In ancient times, Pieria was the name of the area of lower Macedonia that almost corresponds to the current plain of Katerinis.
It extended, according to Herodotus' description, along the sea south of Imathia and Aliakmons to Mount Olympus and Pinios, which were also the borders between Macedonia and Thessaly
. Pieria was densely populated from the Neolithic period, while during the Bronze Age it developed culture alongside the Mycenaean culture.
The findings resulting from the rescue excavation in the Neolithic settlement of Makrygialos testify that there was already a habitation in 5,300 BC.
Recently, other Neolithic sites have been identified in Paliabella (near Kolindros), Ritini and Platamonas, as well as a cemetery from the Mycenaean era (1300 BC and before) at Spathes of Agios Dimitrios.
Homeland of Orpheus and the Muses, Pieria has on its territory two emblematic mountains, Pieria in the west and Olympus in the south
. In the first millennium BC, the area was mentioned for the first time under the name of Pieria.
Before the Macedonians, around 1200 BC, the area was inhabited by the Pieres.
The Pieres were a Thracian race who were expelled with the arrival of the Macedonians of Perdiccas I in lower Macedonia and then settled to the east of the Strymon at the foot of Pangaeus, from where they displaced the Idonians.
However, the fact that the name of Pieria is Greek leads to the conclusion that, before the settlement of Pieria, the area must have received Greek influences. Experts believe that it was formerly inhabited by the Magnites, whom Hesiod places exactly in Pieria, while later we find them in the region of Pelion.
After the settlement of the Macedonians in Pieria, it became one of the most important regions of their kingdom, whose fortunes it followed.
Its most important cities were Dion, the holy city of the Macedonians, Heraklia, Methoni, Pydna, Phila and Levithra.
During the Persian Wars, Xerxes followed the direction of today's Katerini-Elassona road and forced the Greeks who were in Tempi to collapse and be driven to the Straits of Thermopylae, where the battle was fought.
During the civil war between Athens and Sparta (432 BC), which became known as the Peloponnesian War, the Athenians laid siege to Pydna, in order to intensify their provocations against Sparta and the Macedonian allies.
During the years of Alexander the Great soldiers from Pieria settled on the banks of the Orontes River in Syria and again called their rich new region Pieria. Also, the Macedonian soldier Alexander the Great sacrificed himself at Dion shortly before setting out on his campaign in India. In fact, to the temples of Zeus, the son of Philip II sent the bronze statues of his 25 warriors who died in the Battle of Granikos Potamos. Olympias, his mother, also died in Pieria, while the last Macedonian king, Perseus, was defeated in the Battle of Pydna by the Romans, in 168 BC.
During the Roman rule, Pieria was part of the province of Macedonia, which was now under Roman rule. In 149 BC, the rebellion of Andriskos, allegedly the son of Perseus, who started from the Pieria Mountains and headed for Thessaly, was suppressed.
In the mountains of Pieria, the forces of Ostilius Magginus in Thessaly were pinned down and thus his plans to invade the valley of Aliakmona were thwarted. Also, from Olympus, Perseus began his resistance to Marcus Philip. It would take four years, with the Battle of Pydna, to completely subdue it.
In the Byzantine and medieval years, Pieria suffered from many peoples who wanted to conquer it.
Initially the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths besieged the region and in 473 it was granted, like Macedonia, to the Ostrogoths, by Emperor Leo I himself. For the next century, the Huns would be the scourge of the region, followed by the Avars and Slavs, who would temporarily settle in the region.
In the 10th century, Pieria was administratively subordinated to the Thema of Thessaloniki, while ecclesiastically it belonged to the Diocese of Thessaloniki with the Diocese of Kitros occupying the first place among 11 Episcopates of the time.
In 989, Pieria submits to the Bulgarians, as does all of Macedonia. The raids of the Serbs, the Patsinakis, the Normans and the Venetians followed.
During the Frankish period, Pieria belonged to the Frankish kingdom of Thessaloniki. The Venetians did not manage to dominate, but they left their mark on the prefecture, such as the Castle of Platamonas. In 1389 Pieria was occupied by the Turks.
With the entry of the Franks into Greece, Pieria was granted (as part of the Kingdom of Thessalonica) to Boniface the Momferatikos, who left for Southern Greece, in 1204. The castles of Kitros and Platamon were granted to people of .The castle of Virich von Daun took Citrus and Rolando Pique took Platamon. The two castles were crudely repaired and Platamonas was used as a prison for unwanted Franks, who had been captured at the Battle of Pelagonia (1259).
