Western Macedonia
Δυτική Μακεδονία
Location of Western Macedonia
Coordinates: 40°24′N 21°30′E / 40.4°N 21.5°E / 40.4; 21.5
Country Greece
Region Macedonia
Decentralized AdministrationEpirus and Western Macedonia
Regional units
 • Regional governorGiorgos Amanatidis [el] (New Democracy)
 • Total9,451 km2 (3,649 sq mi)
 • Total255,056
 • Density27/km2 (70/sq mi)
 • Total€3.702 billion (2021)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
ISO 3166 codeGR-C
HDI (2019)0.880[3]
very high · 2nd of 13

Western Macedonia (Greek: Δυτική Μακεδονία, romanizedDitikí Makedonía, Greek pronunciation: [ðitiˈki makeðoˈnia]) is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece, consisting of the western part of Macedonia. Located in north-western Greece, it is divided into the regional units of Florina, Grevena, Kastoria, and Kozani. With a population of approximately 255,000 people, as of 2021, the region had one of the highest unemployment rates in the European Union.[4][5]


The region of Western Macedonia is situated in north-western Greece, bordering with the regions of Central Macedonia (east), Thessaly (south), Epirus (west), and bounded to the north at the international borders of Greece with the Republic of North Macedonia (Bitola, Resen and Novaci municipalities) and Albania (Korçë County).

Although it covers a total surface of 9,451 km2 (3,649 sq mi) (7.2% of country's total), it has a total population of 283,689 inhabitants (2.6% of the country's total), thus it is a low-density populated region (30 per km2, as compared to the country's 81.96 per km2 average). This is mainly due to the mountainous nature of the region, as 82% of the total surface are mountainous and semi-mountainous areas. This is also reflected in the population distribution, as a majority of the population (56%) lives in rural areas. The capital of the region is Kozani with 53,880 inhabitants. Other main towns are Ptolemaida (37,289), Grevena (17,610), Florina (19,985) and Kastoria (16,958).


Map of Western Macedonia region

The region has one operational Industrial Area in Florina and another one under construction in Kozani. The secondary sector is very important for the Regional economy, mainly due to the mining activities, the production of electric power (70% of country's total power is produced in the Region) and the fur-leather sector. However, "soft" structures have not followed the general improvement of heavy infrastructures, a situation that has to be remedied, in order to achieve an overall higher economic development of the Region. The R&D services are at a rather low level: only 3,5% of the country's total research foundations are situated in the Region. Among them, the University of Western Macedonia plays an important role in supporting the regional research and educational efforts. However, an enhanced interaction with SME's will be a crucial factor, in order to improve the productivity and the added value of products and services generated in the Region of Western Macedonia. Some of its more famous products are marbles, Saffron (krokos Kozanis), fruits, Florina peppers, local wines (Kozani, Amyntaio), furs (Kastoria, Siatista) and specialized arts and crafts industry.

The Egnatia motorway via Egnatia (Trans – European Network) that crosses the region, along with its two vertical National Roads, form a network that dramatically improves the transport conditions in the Region and alter its traditional "isolation" image, mainly due to its mountainous landscape. On the other hand, the railroad network is insufficient and the two airports (Kozani and Kastoria) can only serve small passenger planes. The telecommunication network has dramatically improved over the last decade, providing the regional population with adequate services and modern facilities.

The last years the region is being developed in tourism mainly on winter. It is the only Greek region without sea coast, but there are a lot of lakes, mountains, villages and two big ski centers in Florina (Vigla) and Grevena (Vasilitsa) and one other under construction in Kozani (Velvendos).[citation needed]

The administrative building of Western Macedonia region is located in Zone of Alternate Urban Planning (ZEP) in the city of Kozani.

