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View of the city of Florina towards the NE
View of the city of Florina towards the NE
Official seal of Florina
Florina is located in Greece
Location within the region
2011 Dimos Florinas.png
Coordinates: 40°47′N 21°24′E / 40.783°N 21.400°E / 40.783; 21.400Coordinates: 40°47′N 21°24′E / 40.783°N 21.400°E / 40.783; 21.400
Administrative regionWest Macedonia
Regional unitFlorina
 • MayorIoannis Voskopoulos
 • Municipality819.7 km2 (316.5 sq mi)
 • Municipal unit150.6 km2 (58.1 sq mi)
687 m (2,254 ft)
 • Municipality
 • Municipality density40/km2 (100/sq mi)
 • Municipal unit
 • Municipal unit density130/km2 (340/sq mi)
 • Population17,907 (2011)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
531 00
Area code(s)23850
Vehicle registrationΡΑ*

Florina (Greek: Φλώρινα, Flórina; known also by some alternative names) is a town and municipality in the mountainous northwestern Macedonia, Greece. Its motto is, 'Where Greece begins'.[3]

The town of Florina is the capital of the Florina regional unit and also the seat of the eponymous municipality. It belongs to the administrative region of West Macedonia. The town's population is 17,686 people (2011 census). It is in a wooded valley about 13 km (8 mi) south of the international border of Greece with the Republic of North Macedonia.


Sakoulevas river and the Cathedral of Florina.

Florina is the gateway to the Prespa Lakes and, until the modernisation of the road system, of the old town of Kastoria. It is located west of Edessa, northwest of Kozani, and northeast of Ioannina and Kastoria cities. Outside the Greek borders it is in proximity to Korçë in Albania and Bitola in North Macedonia. The nearest airports are situated to the east and the south (in Kozani). The mountains of Verno lie to the southwest and Varnous to the northwest.

Winters bring heavy snow and long periods of temperature below freezing point. Furthermore, the town and the surrounding valley is usually covered in thick fog during the winter months that may last even for weeks under specific conditions. During the summer months it becomes a busy market town with an economy boosted by summer and, mostly, winter tourism due to the heavy snowfalls and the nearby ski resorts.

Even though Florina was the site of the first rail line built in the southern Ottoman provinces in the late 19th century, its rail system remains undeveloped. Today, Florina is linked by a single track standard gauge line to Thessaloniki and Bitola, and to Kozani (meter gauge) where it was intended to continue south and link up with the terminal in Kalambaka, in Thessaly but this did not proceed due to the 1930s financial crisis.

Florina is passed by GR-2 (Lake PrespaEdessa) and GR-3/E65 (Kozani – Florina – Niki – Bitola). The new Motorway 27 (A27) will run east of Florina with its Florina-Niki segment already operational since 2015. The historic Via Egnatia is situated to the east.


Florina is one of the coldest towns in Greece, because of its elevation and geographic position. Heavy snowfalls, thick fog and below-freezing temperatures are common during the winter months, while the summers are mild. Under the Köppen climate classification, Florina has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) with strong hot-summer continental climate (Dfa) influences.

On 18 January 2012, a temperature of -25.1 °C was recorded by the HNMS's station[4] with several reports, however, in the local press for temperatures in villages of the municipality that reached -32 °C, but there was no official record of such temperature. The National Observatory of Athens's station reported a temperature of -22.2 °C a day earlier in Florina, while the same station continuously recorded minimum temperatures below -20 °C from 16 January 2012 until 19 January 2012, with the average maximum temperature for January just -0.6 °C, and the prevalence for 13 consecutive days of temperatures below 0 °C 24 hours a day.[5] The above situation resulted in the Greek General Secretariat of Civil Protection to declare the municipality of Florina in a state of emergency on 16 January 2012, at the request of the mayor of Florina, due to the polar temperatures and the intense snowfall that prevailed for days.

