With roots in the ancient state of Orestida, rich Byzantine and post-Byzantine heritage, the prefecture of Kastoria is situated at an altitude of 774 metres. It has a magnificent lake for sport activities, mountain masses and a ski centre for trekking and ski, rich agricultural production blessed with the water from River Aliakmon and naturally a traditional fur-industry known in every corner of the world.
Built on the shores of a lovely lake, the namesake capital delights visitors with its old neighbourhoods, narrow alleys, stately mansions and elaborate Byzantine churches. The city flourished both culturally and economically during the Turkish occupation, particularly from the 17th century onwards. It was then when the fur industry developed and even today, the city boasts a large number of profitable fur and textile workshops and factories. Kastoria has over 79 Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches dating back to the 9th and 19th centuries, decorated with frescoes of exceptional beauty.
The Lake of Kastoria is the town's most valuable treasure, an amusement venue, a spur of romance and reminiscence. On its north bank, near the village of Dispilio, are the remnants of one of the oldest settlements in Europe, dating back to the Stone Age.
There are many pretty villages in the region, perched on hillsides, surrounded by firs and beech trees, as well as lakeside hamlets with tavernas specializing in fish from the lake.
The mountainous complex of Vitsi with its dense bush forests and rare flora and fauna is one of the most interesting sites, unaffected by human activity, preserving the nature's wild beauty.
Festivities in Kastoria are many and age-old, such as the carnival of Rangoutsaria, a ritual that goes back to pagan times. Dressed in fancy garb, groups of people, young and old alike, spill in the streets playing folk instruments, dancing, and satirizing personalities and events.
Celebrations culminate on the third day with bonfires – called boubounes – lit at night. Festivities last until the fires die out in the early morning hours.