The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the province was 4.0 billion € in 2018, accounting for 2.1% of Greek economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 17,700 € or 59% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 79% of the EU average.[6]

The unemployment rate stood at 19.7% in 2021, one of the highest regional unemployment rates in the European Union.[7]

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
unemployment rate
(in %)
14.2% 12.1% 12.5% 12.4% 15.4% 23.1% 29.7% 31.6% 27.6% 30.7% 31.3% 29.1% 27.0% 22.62% 20.5% 19.7%


The administrative division of the Western Macedonia region in municipalities. In shades of yellow, the former Kastoria Prefecture, in red, the Grevena Prefecture, in blue, the Kozani Prefecture, and in green, the Florina Prefecture

As one of thirteen administrative regions, the Western Macedonia Region (Greek: Περιφέρεια Δυτικής Μακεδονίας, Periféria Dytikís Makedonías) was established in 1987, comprising the prefectures of Kastoria, Grevena, Kozani and Florina. In the absence of a working budget the administrative regions however remained unable to fulfill even their limited responsibilities, until in 1994 they assumed the prefectures' competences in regard to tax collection, European structural funding and treasury.[8]

Resulting from the 2010 Kallikratis Programme, prefectures were abolished and instead, the regions became self-governing bodies in their own right with powers and authority being redefined and largely extended. Starting with the 2010 local elections, both the regional governor and the regional council have been popularly elected.[9] From 2014 on, the elections are held together with the European Parliament elections for a five-year period.

The region is based at Kozani and is divided into four regional units (the pre-Kallikratis prefectures). It comprises 12 municipalities (down from 61 pre-Kallikratis local administrative units). Along with the neighboring Epirus region it is supervised by the Ioannina-based Decentralized Administration of Epirus and Western Macedonia.

Municipalities of Western Macedonia[10]
Municipality Population Seat
1. Kozani 71,388 Kozani
2. Eordaia 45,592 Ptolemaida
3. Voio 18,386 Siatista
4. Servia-Velventos 14,830 Servia
5. Deskati 5,852 Deskati
6. Grevena 25,905 Grevena
7. Nestorio 2,646 Nestorio
8. Argos Orestiko 11,802 Argos Orestiko
9. Kastoria 35,874 Kastoria
10. Prespes 1,560 Laimos
11. Florina 32,881 Florina
12. Amyntaio 16,973 Amyntaio


Further information: Macedonia (Greece) § History

The modern region of Western Macedonia roughly corresponds to the ancient Greek regions of Orestis, Elimiotis, Eordaea, Tymphaea, part of Lynkestis, of Upper Macedonia. Miltiades Hatzopoulos and other scholars suggest that the Argead Macedonians wandered from Orestis to Lower Macedonia where they founded the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon.[11] Three of the most important Hellenistic dynasties originated from Upper Macedonia: the Lagids from Eordaea, the Seleucids from Orestis and the Antigonids from Elimiotis.


The administrative building of Western Macedonia region in Kozani

The population of Western Macedonia was 283,689 according to the 2011 Greek census.[12][10] Today, the region is predominantly ethnic Greek with Slavophone Greeks being a minority. The former are mainly concentrated in the towns Florina, Kastoria and Ptolemaida.[13][14] There are also around 1,400 Slavophones—approximately 0.5% of the local population—who profess a Slavic Macedonian identity.[15][16] Other smaller communities include Aromanians and Arvanites.

The region has shrunk by 28,633 people between 2011 and 2021, experiencing a highest percentage population loss in Greece of 10.1%.[1]

Western Macedonia. The bridge over the Polyfytos artificial lake of the river Aliakmonas in Kozani Prefecture.
The community of Nymfaio in Florina Prefecture.
The lake Orestiada in Kastoria.
Neoclassical houses at the shoreline of Sakoulevas river, Florina.
Georgios Lassanis mansion in Kozani.

