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Paralia Katerini

OS2018 will be held at the five-star Mediterranean Village Hotel & Spa in Paralia Katerini.

Paralia is a village which is part of the municipality of Katerini, a town in Central Macedonia, Greece, and capital of Pieria regional unit. It is located about 100km south of Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city. The closest airport is Thessaloniki's Macedonia International Aiport (SKG).

Close to Paralia are several archaeological sites of great interest such as the ancient city of Dion (5th Century BC), the Venetial Castle of Platamon (built between 1204 and 1222) and the burial site of the kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great.


Mount Olympus

Gods, mythology, national park, flora, fauna, climbing, canyoning, mountain running, helisking.

These are just some of the many associations that bind us to the centuries-long history of this grand mountain!

Mount Olympus is located on the border of Macedonia and Thessaly between the prefectures of Pieria and Larissa. Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and the second highest mountain in the Balkans. The highest point of Mount Olympus, Mytikas (2,917 m), is located 78 km from Thessaloniki, 18 km from the coast of Pieria and 24 km from Katerini. Olympus expands over approximately 500 km2 and covers an essentially circular area with a width of approximately 25 km and a circumference of 80 km.

In 1938, the residence of the twelve ancient gods, was the first area which was declared as a National Park. More than 1,700 plants are found on Mount Olympus-representing 25 percent of all Greek flora. Diversity is high here because of the mountain's different elevation zones and its proximity to the sea. More than a hundred bird species live in Olympus National Park, including rare and threatened woodpeckers and golden eagles. The park is also famed for the colorful array of butterflies found here. The importance of the National Park has been recognized not only in Greece and Europe but all over the world. In 1981 UNESCO declared Olympus "A Biosphere Reserve".

Hiking and climbing are very popular on the mountain and there are routes for all levels of ability and enthusiasm. There are nine refuges for overnight stays; each one sleeps dozens of people and many have kitchens or even restaurants. Some refuges are seasonal so plan any visits accordingly. For approximately seven months of the year it is covered in snow (from November to May). This attracted for the first time in January of 2012 a new fashion of extreme sports - heliski.

In Greek mythology Olympus was regarded as the "home" of the Twelve Olympian Gods of the ancient Greek world. 12 Gods made up the council of twelve. They were the most powerful gods, the rulers of heaven and earth. Pantheon (today's Mytikas) is their meeting place. Their tempestuous discussions are heard by the god of gods Zeus sitting on his imposing throne (today's Stefani). From there he unlooses his thunders showing "his godly wrath".

Walking through the history of this mountain is a unique life experience. So, take the opportunity to apply for this amazing excursion and see for yourself how gorgeous Olympus is.

Dion archaeological site

Village of Dion, on the mountain's flanks, was a Macedonian holy city where King Archelaus (r. 414-399 B.C.) held nine days of games to honor Zeus. The oldest reference to Dion is found in Thucydides, who notes the existence of a small settlement in 424 BC.

Philip II and Alexander the Great celebrate their victories with splendid sacrifices at the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus. King Cassander took a great interest in the city itself, raising strong walls and erecting public buildings.

Dion was destroyed in 219 BC. when Aetolian invaders sacked the city and the sanctuary of Zeus, but was immediately rebuilt by Philip V.

In 169 BC. it fell to the Romans. The city was given a new lease of life in 32/31 BC, when Octavian founded a Roman colony there, the Colonia Julia Augusta Diensis. Further period of prosperity is in 4th century, when it became the seat of a bishopric. After the middle of the 5th century, however, a combination of natural disasters and Gothic raiders forced the town's inhabitants to move up into the mountains. The last reference to Dion occurs in the 10th century account of the provinces of the Byzantine Empire by Constantine VII Porphyrogennetus, De Thematibus.

The city had luxurious private houses decorated with mosaics and works of art, shops, public baths and workshops. Outside its walls there were theaters, a stadium and sanctuaries. For instance, sanctuaries of Zeus and the Muses, Demeter, Dionysos, and Isis, as well as two theaters - one Hellenistic, one Roman - have been located and are being excavated. Dion's cemeteries were situated north and west of the city and contained burials from the mid-5th century BC to the beginning of the 5th century AD. Immediately after 31 BC, by order of Augustus, a Roman colony was founded at Dion. Despite the settlement of Roman colonists there, the city preserved its Greek character, as manifested by the numerous Greek inscriptions that have been found. Basilicas were built in the city in the early Byzantine years.

The museum of Dion opened in 1983. The display includes statues, votive and grave monuments, architectural members, coins, and a variety of other objects that were discovered in the sanctuaries, the baths, and the necropolis, as also objects used in the everyday life of the ancient city of Dion. The finds are grouped according to the area and the specific places where they were found.

Platamon

In a landscape of unparalleling beauty and a strategic location is Platamon Castle, one of the most beautiful and best preserved castles in Greece.

Built on a rocky ridge, in the azure waters of the Aegean Sea, in the region to verify fully the place name: PLATAMON means 'rocky ends on the sea'. In this area, with the agreement of the ancient sources and archaeological findings, the ancient polis Herakleion, "first polis of Macedonia" after the Tembi Valey.

Today the Castle is under the responsibility of the 9th Cultural Organization, is open to the public and carried out the events of the Olympus Festival.

Of course, in recent years, despite the excellent condition in which maintained, needs a 'kiss of life' from care, imagination and creativity, so as to highlight the history and importance of its existence. Be a halls culture, with a variety of events and attract more visitors.

After the fall of Constantinople during the 4th Crusade in 1204, Platamon came under the jurisdiction of Boniface of Montferrat, king of Thessaloniki, who gave it to the Lombard knight Rolando Piska. He is the one who rebuilt the castle on top of the old ruined construction. The castle is located in a strategic positon, at the exit of the Tempi valey and it controls the route from Macedonia to Thessaly and to Southern Greece.

The castle soon became Byzantine again. In 1218, it was captured by the despot of Epirus Theodoros Aggelos and after the battle of Pelagonia (1259), by Michail Paleologos of Nikea who later became the Byzantine emperor.

The Turks captured the castle in 1385 and paid much attention to its maintenance because they needed the castle to control the strategically important area. After a short break between 1425 and 1427, when the Venetians managed to conquer the castle, the Turks returned and stayed until the beginning of the 20th century.

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