Climate data for Florina (1961–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.0
Average high °C (°F) 4.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.5
Average low °C (°F) −3.1
Record low °C (°F) −29.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 56.8
Average precipitation days 12.0 12.0 12.3 11.3 11.2 7.4 6.1 5.8 6.1 8.4 10.8 12.9 116.3
Average snowy days 7.5 6.3 4.5 0.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.8 5.9 27.1
Average relative humidity (%) 82.1 78.1 70.9 64.0 63.4 59.8 57.4 58.3 63.9 72.1 78.7 81.8 69.2
Source: Hellenic National Meteorological Service [6]


The city's original Byzantine name, Χλέρινον (Chlérinon, "full of green vegetation"), derives from the Greek word χλωρός (chlōrós, "fresh" or "green vegetation"). The name was sometimes Latinized as Florinon (from the Latin flora, "vegetation") in the later Byzantine period, and in early Ottoman documents the forms Chlerina and Florina are both used, with the latter becoming standard after the 17th century. The form with [f] (φλωρός) is a local dialect form of χλωρός in Greek. The local Slavic name for the city is Lerin (Лерин), which is a borrowing of the Byzantine Greek name, but with the loss of the initial [x] characteristic of the local dialect. The Albanian name for the city is Follorinë.[7] In Aromanian, it is Florina, while in both Bulgarian and Macedonian, it is Лерин (Lerin).


The current municipality of Florina was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 4 former municipalities, that since 2011 became municipal units:[8]

The municipality has an area of 819.698 km2, and the municipal unit 150.634 km2.[9]

Municipal Unit subdivisions

The municipal unit of Florina is further divided into the following communities:[8]


Florina, view from northern entrance (1916-1918)
Panorama of the city of Florina, 1898–1912. Photo taken by Manakis brothers (broken glass plate)
Neoclassical houses at the shoreline of Sakoulevas river.

Within the boundaries of the present-day city lie the remains of a Hellenistic settlement on the hill of Agios Panteleimon.[10] Archaeologists excavated on the site in 1930–1934, but a hotel was later built over the ruins. Excavations began again in the 1980s and the total excavated area is now around 8,000 metres square. The buildings uncovered are mostly residential blocks, and the range of finds suggests that the site was continuously inhabited from the 4th century BC until its destruction by fire in the 1st century BC. Many of these finds are now on display in the Archaeological Museum of Florina.

The town is first mentioned in 1334, when the Serbian king Stefan Dušan established a certain Sphrantzes Palaeologus as commander of the fortress of Chlerenon.[11] By 1385, the place had fallen to the Ottomans.[12] An Ottoman defter (cadastral tax census) for the year 1481 records a settlement of 243 households.[13][citation needed]

Florina and its inhabitants greatly contributed to the Macedonian Struggle. Prominent leaders included Nikolaos Pyrzas,[14] and Petros Chatzitasis.[15]

In the late Ottoman period the area surrounding Florina supported the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) who fought against the Ottomans.[16] During the Macedonian Struggle the Greek makedonomachoi gained significant advantage towards the Bulgarian Exarchists within 10 months in 1905 and extended their zone of control in various regions of western Macedonia including the plains north and south of Florina.[17] In 1912 came under the control of the Greek forces as a result of the Ottoman defeat in the First Balkan War. Muslim Albanians from Florina and the wider region during the population exchange (1923) based on religious criteria were sent to Turkey, and mainly resettled in Bursa.[7][18] The town was again in the firing line during World War I, during which it was occupied by Bulgaria, and during the Axis Occupation in World War II, when the town became a centre of Slavic separatism.[citation needed]

For part of the Greek Civil War (1946–1949) the mountains of the Florina area were under communist control. The Slavic-Macedonian National Liberation Front, later simply the National Liberation Front or NOF, had a significant presence in the area:[19] by 1946, seven Slav Macedonian partisan units were operating in the Florina area,[20] and NOF had a regional committee based in Florina. When the NOF merged with the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE), many Slav Macedonians in the region enlisted as volunteers in the DSE.[21] When the Communists were defeated on 12 February 1949 by the Greek army thousands of communists and Slav Macedonians were evacuated or fled to Yugoslavia and the Eastern Bloc.



The city is served by Florina station on the Thessaloniki–Bitola line, with local trains to Thessaloniki.[22][23]


The town hall

Florina is a market town with an economy dominated by agriculture, forestry, summer and winter tourism, cross-border trading and the sale of local produce such as grain, grapes, and vegetables including Florina peppers. It also has textile mills and is known for locally manufactured leather handicrafts.

