Edessa (Greek: Έδεσσα is a town , population 18253 (2001) inhabitants in northern Greece, the capital of the Pella prefecture, part of the Edessa municipality. Edessa is also the home of the Marketing and Administration Department of the University of Macedonia. Website
The name Edessa was ascribed an Illyrian origin by U. Wilcken, in his biography of Alexander the Great (noted by Walter Bauer 1934; 1971; ch. 1), the "town of the waters", due to its copious water resources and its tourist attraction of the waterfalls, located in the actual town center. The Ancient Macedonian name "Edessa" was commemorated by Seleucus I Nicator in refounding an ancient city in northern Mesopotamia: see Edessa, Mesopotamia. The name of the city in Slavic is "Voden/Воден" (derived from voda/вода, i.e. water), in Turkish the city can be known as either "Edessa" or "Vodine", and in Aromanian the city can be known as either "Edessa" or "Vudena", which comes from an alternative Greek name for the city Βοδενά Vodená.
Archaelogical remains have been discovered on the site of ancient Edessa, just below the modern city. The walls and the agora have been unearthed so far. A colonade with inscription in Greek dates from Roman times. The city achieved certain prominence in the first centuries AD, being located in the Via Egnatia. From 27 BC to 249 AD it had its own mint. St. Vassa and her three children were put to death in the 3rd Century AD.
Very little is known about the fate of the city after 500 AD. Its bishop Issidoros participated in the Ecumenical Council of 692. After the slavic settlements of the 6th-8th century, the name of "Edessa" disappears and what remains of the city (a fortress in the acropolis of the ancient city) is renamed "Vodena". It is known as such to the 11th century Byzantine historian John Skylitzes. It is mentioned as both Edessa and Vodena by emperor-historian John VI Kantakouzenos who laid siege to the city in the 1340s. Conquered by the Sebs of Stephen Dusan at that time, it fell to the Ottomans along with the rest of Macedonia around 1390.
After more than 500 years of Ottoman rule, Edessa was liberated by the Greek Army on 18 October 1912. At that time, it was already well on its way to becoming a major industrial center in Macedonia. Four large textile factories were in operation by 1914, employing the abundant waterfalls as a source of energy. In addition, a large segment of the population specialised in silk production, allowing Edessa to enjoy a high standard of living in the interwar period (1922-1940).
The town suffered during the last days of German occupation in 1944. As a retaliation for the shooting of one soldier by resistance fighters, the Nazis put Edessa to fire. Half of the city, including the Cathedral and the First Primary School, were destroyed and thousands of people were left homeless.
In the postwar period Edessa gradually lost its competitive advantage in industry and declined economically and in population. In the beginning of the 21st century, it is a city based on services (mostly linked to its function as capital of the Pella Prefecture) and tourism.
Year Population Municipal population
Division of the municipality
Flamouria (gr. word for Small-leaved Lime or Small-leaved Linden or Tilia cordata tree) is a village (alt. 315 m) c. 10 km SW of Edessa . Before 1928 Flamouria was known as Podos. The Flamouria municipal district includes also the village Agia Foteini. The villages of the district were destroyed by Ottoman forces during the Greek war of independence of 1821.
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