Also, Latin churches are founded in Platamonas and Kitros, with a Catholic bishop. In 1220-24 the Castle of Platamon was taken over by Theodore I Komnenos the Duke and the Frankish Kingdom of Thessaloniki was dissolved. The castle was then occupied by Theodoros and passed under the control of his brother, Manuel Komnenos Doukas. It was then annexed to the Despotate of Epirus by Michael and used to imprison the Franks.
The emperor's Catalan mercenaries revolted in the early 14th century and sacked Pieria. Platamonas will be used again as a prison for the Rebel Zealots, in 1345, who were defeated by Apokaukos.
From the end of the 17th century, the area of Pieria was a place for the activity of thieves and cartels. After 1691, the first bodies of thieves appeared. The village of Milia became a center of resistance. The wrath of the Ottomans broke out on the women and children of the village. The Turks destroyed the village and imprisoned its population.
Olympus was one of the most important protata, i.e. large armatolic regions. Armatoli who operated in the area were the captain Panos Zidros and the first lieutenant of Lapa (who took part in the rebellion of the Orloviki in 1770 with his own body), Tsaras, Georgakis Olympios, I. Farmakis, Nikotsaras and others. The mountains of Pieria and Olympus were in the hands of the revolutionaries. Finally, the latter succeeded in being granted amnesty and forcing the Turks not to allow Turkish forces to pass through the region.
The second chariotry in Greece was founded in Olympus, led by Kara Michalis, in 1489. The activity of the thieves in Olympus caused the Turks to vent their anger on the thieves' ally (at the end of the 17th century) Milia, which they destroyed. During that period, Livadi Olympos became the headquarters of the chariotry of Olympus and Western Macedonia, and Panos Zidros took over as its first recognized commander.
In the 18th century, the Turks were forced to replace the charioteers (who often switched to the class of thieves) with Turkalvan charioteers, who ravaged the Macedonian countryside. However, until their capitulation with Ali Pasha, the charioteers of Olympus did not stop fighting on land and at sea. Big names that operated there and in other areas include Nikotsara, Georgakis Olympio and the legendary Lazai family. Ali Pasha, with his action, forced the Lazaians and other charioteers to become corsairs, with the Sporades as their field of action.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Pieria passed into the hands of Ali Pasha. The participation of Pieria in the Struggle of 1821 is active. Commanders of Olympus took part in the Revolution of Naoussa and Veria. These chieftains, after 1822, went down to southern Greece and helped a lot in the Struggle, while after the end of the Revolution (1830) the chieftains returned to their lairs.
The thieves from Olympus fought on the side of Emmanuel Papas in Halkidiki. At the beginning of 1822, revolutionary movements took place in Olympos and Pieria, with Kolindros and Naoussa as strongholds.
The well-known Genus teacher Theofilos Kairis took part in the Olympus Revolution in 1822, when he was even injured.
A milestone in the glorious history of the prefecture during the Turkish occupation is 1878, when the failed but heroic rebellion in Litochoro took place. In Litochoro, the election of the provisional government took place, which circulated a proclamation to Europe declaring the union of Macedonia with the rest of Greece.
The Revolution was suppressed by the Turks. On March 3, 1878, the Litochoro Holocaust took place. The Monastery of All Saints became the new Zalogos of Macedonia.
Pieria was also present in the Macedonian Struggle, resisting the Bulgarian comitatzis as well as the Romanian propaganda.
Captain Matapas with the organization of the National Committee in Katerini with the participation of 3,000 Cretans in the battles and Parthenios Vardakas, who closed the Romanian school in Katerini in 1904, coordinate the Fight. Despite the assassination attempt against Parthenius, by nationalist Turkalvans, the Struggle achieved its goal.
On October 16, 1912, the Greek army liberated Katerini and the last battle fought was in Kolokouri (today's Svoronos).
During the Occupation, Olympus became a supply center for the rebels. On April 12, 1941, the Germans invaded Katerini
During the Nazi occupation, a series of daring acts by resistance groups took place on the territory of Pieria, such as the blowing up of sections of the Katerini and Platamonas railway lines, the facilitation of the exit to the Middle East of British soldiers and officers with Litochori ships and the attacks on Variko and in Karitsa.
They inflicted critical blows on the occupying troops, while the Germans responded with retaliatory destruction and executions.
After the liberation of Athens, the Nazis left Katerini on October 26, 1944.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou