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Modern Florina

Kastoria is way up near Albania in N. Greece MapFlorina is the capital city of the nomos (prefecture, province) of the same name. This city of about 14,000 inhabitants is in the westernmost part of the large region of Macedonia, very close to the borders of both FYROM and Albania, and is a gateway to the Prespa Lake National Park region (shared by Albania, FYROM and Greece) and to the lake town of Kastoria.

Surrounded by hills of thick beech forest, it gets deep snow in winter and months of weather with below freezing temperatures. It is a busy market town in summer, though things were better before the breakup of Yugoslavia with Slavs coming from the north to shop here as well as central Europeans.

Florina has an important Agricultural School and a small zoo. Excavations were carried out on the hill of Aghios Kharalambos, to the south of the city,in 1931-4, and a 4th century BC town built by Philip II of Macedon was found. The city was burned in 48BC in the campaign that ended at Pharsala. Finds from here are housed in the Archaeological Museum (see below). Another excavation, of a Hellenistic town, began in 1982 at Petres, to the west of Florina, where terracottas and pottery were found which had been imported from Pella.

The old Turkish town of Florina straddled the Sakoulevas river. Some of the older houses along the banks have been restored and one now houses the Gallery of Modern Art (at Leoforos Eleftheriou 103; open Tues-Sun, 6pm-9pm) with paintings by Greek and European artists. There is also a smaller gallery with a collection of local artists' work, which is open Mon, Wed, Sat 6pm-9:30pm, Sun 10am-1:30pm, free).

The Archaeological Museum (open Tues-Fri 8:30am-3pm;2 euros admission) is located near the railway station, and houses finds from the late Macedonian and Roman periods, including finds from the excavations at Aghios Kharalambos.