, among the tall trees, the lilies, the salamanders, the streams with the bridges and the waterfalls! We walked a dreamy path through the forest, following a well-marked path to the ponds, the great waterfall and the tunnel from where the British Decauville train was carrying the logs from the forest of Vermio until 1921, as a sign that has been set up at some point informed us! And another one explained that there was the place where the guerrilla galleys were set up next to the river, during the German occupation! Three friends (worthy people) were responsible for shaping the whole area. They took the initiative and worked voluntarily and we thank them for offering us this experience.

So gather your friends and set off! We are here to offer any information you need!

Hand to hand with a Janissary (Gianitsaros) in Naoussa

Hand to hand with a Janissary (Gianitsaros) in Naoussa

  Carnival is celebrated everywhere across Greece, but it’s only in Naoussa that the Janissaries dance along the “patinada” rhythm. And it is this sound of the “zourna” approaching slowly and getting louder and louder as it gets closer, until you feel the tabor accompanying him pounding inside you, like a second heart! At that moment, the group of the “Janissaries and Boules” passes by you! Young and old Janissaries outcross their swords dancing “patinada”, a slow, sad song. The musicians are the last to follow the group, along with the leader of the group who checks everything around and instructs which songs will be played. If you don’t hear the zourna playing, you haven’t experienced the carnival in Naoussa!

  The custom roots back in the years of the Ottoman occupation and was interrupted only during the war (1940-1954). It was revived thanks to the love and tenacity of some people that despite the difficulties of those years were able to set it up again. It’s a purely traditional custom that incorporates in its ritual all the history of the place and its inhabitants. The Janissary (Gianitsaros in Greek) is dressed early and when the plaintive sound of the zourna is heard in the distance, he comes to the window or on the balcony and shakes his body two or three times to greet them. He greets his family goodbye by hopping three times on his feet, crosses his fingers on the doorstep and joins the group that came to get him. They gather all, from the youngest to the oldest and finally the leader. They wait for the Boulla (a man dressed as a bride) to respectfully hand kiss the family and join the group that heads to the Town Hall to ask for permission from the Mayor to dance on the town’s streets. Everything has its special meaning here. Every move, every song to be played on a specific moment during the strictly defined route!

 “Town Hall” – “Triodi” – “Kammena” – “Pouliana” – “Batania” – “Stoa” – “Agios Georgios “– “Alonia”: it’s the historic, strictly kept track of the dancing groups, followed by many people until they come to the old “Alonia” district, where they take off their masks, eat, drink and dance along with the people.

  This takes place on both Sundays of the Carnival season. On Shrove Monday as well, only then they do not have their masks on. When it is time of parting, they make a circle, put the organist in the middle, they hit their swords on earth and promise to meet on Sunday of Orthodoxy in “Spilaio” area, for the last celebration that will close period of Carnival in Naoussa.

 The custom of “Janissaries and Boules” coexists nowadays with modern satirical carnivals, preparing all year through to get on their improvised chariots and satirize modern politics and affairs, wandering around the town’s streets.   Today not so many in number and so great in originality than my memory recalls from the past, when we could hear the zournas playing beneath our window before dawn, inviting us to masquerade quickly and follow the group that woke us up! Drinking and dancing all night long, door to door, waking up everyone!

 The custom is kept alive and inalterable up to our days. It is a unique tradition, so it fills the city streets with hundreds of people on these days.