Life in Western Macedonia

Kozani is a town in northern Greece, capital of Kozani regional unit and of West Macedonia region. It is located in the western part of Macedonia, in the northern part of the Aliakmonas river valley. The city lies 710 metres (2,329 feet) above sea level, 15 kilometres (9 miles) northwest of the artificial lake Polyfytos, 120 km (75 miles) south-west of Thessaloniki, between the mountains PieriaVermioVourinos and Askio. The population of the Kozani municipality is over 70,000 people. The climate of the area is continental with cold and dry winters, and hot summers.

Kozani is the home of the University of Western Macedonia and the Technological Educational Institute of Western Macedonia, with about 15,000 students from all over Greece.

One of the most important aspects of local folklore is Kozani’s carnival at the end of the winter, which retains much of the profanity of the ancient Dionysiac cult. Kozani is renowned in Greece and abroad for the production of Saffron (Krokos Kozanis), in the nearby town of Krokos.

Kozani is a transport node between Central MacedoniaThessaly and Epirus. The nearest airport is Filippos Airport, 4 kilometres (2 miles) from the city, IATA code: KZI. The airport was first opened in the mid-20th century. Kozani is situated near the Egnatia Highway, which connects the coast of the Ionian Sea with Thessaloniki and Turkish borders.

Florina (Greek: Φλώρινα, known also by several alternative names) is a town and municipality in mountainous northwestern MacedoniaGreece. Its motto is, ‘Where Greece begins’. It is also the Metropolitan seat for the region. It lies in the central part of Florina regional unit, of which it is the capital. Florina belongs to the region of West Macedonia. The town’s population is 16,771 people (2001 census). It is in a wooded valley about 13 km (8 mi) south of the international border of Greece with the Republic of Macedonia.

The city’s original Byzantine name, Χλέρινον (Chlérinon, “full of green vegetation”), derives from the Greek word χλωρός (chlōrós, “fresh” or “green vegetation”). The name was sometimes Latinized as Florinon (from the Latin flora, “vegetation”) in the later Byzantine period, and in early Ottoman documents the forms Chlerina and Florina are both used, with the latter becoming standard after the 17th century. The form with [f] (φλωρός) is a local dialect form of χλωρός in Greek. The Slavic name for the city is Lerin (Лерин), which is a borrowing of the Byzantine Greek name, but with the loss of the initial [x] characteristic of the local dialect.

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