The landscape offers a beautiful mixture of Mediterranean and Alpine forms where beech trees are blended with fir, tuck and pine.
Katafygi has a great scenic view where one may clearly see the plains of Velvento, Servia and Kozani, Aliakmonas River and the Lake of Polyfyto. During good weather conditions, certain peaks near Katafygi (like Drossos peak), offer views of Mount Olympus, Thermaikos Bay, Thessaloniki, Vermio and Vasilitsa. Therefore, it is not by chance that Katafygi is also called "the balcony of the Pieria Mountains".
"Livadia" valley is located five kilometres near Katafygi, right below Flambouro (: 2,193m - the highest peak of the Pieria Mountains), full of amaranthine and a large variety of wild flowers.
Katafygi was an independent Community until 1999. Ever since, it has been part of the Municipality of Velvento and represented by a 3-member Local Council.
Katafygi's history starts in 1611 when Bishop Dionysios Trikis attempted a revolution against the Othoman State. The revolution failed, and the people had to escape to another location near Aliakmonas River where they founded the Community of "Gratsani" or "Gritsiani". However, that place was also raided several times by the army of Reseet Pasha, so the locals had to abandon their place again. The latter found shelter in "Livadia" valley at "Kefalokardo" location. However, the insufficiency of fresh water and the high humidity forced them to move again to a location called "Bgadia". This location was chosen as a "katafygio" (shelter) for the Othoman raids that was later still under threat from the local bush rangers and thieves. Katafygi was saved by the intervention of the regional Sultan who guaranteed for the community's safety under his protection.
In 1816, a plague epidemy breaks out with a serious effect on the local population.
In 1821, Katafygi's men took part in the Revolution next to the armies of Daifas, Kosmoulis, Bziotas, Vikas and Tsiogas. They won their first battle at place, nowadays called "Kokinovryssi".
In 1878, Katafygiotes (also called "Kataviotes"), lead by Dimos Vasiliou, support Eparch Nikolas Kitrus and St. Korovagos's attempt to form a revolution in the greater Olympus area. The revolution failed, and Katafygiotes returned to their land.
During the Macedonian Wars, in the 1890's, Katafygi was the command post for the Pieria Mountain. Katafygi was totally liberated in the beginning of the 20th century together with the rest of Macedonia.
In the period 1910 - 1920, about 500 houses were located in Katafygi. However, during World War II, the recruitment of local men in the war against the Italians along the Northern borderline and the adverse living conditions, weakened the economy and prosperity of Katafygi. In Christmas Eve of 1943, the whole community was burned, and 22 locals are executed by the German Army. As a result the survivors were forced to move to the surrounding villages.
After the end of the War, reconstruction of Katafygi starts; about 60-70 houses are built, the school resumed operations and Katafygi is populated again.
The large immigration flow of the 60's did not leave Katafygi unaffected. The last resident left Katafygi in 1966.
Nowadays, Katafygi is reshaped into a new form; that of a summer resort. 250 houses are built and during summer, Katafygi comes alive. The Clubs of Katafygi, ensure that the preservation of customs and tradition is maintained through various cultural events.
CUSTOMS & TRADITION
A number of local festivities and celebrations takes place every summer - mainly organised by "LIAHA" Cultural Club - when most Kataviotes return to their community. Such festivities include: the popular kataviotiko fest, various musical events, theatrical shows, and various sports and educational events for the children.
Katafygi Association of Thessaloniki - "PIERIA"
The Association was founded in 1933 and its social, cultural and humanitarian action has been remarkable. It is the main association of Kataviotes in Thessaloniki and publisher of the "STAVRODROMI" newspaper with news of local interest. Th Association is accomodated in a private house - "Estia Katafygioton" - and manages the Economou Fund. The rental income is used as a scholarship every four years for a student from Katafygi.
Cultural - Reformative Club of Katafygi - "LIAHA"
"LIAHA" was founded in 1980 and has been in active participation to the local issues ever since. In 1987, the Club funded the construction of its private house in the main square that also accommodates a cafe-restaurant. In 1993, the Union also funded the creation of the Cultural Center of Katafygi in the renovated old school building. The Center includes The Folkloric Collection of Katafygi, the Library, a Hall for events with a theatrical stage and a Hall for the Arts and exhibitions. The school yard was turned into a playground, whereas the Union also constructed a small park next to the building.
The Club aims at keeping the tradition alive, maintaining the history and evolution of the community by mainly approaching the youth and connecting them to the culture and history of Katafygi.
- Katafygi Educational Union of Katerini (MEK)
- Agricultural Union of Katafygi
- Charitable Fellowship of Women "ANAGENNISSI"
- GEAKAP S.A. : General Development Company of Katafygi of Pieria S.A.
WORTH SEEING ... :
- the landscape and scenic view from Katafygi and its greater area: follow the forest roads and paths and explore the peaks of Flambouro (2,193m.) and Drossos (2,0005m.). Visit the two Mountaineering Shelters of SEO Kozani at "Bara" (alt: 1,945m.) and EOS Kozani at "Alogomandri". Walk to "Livadia" valley and the forest network of Katafygi.
- Zorba's House that was renovated by the Municipality of Velvento, based on the idea and care of "LIAHA" Club. The house will be soon transformed to a museum.
- the church of "Agios Athanasios the old" (initially built in 1762, and named "the old" to avoid confusion with the church of Agios Athanasios at "Livadia". Ta Deum is carried out during May, whereas the church itself offers a scenic view of Velvento.
SUGGESTED ROUTES :
( most routes are part of the forest road network )
Velvento - Agios Georgios - Katafygi - SEO Kozani - Flambouro ( path )
Velvento - church of Agia Triada - Lafista Stream: Skepasmeno Gorge - Katafygi bridge - Katafygi ( path )
Velvento - Paleogratsano - Katafygi ( asphalt road until Paleogratsano )
Katafygi - Daskio - Rizomata - Ailiades - Skiing Center of Elatohori - Rytini - Vrya - Katerini ( asphalt road after Daskio )
Katafygi - Fteri - Skotina - Fotina - Katerini (asphalt road after Fotina )