Libraries and museums in Kozani

The Kozani district offers visitors many opportunities to discover its history, from the very distant past to the very recent. Archaeological sites, museums and libraries, as well as small folk art collections, encapsulate a journey of up to two million years, from the time of the giant Mastodons until today.

Τhe Koventareios Municipal Library of Kozani is literally the pride and joy of the town, as the richness and wide variety of its content have earned it a high position among the top libraries in Greece. Its founding days can be traced back to the 17th century, when Kozani emerged as a powerful economic and intellectual centre in Western Macedonia. The library has grown from 440 volumes which were listed in the first manuscript catalogue of the school library of ‘Ellinomouseio’ (Hellenic Museum) in 1690, to more than 120,000 books, manuscripts, codices, maps, newspapers, and magazines, housed in a brand new beautifully designed building. The collection includes 15th century editions of works by Aristotle, a copy of the 12-page Map by Rigas Velestinlis (1797 - a celebrated fighter for the Greek Independence), the world map by Anthimos Gazis (1800 - another noted fighter for the Greek cause) and many more rare prints. It also includes thousands of modern titles and periodicals, which can be borrowed or read in its reading rooms. The exhibits in each museum section outline the history of the town.

The History, Folk Art, and Natural History Museum of Kozani was founded in 1969, following the initiative of the Association of Letters and Arts of Kozani, which runs it. It is housed in a privately owned building in the town centre, built in the style common among the Macedonian Historic Houses and it showcases exhibits from prehistoric to modern times, on six levels. On display in the Natural History Department are rocks, plant and animal fossils, a collection of 220 aromatic and medicinal plants of Kozani and stuffed animals from different parts of the world. The Archaeology and History Department contains objects, tools, weapons and coins, from the Neolithic Era to the end of the Byzantine Era, as well as memorabilia related to the national struggles for freedom up until the German Occupation during World War II.

The levels of the Folk Art Department make perhaps the biggest impression on visitors, with displays of beautiful traditional costumes, reconstructions of workshops and shops, and entire rooms with traditional decoration.

Aiani was an important ancient town in Upper Macedonia and the capital of the kingdom of Elimeia. It was built a few hundred metres away from the present town, in an area inhabited at least since the Late Bronze Age. The significant finds from excavations in the ancient town but also in the wider area, which cover a period from 6000 BC until the 2nd century AD, are on display in the Archaeological Museum of Aiani, which opened in 2002. The archaeological site and the nearby necropolis are also open to the public.

The rooms of the Paleontological & Historical Museum of Ptolemaida contain finds from the Eordea basin, and the surrounding area, which are dated about three million years ago. They also house a collection of works of art by famous Greek painters, such as Moralis, Vakalo, Tetsis and others.

The Paleontological Collection of Siatista, which was put together at the beginning of the 20th century, includes findings from the area, with perhaps the most important one being the section of the skull and the whole tusks of the “elephant of Kaloneri”, dated some 125,000 years ago. Some remarkable exhibits are also on display in the Ecclesiastical Museum of Siatista; they include icons, wood-carved artefacts, handicraft, codices, manuscripts, books and vestments. The Siatista Botanical Collection contains more than 500 rare plant species from Mount Bourinos.

The Byzantine citadel of Servia, built on a prominent location on a hill above the present-day town, used to control the valley of Aliakmonas River and the passage to the straits of Sarandaporo. It is definitely worth a visit, if only for the wonderful views.

There are quite a few Folk Art Museums and collections you can visit in the area, which are mostly run by local cultural associations in Servia, Velventos, Kastania, Messiani, Eratyra, Chorigo, Skalochori, and Avgerinos.