Veria is famous town for its religious tourism

Moni prodronou

 Monasteries and Pilgrimages

The buildings of archaeological and architectural interest belong to the Byzantine Antiquities and are mainly churches and monasteries that operate as places of religious, historical and cultural value, such as ( :

  1. The Holy Monastery of Panagia Dovra and the newly built Temple of Saint Loukas of Simferopol
  2. The Holy Monastery of Panagia Soumela
  3. The Holy Monastery of Saint John the Baptist
  4. The Holy Monastery of Panagia Kalipetras
  5. The Holy Monastery Moutsialis
  6. The Holy Monastery of Prophet Elias Asomaton

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The Holy Monastery of Panagia Dovra

The monastery is built between two hills in idyllic natural scenery surrounded by dense vegetation. The monastery is dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary and is one of the most ancient temples of the region. The date of establishment of the monastery remains unknown but it is assumed that it was built in the 12th century. However, the first confirmed testimonials about its operation come from written documents of the 17th century. The monastery has been continuously operational by 1822. In 1995 the monastery was re-founded and now operates as a male monastery. The restoration of the monastery was accompanied by α radical renovation of the buildings, maintaining the old architectural style. In the old church, which is a three-aisled basilica with a wooden-roof and exo-narthex, all the oldest architectural pieces were preserved the elaborated Macedonian wooden roof was renovated and preserved. The windows, the pews and the templum were also replaced. A new building with the same architectural style was constructed including the guesthouse and the monks’ cells. The Sanctify of Zoodochos Spring was also reconstructed and the courtyard was reformed.

The Holy Monastery of Panagia Soumela

It is the spiritual centre of the Pontian Hellenism and is located near the village Kastania. Panagia Soumela which is the symbol of the Ponte is embraced by history, tradition and legend. Evangelist Luke was the one who carved the wood into Virgin Mary’s figure. The wooden icon was found after Evangelist Luke death in Athens and for this reason it was given the name Virgin Mary “The Athenian”.
At the end of the 4th century (380-386) the monastery of Panagia Soumela was built by the monks Varnava and Sofronios. The two monks, with their faith, persistence and dedicated work, managed to build the church of Soumeliotisa which is carved into the mountain. The unexpected uprooting depopulated the memorable Ponte as well as Vigla. Along with the population exchange the holy relics were granted and in 1931 Ambrosios the Soumeliotis dig them up and brought them to Greece after Eleftherios Venizelos negotiations with the Turkish government of Ishmed Inonou.
Since 1952 a new period started; the Greek history of Panagia Soumela. In 1951-1952 the icon was handed to the union “Panagia Soumela” of Thessaloniki which started the construction of the monastery in a flat place at Vermio, above the village of Kastania that had granted 500 acres of land for the construction of the Pilgrimage.

The Holy Monastery of St. John the Baptist – Skiti Veria.

The Holy Monastery of St. John the Baptist is only 13 klm away from the centre of Veria on the way to Vergina. The Holy Monastery of St. John the Baptist –Skiti Veria is located after the dam of River Aliakmonas and parallel to the river. The valley of Alikmonas has become a cradle of Monasticism since the byzantine era. Monasteries, caves, huts, and hermit monasticism are some of the forms of the monasticism life developed in the valley of River Aliakmonas. The holy stravropegic Priory Monastery of St. John the Baptist is also known as Skiti Veria and continues to prosper near the bank of the river on the north hillside of the Pierian Mountains.
In the Holy Monastery Antonios the patron saint of Veria, Klimis the Achbishop of Achrida, St. Gregory Palamas with his eleven pupils, St. Theodosios in Kelivarofo in Bulgary, St. Theofanis patron saint of the neighbouring Naoussa and St. Theonas Achbishop of Thessaloniki all lived for a while there. The Elder of the priory “Dionysios” from The Mount Olympus, Nicanor’s of Zavorda bosom friend and the equal to the Apostles Cosmas of Aetolia.

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The Holy Monastery of Panagia Kallipetras

Or else the monastery of the Macedonian Struggle is located in the region of Rachia in Veria near the River Aliakmonas. It is honoured at the birthplace of the Virgin Mary and the name Kalipetra (beautiful stone) derives from the rock that shades it (Jamala in Turkish). It is one of the oldest monasteries with the oldest indication of its existence before 1100.
The monastery was prosperous until the end of the 18th century and had a community of 37 monks. In 1822 it was totally destroyed and the monks were beheaded. In 1907 during the Macedonian Struggle because of monks’ help towards the Greek party, priest Stavros and his companion were executed and abbot Ignatios with his companion were also convicted to death by dismemberment. In 1941 an aspiring shepherd burned all the important buildings and the church. From that time only the ossuary and the relics of about 120 monks survived. The monastery has been recently renovated; it is at presently operating.

