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Greece – Giannitsa

Giannitsa constitutes the largest town in the county of Pella, with a population that reaches the 40,000 people. The town is located on the axis of the historic Via Egnatia, 48 km away from Thessaloniki and 10 km from Pella, Alexander the Great’s birthplace.
Giannitsa is a modern, vigorous town of rapid economic development, which is due to its rich agricultural production and the enterprising activity of the citizens.

Historical Background
The area, where the town and the residential districts of the municipality of Giannitsa are located has been inhabited since the 7th millennium BC, as it is indicated by the finds of archaeological excavations.
The current town was founded at the end of the 14th century by Gazi Evrenos, the conquering military leader. His mausoleum, which for centuries constituted a place of worship for the Balkan Muslims, is now considered among the most important Ottoman monuments of the town.
During the Ottoman times, the oldest Christian church of the town, its Cathedral, was erected. It has been said that the believers used wine instead of water for the wall construction.
In the years of the Macedonian Struggle, the lake of Giannitsa became the battlefield of fierce clashes with the Bulgarians, as it was described in the novel Ta Mystika tou Valtou ( The Secrets of the Swamp ) by Penelope Delta. The town was liberated and was reunited with the Greek state in 1912, as a result of the famous Battle of Giannitsa. In commemoration of this most significant event, a Heroon was erected at the entrance of the town, made by the sculptor Grigoris Zeugolis.
After 1922, a large number of Greek refugees settled in the area and changed the character of the region, as they reinforced the economic development in cooperation with the native population. When the lake was drained, in 1936, a fertile plain of thousands of acres was created, suitable for growing a variety of crops.
During World War II, the people resisted firmly the occupying forces and suffered greatly by the Nazis. On 14th September 1944, 114 patriots were executed and were buried in a mass grave at a central location of the town.

The Modern Town
Nowadays, traces of the town’s recent past can be easily detected on its Ottoman and Christian monuments, whereas its distant past can be known by visiting the nearby archaeological sites, such as Pella and Archontiko. At the same time, the current activity in town provides evidence of the increasing development in every sphere of action.
Visitors of all ages can appreciate the citizens’ everyday social life, which is mainly developed around the walk-way, with its numerous cafeterias, restaurants, and other places of entertainment and recreation that have already started to spread all over the town. They can experience the people’s warm hospitality, taste the local food and wine and walk about in the town’s market.
Visitors can also take part in the cultural life of the town by attending events and quality performances at the Cultural Centre and the Open Theatre. They can get to know the modern artistic creations by visiting the existing art studios and discover the rich local tradition by participating in feasts and festivals, which are held in the different districts of the municipality.
They can attend athletic events at the Municipal Stadium and the Indoor Athletic Centre or they can engage themselves in sports activities at the Athletic Centre of Platanotopos. They can do rowing at the Watersports Centre of Loudias and admire the motorcyclists’ technique on the Motocross Circuit. They can experience the pleasure of hiking along the footpaths of the neighbouring mount Paikon, while discovering its magnificent natural beauty.
The town of Giannitsa can satisfy the various interests of its visitors, offering them the potential a comfortable and pleasant stay, full of unique experiences.