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The beautiful beach promenade of Thessaloniki
View from the White Tower of Thessaloniki
Mega Portokali beach, Halkidiki
The region of Macedonia in mainland Greece covers a large part of northern Greece, actually one-fourth of the country's territory. It is geographically located between the Pindus Mountains and Nestos River.
Macedonia has a long and rich history. According to mythology, Mount Olympus in southern Macedonia was the residence of the Olympian Gods. The peak of the Macedonian history was in the 4th century BC when King Philip II united the towns of Macedonia and then all the Greek towns to start an expedition against the Persians. Due to his assassination in 336 BC, his son Alexander the Great eventually launched this expedition at the age of 21.
In 335 BC, the army of Alexander the Great passed in Asia and conquered Asia Minor, the Middle East, Egypt (where Alexander was named Pharaoh and established the town Alexandria that exists till today) and all the rest of Asia till the borders of India in only 12 years. In 323 BC, Alexander died in Babylon at the age of 33. The kingdom of Macedonia was later divided to their heirs until all parts were conquered by the Romans.
Macedonia was the first European land where Apostle Paul spread Christianity. In Filippi, Thessaloniki, and Veroia, he founded the first Christian churches in Europe.
In the Middle Ages, Macedonia as part of the Byzantine Empire was invaded by Slavs and Serbs. Due to its port, Thessaloniki gradually developed into a large town in terms of finance, trade, and culture. In the 14th century, it was the second largest town of the Byzantine Empire after Constantinople, until it fell to the hands of the Ottomans in 1430 AD.
Although the residents of Macedonia fought bravely in the Greek War of Independence, the region remained in the hands of Ottomans after the formation of the modern Greek State. The locals made many efforts to set themselves free and the most important was the Macedonian Struggle (1904-1908), a series of conflicts between the locals with the help of many volunteers from all over Greece on one side and Bulgarians on the other side, who were also trying to get Macedonia from the Ottomans.
Eventually, Macedonia became part of the Greek State in 1912, after the Second Balkan Wars. With the coming of the Asia Minor refugees in 1922, Macedonia flourished again in terms of finance and culture.
Although the majority of Macedonia is mountainous, it also has large valleys. The largest mountain is Olympus, also the tallest mountain of Greece, with an altitude of 2,917 m. Mount Olympus is a frequent trekking and mountain climbing destination.
The region of Macedonia also has many rivers and lakes. Aliakmonas River is the longest in Greece, while very long are also Nestos River and Axios River. Lake Kerkini and Prespes Lakes are amazing natural reserves.
Although tourism in Macedonia is not that developed as in other parts of Greece, however, it has landscapes of amazing beauty. The most popular summer destinations in Macedonia are Halkidiki, Pieria, and Kavala. The town of Thessaloniki is lively every season and has interesting sightseeing. The rest of Macedonia is a great place to explore. With fabulous natural beauty and many ski centers, Macedonia has amazing towns for winter tourism, like Kastoria and Florina.