The town of Kalabaka as seen from Meteora.
|Population statistics (as of 2011)|
|- Area:||1,650.2 km2 (637 sq mi)|
|- Density:||13 /km2 (35 /sq mi)|
|Time zone:||EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)|
Kalabaka (Greek: Καλαμπάκα, Kalabáka, alternative transliteration Kalambaka) is a municipality in the Trikala regional unit, part of Thessaly in Greece. The population 11,841 (2001). The Meteora monasteries are located in the town. Kalabaka is the northwestern terminal of the old Thessaly Railways, now part of OSE. Kalabaka was voted as one of the most beautiful places in Greece by the Skai TV show I LOVE GR.
In 1995 an ancient tomb was found in Kalabaka dating from the 20th century BC. A Greek inscription on the wall of one of the town’s oldest churches (Saint John the Baptist) testifies to the existence of an ancient Greek settlement under the name Aiginion.
The town is built on the location of the ancient city of Aiginion. It is attested since the 10th century, when it was known as Stagoi (Στάγοι), a Byzantine fortress and bishopric. Of its medieval monuments, only the cathedral, the Church of the Dormition, survives. It is a late 11th- or early 12th-century building, built on the remains of an earlier, late antique church. Relics of an ancient Greek temple – probably of god Apollo – have been incorporated in the wall of the town’s oldest and most renowned church, dedicated to Virgin Mary.
The first mention of Stagoi is found in Diatyposis written by the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise (886-812). In 1163 there is a reference of the castle of Stagoi. In 1204 Stagoi fell under the Despotate of Epirus, while at the end of the 13th century they fell under the rulers of Neopatras. In 1334, they were taken over once more by the Despot of Epirus, John II Orsini, and shortly thereafter they came once more under the control of the Byzantine Empire. In 1348, they were conquered by the Serbs of Stephen Dushan to reach their peak under the rule of his brother, King Simeon Uroš. When the Turks conquered Thessaly, Kalabaka was placed under the administrative rule of the Pasha of Larisa and later on of the Sanjak of Trikala.
The name "Kalabaka" was given six or seven centuries ago. It is of Turkish origin and means "powerful fortress". It has been Anglicized variously as Kalampaka, Kalambaka, Kalabaki, and Kalabak.
On Thursday 23 April 1943, a battle took place in Kalabaka between Greeks and Italians in which 70 Italian soldiers died.
The town is situated on the foot of the Meteora peaks.
From the beginning of the 10th century, Stagoi are referred to as an episcopal see, which enjoyed many privileges and donations from the Byzantine emperors throughout the Middle Ages. It owned significant stretches of land and had dependent farmers in neighboring settlements. Besides the fields of northwest Thessaly, its territory included an extensive mountainous zone in asia and central Pindos. The bishopric of Stagoi, a suffragan of the Metropolis of Larisa, was maintained, with some small intermissions, up to 1900 when it was merged with the bishopric of Tricca to form the Metropolis of Tricca and Stagoi with the town of Trikala as its seat. It was reestablished in 1991 and has been operating ever since as the Metropolis of “Stagoi and Meteora” with its seat in the town of Kalabaka.
The municipality Kalabaka was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 8 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
Kalampaka (also spelled Kalabaka) is a town of 12,000 citizens.
Tourism is a major part of the economy. There are a number of hotels, restaurants, shops and cafes.
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