The City of Florina
When you come by road in Florina and pass the last intersection for Ammochori, the first thing that attracts your attention is the huge cross, 33 meters of height, built on the top of Agios Panteleimonas hill. It is something that predisposes you, that this will be a particularly city.
The population of 19.796 inhabitants, according to the last survey, ranks the city third in size capital of Western Macedonia. But this is just a statistical truth. The beauty of the region and especially that of the city ranks her first in your heart.
Florina is situated at an altitude of 670 m., in the opening of the valley formed by the mountain area of Varnouda, between the hill of Agios Panteleimonas and Mount 1033. The river of Florina, Sakoulevas, crosses the entire city, and gives you the opportunity for a relaxed walkway, a stop for coffee and perhaps food, at its banks.
The old mansions on either side of the river, give the characteristic of a city with its history still alive. A story that inspired Theo Angelopoulos to shoot many of his films, such as “The Suspended Step of the Stork” on the banks of Sakouleva, restoring in the process some crumbling buildings.
Leaving the river and going to Alexander the Great str., one of the main road axes of the city, you can see the commercial stores, some of them could still reminded you of the 80’s. Moving to the public market, tsipouradika (stores offering tsipouro and snacks) thicken their classes and invite you to try some tsipouro, peppers and Florina’s kebabs, the local dish of lamb and veal mince meat, served with boukovo, a mix of hot peppers. Your gastronomic journey is not complete without a dessert served with the famous homemade sweets, including special options of fruit, like pumpkins, tomatoes, watermelon, cranberries, mushrooms, lotus etc.
In the afternoon you may find yourself in a small square with Second WW cannons. It is called Modi Square, and its Florina’s main square. You cross the road, towards Pavlos Melas str., where the sidewalk with cafeterias starts, for your afternoon coffee. During the night, (cafes) are transformed into night clubs, since in the city duel a lot of undergraduate students.
Depending on the period you will visit our city, you will see something different. In the spring time, Agios Panteleimonas hill is green, with three different shades, depending on the age of the trees. In the fall, the oak trees provide a bronze tint and invite you to walk under their shade, while in winter time, snow usually covers the entire hill. Specifically, if you find yourself on 23rd of December in Florina, every district honors the custom of Fires, creating small and large bonfires, with people dancing and consuming beans soup and tsipouro.
One thing is certain. No matter what time of the year you will visit Florina, this small border town has the way to win you and maybe, if you listen to her closely, to keep you forever near her.