The biggest towns in each regional unit, according to the census of 2011 (only communities with population more than 2,000 recorded):

Regional unit Capital Area (km2) Population
Grevena Grevena 2,291 31,757
1 Grevena 13,374
2 Deskati 3,598
Kastoria Kastoria 1,720 50,322
1 Kastoria 16,958
2 Argos Orestiko 7,482
3 Maniakoi 3,055
4 Mesopotamia 2,955
Kozani Kozani 3,516 150,196
1 Kozani 42,604
2 Ptolemaida 32,142
3 Siatista 5,490
4 Servia 3,540
5 Velventos 3,399
6 Krokos 2,977
7 Neapoli 2,323
8 Aiani 2,006
Florina Florina 1,924 51,414
1 Florina 17,907
2 Amyntaio 4,306
Total Western Macedonia Kozani 9,451 283,689[10]

Major cities and towns


The University of Western Macedonia provides technical education to stimulate growth throughout the region, and is located in Kozani, Florina and Kastoria. Programs at the university in Florina include courses of study in the Pedagogic Department and the Department of Balkan studies.

The Technological Educational Institute of Western Macedonia (TEIWM) provides undergraduate degrees in Engineering, Business and Finance, Agriculture, Health and Welfare. Based in Kozani, it operates satellite campuses in Kastoria, Florina, Grevena and Ptolemaida.


Television channels



  1. ^ a b "Census 2021 GR" (PDF) (Press release). Hellenic Statistical Authority. 2022-07-19. Retrieved 2022-09-12.
  2. ^ "Population on 1 January by age, sex and NUTS 2 region", www.ec.europa.eu
  3. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 2021-07-20.
  4. ^ "Καλπάζει η ανεργία στη Δυτική Μακεδονία – Στο 47% οι νέοι έως 24 ετών (πίνακες)". Macedonia (newspaper) (in Greek). Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  5. ^ "EURES - Labour market information - West Macedonia - European Commission". ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  6. ^ "Regional GDP per capita ranged from 30% to 263% of the EU average in 2018". Eurostat.
  7. ^ "Καλπάζει η ανεργία στη Δυτική Μακεδονία - Στο 47% οι νέοι έως 24 ετών". Sentra (in Greek). 2021-10-11. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  8. ^ Vamvakas, Nancy (2012). Europeanizing Greece: The Effects of Ten Years of EU Structural Funds, 1989-1999. University of Toronto Press. pp. 26–29. ISBN 978-1-4426-4141-9.
  9. ^ OECD (2014). "Greece". OECD Regional Outlook 2014 Regions and Cities: Where Policies and People Meet. OECD Publishing. p. 242. doi:10.1787/9789264201415-en. ISBN 978-92-64-20140-8.
  10. ^ a b c "Detailed census results 2011".
  11. ^ Hatzopoulos, Miltiades B. (2017). "Recent Research in the Ancient Macedonian Dialect: Consolidation and New Perspectives". In Giannakis, Georgios K.; Crespo, Emilio; Filos, Panagiotis (eds.). Studies in Ancient Greek Dialects: From Central Greece to the Black Sea. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 299–324. ISBN 978-3-11-053081-0.
  12. ^ "Demographic and social characteristics of the Resident Population of Greece according to the 2011 Population - Housing Census revision of 20/3/2014" (PDF). Hellenic Statistical Authority. 12 September 2014.
  13. ^ Roudometof, Victor (2002). Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 124. ISBN 0-275-97648-3.
  14. ^ Van Boeschoten, Riki (May 1, 2001). "Usage des langues minoritaires dans les départements de Florina et d'Aridea (Macédoine)". Strates. Matériaux pour la recherche en sciences sociales (10). doi:10.4000/strates.381. S2CID 161802924 – via journals.openedition.org.
  15. ^ In the 2014 European elections in Greece, 1,441 people from Western Macedonia voted for the Rainbow Party, which represents what it regards as the Slavic Macedonian minority in Greece.[1]
  16. ^ "Τι έχουν να πουν οι πρεσπολάγνοι;". Macedonia (newspaper) (in Greek). Retrieved 2021-11-25.