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West Macedonia is one of the thirteen regions of Greece, consisting of the western part of Greek Macedonia. It is divided into the regional units of Florina, Grevena, Kastoria, and Kozani.

Geography

The region of West Macedonia is situated in north-western Greece, bordering with the regions of Central Macedonia (east), Thessaly (south), Epirus (west), and bounded to the north at the international borders of Greece with FYROM (Bitola region) and Albania (Korçë County).

Although it covers a total surface of 9,451 km2 (3,649 sq mi) (7,2% of country’s total), it has a total population of 302,892 inhabitants (2.9% of the country’s total), thus it is a low-density populated Region (32 per km², as compared to the country’s 79.7 relevant figure). This is mainly due to the mountainous nature of the Region, as 82% of the total surface are mountainous and semi-mountainous areas. This is also reflected in the population distribution, as the major part of the population (56%) lives in rural areas. Capital of the region is Kozani with 47,451 inhabitants. Other main towns are Ptolemaida (32,775), Grevena (16,704), Florina (14,318) and Kastoria (13,959).


Economy
The map of West Macedonia region.

The Region has one operational Industrial Area in Florina and another one under construction in Kozani. The secondary sector is very important for the Regional economy, mainly due to the mining activities, the production of electric power (70% of country’s total power is produced in the Region) and the fur-leather sector. However, “soft” structures have not followed the general improvement of heavy infrastructures, a situation that has to be remedied, in order to achieve an overall higher economic development of the Region. The R&D services are at a rather low level: only 3,5% of the country’s total research foundations are situated in the Region. Among them, the Technological Educational Institute plays an important role in supporting the regional research and educational efforts. However, an enhanced interaction with SME’s will be a crucial factor, in order to improve the productivity and the added value of products and services generated in the Region of Western Macedonia. Some of its more famous products are marbles, Saffron (krokos Kozanis), fruits, local wines (Kozani, Amyntaio), furs (Kastoria, Siatista) and specialized arts and crafts industry.

The Egnatia motorway via Egnatia (Trans – European Network) that crosses the Region, along with its two vertical National Roads, form a network that dramatically improves the transport conditions in the Region and alter its traditional “isolation” image, mainly due to its mountainous landscape. On the other hand, the railroad network is insufficient and the two airports (Kozani and Kastoria) can only serve small passenger planes. The telecommunication network has drastically improved over the last decade, providing the regional population with adequate services and modern facilities.

The last years the region is being developed in tourism mainly on winter. It is the only Greek region without sea coast, but on the other side there are a lot of lakes, mountains, picturesque villages and two big ski centers in Florina (Vigla) and Grevena (Vasilitsa) and one other under construction in Kozani (Velvendos).

The administrative building of West Macedonia region is located in Zone of Alternate Urban Planning (ZEP) in the city of Kozani.
Administration
The administrative division of the West Macedonia region in municipalities. In shades of yellow, the former Kastoria Prefecture, in red, the Grevena Prefecture, in blue, the Kozani Prefecture, and in green, the Florina Prefecture

The West Macedonia region was established in the 1987 administrative reform, comprising the prefectures of Kastoria, Grevena, Kozani and Florina.

With the 2010 Kallikratis Programme (Act 3852/2010), its powers and authority were redefined and extended. The region is based at Kozani and is divided into four regional units (the pre-Kallikratis prefectures), which are further subdivided into 12 municipalities (down from 61 pre-Kalikratis local administrative units). Along with Epirus it is supervised by the Decentralized Administration of Epirus and West Macedonia based at Ioannina.

Municipality Population Seat
1. Kozani 68.680 Kozani
2. Eordaia 46.540 Ptolemaida
3. Voio 22.447 Siatista
4. Servia-Velventos 17.657 Servia
5. Deskati 7.383 Deskati
6. Grevena 30.564 Grevena
7. Nestorio 3.542 Nestorio
8. Orestida 13.375 Argos Orestiko
9. Kastoria 36.566 Kastoria
10. Prespes 2.511 Laimos
11. Florina 33.282 Florina
12. Amyntaio 18.975 Amyntaio
Source: Resolution 45892, Ministry of Interior (in Greek)

The region's governor is, since 1 January 2011, Konstantinos Dakis, who was elected in the November 2010 local administration elections for the New Democracy party.
Demographics
The administrative building of West Macedonia region in Kozani

According to the 2001 census,[1] the population of West Macedonia was 303,857 people. Today, the region has a mixed population of Greeks and Slavophone Greeks (12% of the population). The former are mainly concentrated in the towns Florina, Kastoria and Ptolemaida.[2][3] Other smaller communities include Aromanians and Arvanites.
Ptolemaida.
West Macedonia. The bridge over the Polyfytos artificial lake of the river Aliakmonas in Kozani Prefecture.
The community of Nymfaio in Florina Prefecture.
The lake Orestiada in Kastoria.
Neoclassical houses at the shoreline of Sakoulevas river, Florina.
Georgios Lassanis mansion in Kozani.

The biggest towns in each prefecture, according to the census of 2001 (only towns with population more than 1,000 recorded):

Prefecture Capital Area (km²) Population
Grevena Grevena 2,291 32,567
1 Grevena 16,421
2 Deskati 4,931
3 Irakleotes 2,418
4 Ventzio 2,364
5 Chasia 2,114
6 Theodoros Ziakas 1,723
7 Kosmas o Aitolos 1,243
8 Gorgiani 1,049
Kastoria Kastoria 1,720 53,584
1 Kastoria 17,038
2 Orestida 10,146
3 Agia Triada 6,199
4 Mesopotamia 4,100
5 Makednos 3,398
6 Ion Dragoumis 3,333
7 Agioi Anargyroi 2,690
8 Nestorio 1,533
9 Vitsi 1,436
10 Akrites 1,013
Kozani Kozani 3,516 153,959
1 Kozani 49,812
2 Ptolemaida 36,393
3 Servia 9,512
4 Ellispontos 7,481
5 Siatista 6,589
6 Elimeia 6,320
7 Neapoli 4,745
8 Mouriki 4,744
9 Askio 4,530
10 Tsotyli 3,780
11 Aiani 3,746
12 Velventos 3,549
13 Vermio 3,303
14 Dimitrios Ypsilantis 2,861
15 Kamvounia 2,076
16 Livadero 1,597
17 Agia Paraskevi 1,595
Florina Florina 1,924 54,109
1 Florina 17,500
2 Amyntaio 8,468
3 Meliti 6,909
4 Perasma 5,392
5 Filotas 4,442
6 Kato Kleines 3,787
7 Aetos 3,394
8 Prespes 1,781
9 Lechovo 1,183
Total West Macedonia Kozani 9,451 303,857[4]


Education

The University of Western Macedonia and the technological faculties help in the intellectual growth of region. There is a big number of students who's studying main in the Pedagogic Department and in Department of Balkan study of the University in Florina and in the Department of Energy Management of the University and in Technological Educational Institute of Western Macedonia in Kozani.
Media
Television channels

West channel - Kozani
TOP channel - Kozani
Kanali 28 - Grevena
TRM - Grevena
Flash TV - Kastoria/Kozani
Dyktio - kastoria


References

^ http://www.statistics.gr/gr_tables/S1101_SAP_1_TB_DC_01_03_Y.pdf
^ Roudometof, Victor (2002). Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 124. ISBN 0-275-97648-3.
^ Usage des langues minoritaires dans les départements de Florina et d’Aridea (Macédoine); Riki Van Boeschoten
^ 2001 census

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