Short history of the Prefecture of Imathia
The meaning of the name Imathia is in greek “sandy area” (from amathos = ammos). It was the name for the valley next to Thermaikos bay, when the Kingdom of Macedonia was formed.
It described the area between the Aliakmona and Loudias rivers, which comprised the core of the kingdom and, amongst other cities, included the city of Edessa or Aiges, the ancient capital and Sacred city of Macedonia, Veroia and Kition (modern Naoussa). For a certain period of time, Imathia was the name of the whole Macedonia region. Homer called Imathia Eratini, while Ptolemy included the region amongst 13 other urban centers of Macedonia. Polybius placed Imathia at the country of Paeonians.
The history of Imathia goes back many centuries and is associated with all phases of Greek history.
Ηuman settlements appear from prehistoric times. One of the oldest Neolithic settlements in Europe (6000 BC) is situated in New Nicomedia, near Veroia.
On the foothills of the Pieria cordillera, in the location of today’s Vergina, was built Aiges, the capital of Macedonia, site of the royal Necropolis too. The Royal Tombs of Vergina, the Tomb of Philip and its unique findings, are without a shadow of a doubt of a great value at a global scale.
Important Macedonian Tombs also exist in the region of Lefkadia, in the municipality of Anthemia, where three considerable Burial Monuments are preserved: the Tomb of Judgment, the Tomb of Lyson and Kallikles and the Tomb of Anthemia. In the same area is located the ancient Mieza and Aristotle's school, where Alexander the Great received his education by the great philosopher.
In Roman times, the area flourishes and Veroia becomes the seat of the
“Public of Macedonians” as well as a religious center. In 54 AD, Apostle Paul declares the new Christian faith in Veroia. Τhe “Vima”, the place where he spoke, is preserved.
During the Byzantine period the area experiences major growth. Numerous Churches (48) are preserved from that period, hosting amazing frescoes – religious paintings many of which are exhibited in the town’s Byzantine Museum. Numerous examples of Macedonian folk architecture, in the traditional neighborhoods, Kyriotissa and Barbuta, are also preserved. Naoussa flourishes at the same time, becoming a center of crafts center and, later, of industry, important samples of which survive today.
Contemporary Imathia has developed a strong agricultural and industrial development thanks to the irrigated plains by the river Aliakmona and the plantations of fruit trees.
The mountainous landscapes of the Prefecture are of special interest since unique natural ecosystems are met there. Important places for holidays and pilgrimage are Panagia Sumela in Chestnut, Grammeni Vermio and Aghios Nikolaos in Naoussa.