Greece is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, yet the country’s north (the regions of Epirus, Thessaly, Western Macedonia, Central Macedonia and Eastern Macedonia and Thrace) remains fairly off the beaten trackRead more...
Northern Greece - Édessa
Hanging off the slopes of Mount Vérmio, Édessa (Έδεσσα) is the only town in Greece sitting atop a 70m waterfall, formed when a 14th-century earthquake destroyed the town and diverted the Káranos River, sending it through the centre and over the edge of the cliff – ‘the step on which God stands to ascend into heaven’ according to poet Melélaos Lountémis – plummeting down through the trees and maidenhair ferns before a gargantuan pipe carries it all away.
The Byzantines called Édessa ‘the god-defended castle of Vodena’ (its Slavic name, meaning ‘waters’) and built a mighty but now long-gone castle that guarded the Via Egnatía as it approached the Pindus Mountains.
Its later history saw it ping-ponged back and forth between Serbia, Bulgaria and the Byzantines, before becoming part of the Ottoman Empire, when the rail line was built and the town harnessed its water power to run a series of mills, now part of a unique open-air museum. Édessa is also famous for cherries, used to make jams and spoon sweets, and celebrated in a festival in late June.