The prehistoric settlement of Dispilio is one of the oldest lake settlements discovered in Europe and gives us a complete picture of an early civilization with miraculous achievements. Its early phase dates back to around 5500 BC. The inhabitants lived in huts that they built in the lake, on stilt platforms. The 3,000 people who lived here fished, hunted, cultivated the land, raised domestic animals, made tools and utensils, knew writing and music. Among the important finds of Dispilio are a wooden inscribed sign, a boat made of one piece of wood and bird bone lighters among the oldest in Europe. The Neolithic settlement of Avgi was founded 7500 years ago (5650 BC). During its approximately 1000 years of life, it developed over an area of 50-60 acres and was surrounded by ditches. The excavations at Avgi, which until October 2008 were carried out on an area of 2000 sq.m. , bring to light interesting facts about residential organization and building techniques, agricultural production, processing and storage of agricultural products, food preparation and preparation, tool equipment, jewelry as well as elements of Neolithic burial practice and ideology society.
The Roman historian Titus Livius mentions that in the 5th century BC, in the place where Kastoria is today, there was city named Kelitron, while in the 6th BC century Procopius Caesareus mentions that there is a lake Kastoria in Macedonia. The wider area is identified with the ancient Orestida, where Orestes "Macedonians", as they are called by Herodotus, lived. Orestida, despite the few findings that have been preserved, seems to be an important urban center that actively participated in the developments and aesthetic pursuits of the time. In Roman times, the center of the region was the city of Diocletianoupolis, which was built in the area where Argos Orestikos is located today. The name of the city, which was founded by the emperor Diocletian (284-305 AD), was sacked by the Goths or Ostrogoths at the end of the 4th century AD. The region passed into the hands of the Romans in 197 BC, under the regime of an idiosyncratic local autonomy. During the period when the Roman state was divided (396 AD), the area was part of the Eastern Roman state and later of the Byzantine Empire. Because of its strategic location, the city went through many adventures and was, at that time, a bone of contention for many.
In 550 AD Justinian renamed it Justinianopolis, and turned it into a strong fortress, walling it with a double castle, the remains of which are preserved to this day. From 927 to 969 AD it was under the possession of the Bulgarians, who were expelled by the Pechenegs at the instigation of the Byzantines. In 990 AD the tsar of the Bulgarians, Samuel, during his raid on Greek territory, also captured Kastoria. When it was liberated in 1018 by Basil II the Bulgar-killer, the city became a base for the emperor's subsequent military operations. From 1082 until the fall of Constantinople and its occupation by the Franks in 1204, it was occupied by Normans, Albanians, Crusaders, Serbs and finally Turks. The occupation of Kastoria by the Turks took place in 1385 and lasted, for five centuries, until 1912. The position of the conquered Kastorians improved noticeably after 1528, when the area became "hashi", i.e. property of the Sultan. From the 17th century, furriers traded outside the borders of the Ottoman Empire, gaining wealth and prestige.
Kastoria was the area from where the liberating Macedonian Struggle (1904-1908) was launched. The resistance action against the Bulgarians was organized here, led by Pavlos Melas who, with his death in 1904, triggered the developments, raising awareness among all Greeks. The day of liberation from the Turks, Serbs and Bulgarians came on November 11, 1912, when Ioannis Artis entered the city victorious. The inhabitants of the area were present both in the Balkans (1912-1913), as well as in the First (1914-1918) and Second (1940-1945) World War. During the Civil War (1946-1949) it was again at the center of developments, since some of the most horrific pages of Greek history took place in the mountains that surround it.
Editor: Niki Kalopaidis