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Litochoro (Greek: Λιτόχωρο, Katharevousa: Λιτόχωρον) is a town and a former municipality in the southern part of the Pieria peripheral unit, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Dio-Olympos, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit.[1] It is located at the base of Mount Olympus, on the western shore of the Thermaic Gulf. The first recorded mention of Litochoro is in an account of a visit by Saint Dionysus (Greek: Άγιος Διονύσιος) to Mount Olympus.[CN] The town is a popular destination for those wishing to climb Mount Olympus as almost all climbing routes begin to the southwest of the town.


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Geography and information

Litochoro is located 22 km S of Katerini, 90 km SSW of Thessaloniki, 58 km N of Larissa and 420 km WNW of Athens, on the eastern slopes of Mount Olympus, of mythological fame as the home of the twelve gods of Olympus. Pine, cedar and fir trees of the forests of Mount Olympus lie to the southwest and northwest. Much of the land around Litochoro, in particular to the South, remains uncultivated. Farmland is predominant to the North. Litochoro has several restaurants and cafeterias.

Facilities
The church of Agios Nikolaos

Litochoro has schools, banks, a post office, a harbour, a sports centre, a town hall, a hospital, a museum, a concert hall, shopping facilities and squares (plateies). There are two main churches, Agios Nikolaos in the centre and Agios Dimitrios in the North. Litochoro has one of the most traditional cemeteries of Greece, known as Agios Athanasios, in the north of the town.

Pláka

An extended coastal area known as Pláka or Pláka Litochorou (Πλάκα Λιτοχώρου) is located east of the town of Litochoro, spreading from the foot of Olympus to the Thermaic Gulf and extending from Leptokarya in the south to Gritsa in the north. The E75 highway national road passes through the area of Plaka to the south of Litochoro.[2] The coast mainly consists of sandy beaches with seaside resorts as well as hotels, campsites, restaurants, and beach bars (which mostly operate during the summer season from June to September). In the area of Plaka there are private residences, luxurious villas, and cottages.[3]

Gritsa

North-east of Litochoro (North from Pláka) the costal area continues, known by the name Gritsa or Gritsa Litochorou (Γρίτσα Λιτοχώρου) extending from Pláka in the south to the community of Variko in the north. Sandy beaches can be also found here but the tourist facilities are much less than Pláka's. Yet here are some cottages and a luxury hotel (Dion resort). Gritsa is also the port of Litochoro, even though its capacity is restricted.

Access and transport
View of the peaks of Mount Olympus, from Litochoro.

Since the 1960s Litochoro has been served by an interchange with GR-1/E75 to its east. In the mid-1990s, the Greek "National Road" from Athens to Thessaloniki was improved in part to "Motorway" standard. Litochoro is on the Northern stretch of this 6 lane dual carriageway, 90 km from Thessaloniki. Its nearest beach is 5 km to the east.
There is a regular bus service to Katerini and a local train service (3 trains daily in each direction) to Thessaloniki and Larissa where there is an interchange with the main line to Athens. Because Litochoro railway station is about 6 km away from Litochoro and 1 km from nearest bus stop, bus to Katerini is often used to access the train. Taxis are to be found in abundance.

Litochoro acquired some fame during the 1999 NATO war in Yugoslavia when allied naval forces arrived on the beach of Gritsa; an action which provoked a reaction by the town's Communists and many people took part in it. The event was broadcast live on CNN International.

Historical population
Year Town population Municipality population
1981 6,157 -
1991 6,667 6,864
2001 6,697 7,011

Litochoro is one of the few municipalities that has the majority of its population living within the town's boundaries. 197 or 2.95% live outside the town.

See also

Communities of Pieria


References

^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
^ "Plaka Litochoro". Pieriki Anaptyxiaki S.A. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
^ "Plaka Litochoro". Villa Litochoro. Retrieved 16 June 2011.

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