For other ancient city of the same name see Ptolemais (Cyrenaica).
Not to be confused with Ptolemaiida.

Aerial view of Ptolemaida


Coordinates: 40°31′N 21°41′E / 40.517°N 21.683°E / 40.517; 21.683Coordinates: 40°31′N 21°41′E / 40.517°N 21.683°E / 40.517; 21.683
Country Greece
Administrative region West Macedonia
Regional unit Kozani
Municipality Eordaia
  Municipal unit 217.901 km2 (84.132 sq mi)
Elevation 600 m (2,000 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
  Municipal unit 37,289
  Municipal unit density 170/km2 (440/sq mi)
  Population 32,142 (2011)
  Area (km2) 57.508
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 502 00
Area code(s) 24630
Vehicle registration KZ

Ptolemaida (Greek: Πτολεμαΐδα, Ptolemaïda, Katharevousa: Πτολεμαΐς, Ptolemaïs, before 1927: Καϊλάρια - Kailaria[2]) is a town and a former municipality in Kozani regional unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Eordaia, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit.[3] It is known for its coal (lignite) mines and its power stations.


During the Ottoman period, the city was named Kaylar, rendered into English as Kailar;[4] this name was retained in Greek as Kailaria (Καϊλάρια) until 1927.[2] Kailar refers to the Kayı tribe, the tribe of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The modern name Ptolemaida was introduced by decree on January 20, 1927, honoring Ptolemy son of Lagus, a comrade-in-arms of Alexander the Great, and his daughter Ptolemaïs.[5] His statue stands in the central square of the city.


According to archaeologists, the Ptolemaida region has been occupied since 6000 BC.[6]

Neolithic times

Prehistoric jewelry found in Ptolemaida

Archaeologists, in November 2005, discovered the remains of two farming villages dating back to the Neolithic period. A press report notes that such farming villages were trading centres and had a "developed knowledge of metalworking".[6]

A golden necklace dating to roughly 4500 BC was discovered on February 16, 2006.[6] Associated Press reporter Costas Kantouris describes the item as a "flat, roughly ring-shaped [which] probably had religious significance and would have been worn on a necklace by a prominent member of society."[6]

Lately in the lake Zazari near Ptolemaida there were found 16 houses that belong in the Neolithic era due to archaaeologists. These houses were in the lake and were exposed because of the decreased water level of the lake. That particular small settlement gives information about the society and the people in the Neolithic era.

Ancient period

Ancient Greek ceramic plate from Ptolemaida
Ancient Macedonian grave in Ptolemaida

In the area of Ptolemaida many archeological findings have occurred in the last 30 years due to mining operations. Ceramic artifacts, dating to the 6th century BC have been found at two sites near Grevena and Ptolemaida. Archaeologists found the artifacts at two prehistoric farming settlements. Two Ancient Macedonian graves have also been found in the area of Ptolemaida, dated from the 5th century BC.

Byzantine Period

At various times, Ptolemaida was part of the Latin Empire, the Kingdom of Thessalonica, the Empire of Nicaea, and the Despotate of Epirus. The borders among the Latin Empire, the Empire of Nicaea, the Empire of Trebizond, and the Despotate of Epirus are very uncertain.

Ottoman period

During the Ottoman period, Ptolemaida was called Kayılar, and it had two parts: Aşağı Kayılar and Yukarı Kayılar. Aşağı Kayılar was Bektaşi and Yukarı Kayılar was Rufai, Hanefi.

Before 1360, large numbers of nomad shepherds, or Yörüks, from the district of Konya, in Asia Minor, had settled in Macedonia; their descendants were known as Konariotes. Further immigration from this region took place from time to time up to the middle of the 18th century. After the establishment of the feudal system in 1397, many of the Seljuk noble families came over from Asia Minor; their descendants may be recognized among the Beys or Muslim landowners in Kayılar. At the beginning of the 18th century, the Turkish population was quite considerable, but since that time it has continuously decreased. A low birth rate, the exhaustion of the male population by military service, and a large mortality from epidemics have brought about a decline which has lately been hastened by emigration. The Turkish rural population around Kayılar was mainly composed of Konariot shepherds. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Ptolemaida was part of the Manastir Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. Ptolemaida was taken by Greek forces on October 15, 1912.


The municipal library

Ptolemaida's football club is called "Eordaikos" (Greek: Εορδαϊκός). Other teams include AE Ptolemaidas. Ptolemaida has schools, lyceums, gymnasia, churches, banks, a post office, a train station (Kozani - Florina), a police station, a water tower, and squares (plateies). There is the potential of a university being established by the state in the near future. The Anthropological and Folklore Museum is based in the town.


Lignite mine of Ptolemaida

Ptolemaida is a highly industrialized area. The four power plants in this area produce 70% of Greece's electrical power, using the large local deposits of lignite as fuel. The plants are owned by the Public Power Corporation (DEI), the major employer in the city. The plant was dedicated by the prime minister of Greece at that time, Constantine Karamanlis. The other two are in Amyntaio in Florina regional unit and in Agios Dimitrios.


Askio mountain near the city

The city, situated in the middle of the Eordaia plain of Western Macedonia, has a humid continental climate. Summers can be hot with thunderstorms in unsettled spells, whereas winters are among the coldest in Greece. It was here that the absolute low temperature record of Greece was recorded (−29.6 °C (−21 °F) on 27 January 1963).


The current municipal unit of Ptolemaida is constituted by the city of Ptolemaida and 11 small communities. At the 2011 census, the population of the city was 32,142 residents. The total population of the municipality Eordaia in 2011 was 45,592 residents.

Year Community Municipal unit Municipality
1940 7,719 - -
1951 8,816 - -
1961 12,747 - -
1971 16,588 - -
1981 22,109 - -
1991 25,125 32,775 -
2001 30,017 36,393 -
2011[1] 32,142 37,289 45,592

Ethnic groups

A substantial proportion of Ptolemaida's residents are Pontic Greek or their descendants. These were refugees from Asia Minor who first arrived in Macedonia during the 1920s as a result of the population exchange according to the Treaty of Lausanne. The original inhabitants of the neighbouring villages were of Slavic extraction who had settled the area in the 6th century.

Famous people


The city lies in the valley of Eordaia, between the Askio mountains to the southwest and the Vermio mountains to the northeast. It is located north of Kozani, east of Kastoria, south of Florina, and south-west of Edessa. The municipal unit has an area of 217.901 km2, the community (the city proper) has an area of 57.508 km2.[7] Motorway 27 (Kozani-Florina, part of E65) passes east of the city. Ptolemaida was the seat of the former province of Eordaia.

Friendship towns

Ptolemaida is twinned with:[8]

See also


Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

  1. 1 2 3 "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
  2. 1 2 Name changes of settlements in Greece
  3. Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
  4. Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1911)
  5. "Ptolemaida Web Portal" (in Greek). Retrieved 2008-01-10.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Kantouris, Costas (February 16, 2006). "Greek Hiker Finds 6,500-Year-Old Pendant". AP.
  7. "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece.
  8. "Twinnings" (PDF). Athens: Central Union of Municipalities & Communities of Greece. Retrieved 2015-06-16.

External links

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