The most notable industrial activity is the very large Ptolemaia-Florina lignite mine.

Its university changed in 2002 from being a branch of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, to a part of the University of Western Macedonia. After 2004, four departments that previously belonged to the Aristotle University, reinforced its potential.

Florina has 8 radio stations,[24] 2 daily political newspapers, 4 weekly ones, one women's press and two newspapers on sports.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the area lost much of its population to emigration, both to Athens and Thessaloniki as well as US, Canada, Australia and Germany. Following Greece's EU membership and the economic upturn, many from Germany returned.


Pedestrian street at the centre.
Neoclassical houses at the shoreline of Sakoulevas river.

Historical demographics

In 1821 the Greeks were about 80 families.[25][verification needed] Austrian diplomat Johann Georg von Hahn visited the city in 1861 and wrote about it in his travel log From Belgrade to Salonica. In it he writes that "[a]bout the houses in Florina, we should indicate that there are at most 3000, with half of the population Albanian and Turkish Muslims and the other half Christian Bulgarians."[26] According to an 1878 French ethnographic book Florina was a town of 1500 households, inhabited by 2800 Muslims and 1800 Bulgarians.[27] In 1896 French diplomat and traveller Victor Bérard visited Florina.[28] The settlement is as described as "consisting of 1500 houses of Albanians and "converted Slavs", with perhaps a hundred "Turkish" families and 500 Christian families."[28][clarification needed]Bérard noted that "These Slavs nonetheless call themselves Greek and speak Greek—with us at least".<[28] In 1901/1902 school year statistics, Greek students were clearly much more than the Bulgarian ones.[29]

Greeks from Florina participated in the Greek Revolution of 1821 with the most important fighter being Aggelinas who also fought in Crete while others also fought in Mesologgi.[30] Members of Filiki Eteria were the brothers Loukas Nedelkos and Nikolaos Nedelkos, who were born in the Florina region. The demographic composition of the area the 19th and early 20th centuries is unclear as many factors contributed to the ethnic orientation of the people; out of these religion was particularly important thus giving rise to a proselytism struggle between the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Bulgarian Exarchate (established in 1870). The actual Greek-speaking element in this area was concentrated in urban centres where it participated in the religious, administrative, social, and educational sectors of life.[31]

Year Town Municipal unit Municipality
1981 12,573 -
1991 12,355 14,873 -
2001 14,985 17,500 -
2011 17,907 19,985 32,881

Florina in cinema

Movies of the Greek cinema, filmed in the area by Theodoros Angelopoulos include:

