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Ptolemaida (Greek: Πτολεμαΐδα, Ptolemaïda, Katharevousa: Πτολεμαΐς, Ptolemaïs) is a town and a former municipality in Kozani peripheral unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Eordaia, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit.[1] It is known for its coal (lignite) mines and its power stations.

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Modern Greek: Πτολεμαΐδα Ptolemaida since 1927, Καϊλάρια Kailaria previously
Katharevousa: Πτολεμαΐς Ptolemais
Turkish: Kayılar, Kaylar, Kayalar,
Bulgarian: Кайляри, Kaylyari; several other forms exist
Slavic: Кајлари – Kajlari or Кајљар – Kajljar


During the Ottoman period, the city was named Kaylar, rendered into English as Kailar;[2] this name was retained in Greek as Kailaria (Καϊλάρια) until 1927 Kailar refers to the Kayı tribe, the tribe of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The modern name Ptolemaida was introduced by decree on January 20, 1927, honoring Ptolemy son of Lagus, a comrade-in-arms of Alexander the Great, and his daughter Ptolemaïs.[3] His statue stands in the central square of the city.



According to archaeologists, the Ptolemaida region has been occupied since 6000 BCE.[4]

Neolithic times
Prehistoric jewelry found in Ptolemaida.

Archaeologists, in November 2005, discovered the remains of two farming villages dating back to the Neolithic period. A press report notes that such farming villages were trading centres and had a "developed knowledge of metalworking".[4]

A golden necklace dating to roughly 4500 BCE was discovered on February 16, 2006.[4] Associated Press reporter Costas Kantouris describes the item as a "flat, roughly ring-shaped [which] probably had religious significance and would have been worn on a necklace by a prominent member of society."[4]

Lately in the lake Zazari near Ptolemaida there were found 16 houses that belong in the Neolithic era due to archaaeologists. These houses were in the lake and were exposed because of the decreased water level of the lake. That particular small settlement gives information about the society and the people in the Neolithic era.

Ancient period
Ancient Greek ceramic plate from Ptolemaida.
Ancient Macedonian grave in Ptolemaida.

In the area of Ptolemaida many archeological findings have occurred in the last 30 years due to mining operations. Ceramic artifacts, dating to the 6th century BC have been found at two sites near Grevena and Ptolemaida. Archaeologists found the artifacts at two prehistoric farming settlements. Two Ancient Macedonian graves have also been found in the area of Ptolemaida, dated from the 5th century BC.

Byzantine Period
Main articles: Empire of Nicaea, Despotate of Epirus, Kingdom of Thessalonica, and Battle of Pelagonia

At various times, Ptolemaida was part of the Latin Empire, the Kingdom of Thessalonica, the Empire of Nicaea, and the Despotate of Epirus.[CN] The borders among the Latin Empire, the Empire of Nicaea, the Empire of Trebizond, and the Despotate of Epirus are very uncertain.


Ottoman period

During the Ottoman period, Ptolemaida was called Kayılar, and it had two parts: Aşağı Kayılar and Yukarı Kayılar. Aşağı Kayılar was Bektaşi and Yukarı Kayılar was Rufai, Hanefi.

Before 1360, large numbers of nomad shepherds, or Yörüks, from the district of Konya, in Asia Minor, had settled in Macedonia; their descendants were known as Konariotes[CN]. Further immigration from this region took place from time to time up to the middle of the 18th century. After the establishment of the feudal system in 1397, many of the Seljuk noble families came over from Asia Minor; their descendants may be recognized among the Beys or Muslim landowners in Kayılar[CN]. At the beginning of the 18th century, the Turkish population was quite considerable, but since that time it has continuously decreased. A low birth rate, the exhaustion of the male population by military service, and a large mortality from epidemics have brought about a decline which has lately been hastened by emigration. The Turkish rural population around Kayılar was mainly composed of Konariot shepherds[CN]. Ptolemaida was taken by Greek forces on October 15, 1912.

The municipal library.

Ptolemaida's football club is called "Eordaikos" (Greek: Εορδαϊκός). Other teams include AE Ptolemaidas. Ptolemaida has schools, lyceums, gymnasia, churches, banks, a post office, a train station (Kozani - Florina), a police station, a water tower, and squares (plateies). There is the potential of a university being established by the state in the near future.

Lignite mine of Ptolemaida.

Ptolemaida is a highly industrialized area. The four power plants in this area produce 70% of Greece's electrical power, using the large local deposits of lignite as fuel. The plants are owned by the Public Power Corporation (DEI), the major employer in the city. The plant was dedicated by the prime minister of Greece at that time, Constantine Karamanlis. The other two are in Amyntaio in Florina and in Agios Dimitrios.


Askio mountain near the city.

The city, situated in the middle of the Eordaia plain of Western Macedonia, has a continental climate. Summers can be hot with thunderstorms in unsettled spells, whereas winters are among the coldest in Greece. It is here that the absolute low temperature record of Greece was recorded (-27.8°C on 27 January 1963).


The current Municipality of Ptolemaida is constituted by the city of Ptolemaida and 12 small communities which all together cover an extent of 2.179 square kilometres. At the 2001 census, the population of the city was 30,017 residents. The total population of the municipality in 1991 was 32,775 residents.
Year Town Population Municipality population
1940 7,719 -
1951 8,816 -
1961 12,747 -
1971 16,588 -
1981 22,109 -
1991 25,125 32,775
2001 30,017 36,393


The city lies in the valley of Eordaia, between the Askio mountains to the southwest and the Vermio mountains to the northeast. It is located north of Kozani, east of Kastoria, south of Florina, and south-west of Edessa. Since the 1960s, GR-3/E65 has bypassed it to the east. It is the seat of the province of Eordia.
Florina Filotas - Amyntaio Edessa
Kastoria Brosen windrose.svg Veroia - Naousa
Neapoli - Siatista & Grevena Kozani Velventos - Servia

Ethnic groups

A substantial proportion of Ptolemaida's residents are Pontic Greek from Sourmene or Sürmene, Turkey[CN] or their descendants. These were refugees from Asia Minor who first arrived in Macedonia during the 1920s as a result of the population exchange according to the Treaty of Lausanne.

Famous people

Pantelis Kapetanos
Mara Darmousli (1982) fashion model

Friendship towns

Cyprus Enkomi, Cyprus
Czech Republic Most, Czech Republic

See also

Battle of Ptolemaida
List of communities of Kozani


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
^ Encyclopedia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1911)
^ "(Greek)Ptolemaida Web Portal". Retrieved 2008-01-10.
^ a b c d Kantouris, Costas (February 16, 2006). "Greek Hiker Finds 6,500-Year-Old Pendant". AP.

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