This town, again, rarely features in conventional tourist brochures, which in a way is good because that way a visitor gets more of the local flavour. This town lies at the very western end of the great Thessalian plain, where it begins to break up and give way to the mighty Pindos mountain range of Epiros. Karditsa is a placid market town, known for its storks that live among the lowland reeds. Several smart hostels have gone up on the slopes to the west, where on a fine day one can see clear across to snow-capped Mount Olympus 100 miles away. The city of Karditsa is in Southwestern Thessaly. It is the capital of Karditsa prefecture, built next to a branch of Pinios river. The city was settled in the early 17th century whereas its name comes either from the word ‘kariditsa’ (small walnut) or from the Slavic word ‘gradtitsa’ (town). Others associate Karditsa with an old town in Kopaida, by the same name. Due to its location Karditsa was a place for travelers to rest, and a commercial center. The city of Karditsa was the first to have been liberated from the Germans during the 2nd World War. (September 2, 1943). Today it is a financial, administrative and cultural center of the prefecture. It has a very good street-plan, a lot of pedestrian zones and the first network of bicycle tracks. The network comprises 4km and 10km of city and belt bicycle tracks respectively. In Karditsa we find the Department of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Thessaly, and also the Technological Educational Institute Departments of: Technology and Design of Wood and Furniture, Forestry and Natural Environment Administration, Food Technology and Nutrition and Dietetics.
• The city is built on the west side of the Thessalian plain, and today’s population is more than 35,000 people.
• The climate here is continental whereas the average yearly temperature is 15-16 oC, winters being quite cold and summers being hot.
• Karditsa is connected to South Greece through Highway E65, and there are also highways to Larissa and Trikala.
• The city center has been pedestrianized, while the whole city can be explored on foot.
• There is a bicycle track network in and out of the city center.
• Hotels of all grades are available.
• A General Hospital.
• Various sports facilities.
• Parks and squares.
• Railway and bus service to other Greek cities.
• Entertainment in a variety of clubs, pubs and cafés.
• Night clubs with live music that can lift your spirits.
• A wide range of lunch or dinner choices, drinking the local wine or ‘tsipouro’.
• Relaxation enjoying its peaceful rhythms of life.
• Leave your car in one of the municipal parking garages, borrow a bike from the Municipal Authorities and go for a ride through the city’s bicycle tracks.
• Tour around the Municipal Market Building of Karditsa, a European Architectural Heritage monument.
• Walk through the central pedestrian zones and look for Valvi Street, which retains the old city aroma.
• Have a relaxing time in ‘Pafsilipo’, the ‘trade-mark’ of Karditsa, which is a green park in the city center, with peacocks strolling casually through it.
• Visit the Lambros and Nafsika Sakellariou Folklore Museum, where you can see personal items that belonged to Nikolaos Plastiras, ‘Karagouna’ national costumes, jewelry and traditional costume accessories.
• Visit the Church of Zoodohos Pigi (the Life-giving Source) that was built in the 19th century and see its woodcut chancel screen.
• Drink the local ‘tsipouro’ and taste authentic Greek recipes in one of the many ouzo-selling bars.
The long experience of the viniculturalists, the favourable climate conditions and the morphology of the ground in the area have contributed to the production of quality vinification and distillation products. The prefecture of Plastiras includes the VQPRD Viniculture Zone of Moshato – Mesenikolas – Morfovouni, where the following varieties are cultivated: Roditis, Batiki, Hamburg Muscat, Chardonnay, Carignan etc. The local black Mesenikolas variety, a mixture of Syrah and Carignan stands out, producing the red VQPRD wine “Mesenikolas”, quality wine produced in a specific region, after ageing in oak barrels.
On the way to the lake
East route following the shore of the lake: Two important road axes start from Mitropoli going past the villages of the municipality of Plastiras and reaching the beautiful plateau and Plastiras Lake. Following the east route of the Mitropoli junction we end up in the east side of the lake. The route is extremely beautiful with a panoramic view over the Thessaly plain.
On the left of the road, three km from Mitropolis, we come upon the artificial lake, the hydroelectric plant of Plastiras Lake and taverns, open all year round. On the way, after a while, we reach Moshato: a village 15 km from Karditsa, at an altitude of 450 meters, with a beautiful view and tourist infrastructure (guest houses, restaurants), a big square, parking spaces and a cool breeze even in summer months. In the outskirts of the village, one can admire the single-arched stone bridge dating from the end of the 18th or the beginning of the 19th centuries.
Going up on the narrow winding road towards Plastiras Lake, the view is extraordinary. Far away in the horizon, one can see Trikala, the snowcapped Mountain Olympus on the right nd Mountain Kissvos next to it. Closer to the visitor is the Thessaly plain, with its big vriety of colours, depending on the season, along with the town of karditsa and surrounding villages, the artificial lake with the blue waters, more or less full depending on the irrigation needs of the plain and the water supply needs of the people, the hydroelectric plant, the big metal pipe transporting water from the lake etc.
The rich and multi-coloured lighting in the vast Thessaly plain and the yellow bright line of the metal pipe create a unique feeling during the night making the route even more pleasurable. At the top of the hill, over Moschato and at an altitude of approximately 800 m. the imposing Holy Monastery of Korona dominates the landscape.
The innumerous streams and valleys near the rivers contribute to the development of rich flora and the creation of a big variety of ecosystems. Hundreds of plant and animal species find shelter in the quiet “nest” of this Agrafiote corner.
The road connections of the municipality with regions of the prefecture of Evritania (Agrafa, Kleisto, Mavromata), with the exquisitely beautiful routes, the extensive forest and prefectural road network crossing the municipality and connecting the boroughs and the tourist attractions are additional benefits. Nature lovers can enjoy the majestic Agrafa landscape and visit Plastiras Lake; they can enjoy the beauty of the natural ecological park with the abundance of water in the rivers and the gorges in the south part of the municipality and head for Karpenisi and Agrinio. Moreover, the municipality of Itamos has the privilege of being “hosted” in an area with an age-long history and be proud of the rich archaeological findings in the lowland districts and the important religious and cultural monuments dispersed everywhere within its borders.
It covers geographically the west side of Plastiras Lake and includes almost all its modern tourist facilities, which are constantly being developed. This fact makes the municipality of Nevropolis of Agrafa stand out from all the other municipalities of theprefecture of karditsa as regards tourist infrastructure and development. The seat of the municipality, Pezoula, is 34 km to the west of Karditsa at an altitude of 900m.
Sources: inthessaly.gr, karditsa-net.gr, karditsa-city.gr, karditsa.gr