Notable people

A bust of Nikolaos Pyrzas



  1. ^ a b "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Florina official website. Archived 3 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Α.Ε., – Δημοσιογραφικός Οργανισμός Λαμπράκη. " – Ο πιο βαρύς χειμώνας όλων των εποχών εφέτος". TO BHMA. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  5. ^ "NOA's Monthly Weather Report for January 2012" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Mean Florina Climatic Averages". Hellenic National Meteorological Service. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b Baltsiotis, Lambros (2011). "The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece: The grounds for the expulsion of a "non-existent" minority community". European Journal of Turkish Studies. 12.. para. 28-29; footnote 48. "The Albanian claims on the Albanian speaking population of the areas of Kastoria [Kostur in Albanian] and Florina [Follorinë in Albanian] did not ensure the non-inclusion of this Albanian speaking Muslim population in the Greco-Turkish exchange of populations. Nevertheless, these claims and related struggles were far from leading to any major bilateral or international debate."
  8. ^ a b "ΦΕΚ B 1292/2010, Kallikratis reform municipalities" (in Greek). Government Gazette.
  9. ^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2015.
  10. ^ Maria Akamati-Lilibati & Ioannis M. Akamatis, The Hellenistic City of Florina. Ministry of Culture (Greece), 2006. ISBN 960-86162-3-9 p53ff
  11. ^ Kravari, p. 247.
  12. ^ Kravari, p. 55, n. 178.
  13. ^ Kravari, p. 248.
  14. ^ Douglas Dakin, the Macedonian Struggle, 1985, pp 65-67
  15. ^ Hellenic Army General Staff, Directorate of Army History, The Macedonian Struggle and the events in Thrace, 1979, pp 115
  16. ^ Gingeras, Ryan (2016). Fall of the Sultanate: The Great War and the End of the Ottoman Empire 1908-1922. Oxford University Press. p. 66. ISBN 9780191663581. "One area where this strategy manifested itself openly was in the environs of Florina, a district notorious for its support for the IMRO."
  17. ^ Gounaris, Basil C. "National Claims, Conflicts and Developments in Macedonia, 1870-1912" (PDF). p. 194. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  18. ^ Gingeras, Ryan (2009). Sorrowful Shores: Violence, Ethnicity, and the End of the Ottoman Empire 1912-1923. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 158–159. ISBN 9780199561520.
  19. ^ Simpson, Neil (1994). Macedonia Its Disputed History. Victoria: Aristoc Press, 105,106 & 94. ISBN 0-646-20462-9.
  20. ^ "Les Archives de la Macedonine, Fond: Aegean Macedonia in NLW" – (Field report of Mihail Keramidzhiev to the Main Command of NOF), 8 July 1945
  21. ^ Η Τραγική αναμέτρηση, 1945-1949 – Ο μύθος και η αλήθεια. Ζαούσης Αλέξανδρος" (ISBN 9607213432).
  22. ^ "Visit Florina".
  23. ^περιφερειακή-ενότητα-φλώρινας/συγκοινωνίες/δρομολόγια-τραινοσε/
  24. ^ greek radio guide,
  25. ^ Romaiou, Konstantinos. ΕΛΛΑΣ. 2. Giovani (Γιοβάνη). p. 492.
  26. ^ Johann Georg von Hahn: [Reise von Belgrad nach Salonik. Viena: 1861, p. 121.] "Die Häuserzahl von Florina, welches wir wohl auch Flurina, aber niemals Filurina aussprechen hörten, wurde uns gewiss übertrieben auf 3000“) angegeben, deren Bewohner halb aus albanesischen und osmanischen Muhammedanern, halb aus christlichen Bulgaren bestünden."
  27. ^ „Ethnographie des Vilayets d'Andrinople, de Monastir et de Salonique, Ethnographie Vilayet de Monsati., p.6-21
  28. ^ a b c Hart, Laurie Kain (2006). "Provincial anthropology, circumlocution, and the copious use of everything." Journal of Modern Greek Studies. 24. (2): 310: "The extreme population movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in (what was to become) the western Macedonian border area of Greece expose what Patrick Finney has called the "longue durée quality of nation-formation (Finney 1993). They include not only the 1919 Bulgarian-Greek population exchange and the Greek-Turkish exchange of 1923, but also innumerable significant, informal, earlier shifts to towns such as Florina by Muslim and Christian Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Gypsies, Jews, as well as the immigration of Greek Christians from the South after the mid-nineteenth century Ottoman Tanzimat reforms." p. 314. "Florina was not much admired by European travelers in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, particularly, it seems, in contrast to its rival a little to the south, Kastoria. The French traveler Bérard describes it in 1896 as consisting of 1500 houses of Albanians and "converted Slavs", with perhaps a hundred "Turkish" families and 500 Christian families. "These Slavs nonetheless call themselves Greek and speak Greek—with us at least" (Bérard 1911 (1896):307). Bérard identifies only a few hundred Bulgarian sympathizers, but notes that the local Turkish administration is pro-Bulgarian."
  29. ^ Νεότερη ιστορία της Μακεδονίας 1830-1912, Konstantinos Ap. Vakalopoulos, pub. Αντώνιου Σταμούλη, Thessaloniki, 2000, p. 240
  30. ^ Melios, Lazaros (1998). History of Florina (Greek: Από την Ιστορία της Φλώρινας).
  31. ^ Richard Clogg, Minorities in Greece: Aspects of a Plural Society, pp. 123-124
  • The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004
  • Encyclopædia Britannica, 2005
  • The Penguin Encyclopedia of Places, 1999
  • Rough Guide to Greece, Mark Ellingham et al., 2000


  • ^ Kravari, Vassiliki (1989). Villes et villages de Macédoine occidentale. Réalités byzantines (in French). 2. Paris: Editions P. Lethielleux. ISBN 2-283-60452-4.

External links