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The Holy Monastery Moutsialis

It is the Monastery of Skitis of Veria, known since the period of the Turkish Occupation. It is honored on the day of Metamorphosis (Transfiguration) of the Savior. The buildings that surrounded its Catholic survived Until the World War II. The region due to the destruction of the rain waters was named “Moutsiali» which means wet. In the monastery there is a preserved piece of the relic of St. Symeon the Stylites. The monastery occasionally provided accommodation for various monks and nuns. The last two nuns were Gregoria and Makrina who abandoned the monastery due to the Civil War in Greece (1946-1949). Today it operates as a nunnery with Sister Portaitisa as Elder.

Ιερά Μονή Μουτσιάλης

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The Holy Monastery of Prophet Elias Asomaton

The monastery of Prophet Elias is located at the left bank of the River Aliakmonas near the village Asomata, 8 klm from Veria. It is one of the oldest monasteries of the region and today only a small single-aisle basilica still remains. It is assumed that the monastery was built at the end of the 16th century. Many inscriptions refer the year 1570 as the date of the inauguration as well as that the temple was originally dedicated to Virgin Mary and not Prophet Elias. As far as the architecture is concerned, the alcove of the Sanctum is three-sided externally while it has a decorative area with beveled edged mudbricks that surround the three sides externally. Despite of the heavy damages over time it is still in good condition and well preserved. The special characteristic of the monastery that gives additional value is the mural paintings of exquisite artistic style preserved in the temple of which the most important are those in the Sanctum. The iconographer is still unknown, although the style and technique make us understand that the temple had been decorated by a painter related to the group of painters who worked on a lot of temples in Veria. The monastery of Prophet Elias was destructed during the Revolution of Naoussa in 1822 like many other monasteries of the area. Today only the catholic of the church has survived.

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«Apostle Paul’s Tribune – A global pilgrimage»

Paul the Apostle preached the Gospel, faith, salvation and love to a large number of Jews and Verians that believed in the Gods of Olympus or had adopted outlandish worships. His preach had a great resonance and since his first visit in the Macedonian town he had proselytized many Verians to the new religion. Paul visited Veria twice; in 56 AD and at the beginning of 57 AD during his journey from Asia Minor to Greece.
According to historical resources, Paul the Apostle had visited Veria at least twice between 50 AD and 57 AD in order to teach the life of Jesus to the people of the region. The Apostle of the Nations was warmly welcomed since his first visit and his preaching had a great impact on the Verians and the Jews.
Paul’s the Apostle passage through Veria and the impact of his preaching, reveal the significance of the town at the first steps of Christianity and the important role that the town played for the spreading and establishment the Christian faith in Greece.

In the Footsteps of Apostle Paul

Today, at the spot where Paul the Apostle preached the Christian faith, there is a religious monument, the so called “St Paul’s Tribune” a few metres away from the Clock Square (Raktivan) in the centre of the town. In this spot there are roman plates dated back to the 1st and according to the tradition, Paul the Apostle was standing on them while preaching. This fact adds a unique historical, religious and sentimental value to this landmark.
The monument is also decorated with impressive mosaic murals; while in the surrounding area there has been recently set a statue of Paul the Apostle of the nations, which is a donation by the patriarchate of Moscow and the Russian Academy of Art. The “Step of Paul the Apostle” is today an undeniable proof of the presence of Paul the Apostle in Veria and a universal monument of religious and cultural heritage that attracts thousands of tourists every year from all over the worls.
Every year in June, religious, cultural and educational events are carried out under the festival of ‘Pauleia’ ” to honor Paul the Apostle, the founder of the local church. The festival reach its peak with the Archieratical Vesper celebrated at “St Paul’s Tribute» on the Saint’s name day, on June 29th.

The Old Cathedral

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The Old Cathedral of Veria is one of the greatest temples of the middle Byzantine period, which the Bishop of the town had it built between 1070 and 1080. It is an architectural masterpiece of three aisled basilicas and has many similarities in the shape with the early Christian temple of St. Dimitrios in Thessaloniki. It is a great Bishop Temple that captures the prosperity of the town during the middle Byzantine period.
The distinctive features that bring added uniqueness, specific architectural, artistic and historical value to the Old Cathedral is the incorporation of early Christian templates that gives the impression of a premier temple compared with the relevant monuments of the same period, as well as the wall painting decoration that presents some of the greatest painting works of the 12th, 13th and 14th century. For this reason it is regarded as the gem of Byzantine Veria..
After the completion of the restoration works carried out by the 11th department of Ephorate Byzantine Antiquities in autumn of 2016, the monument is accessible to the public again offering visitors a unique tour of the Byzantine history of the town. Open hours 10.00-18.00 Every day, including weekends.

The most ancient synagogue in Northern Greece

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The Jewish Distract dates back to the roman years (50 AD); it is located next Barbouta area which over time came to be known as one and the same district. In the heart of the Jewish District, with the paved lanes and the impressive mansions, there is the stone-built Synagogue, the most ancient synagogue in the Northern Greece with elaborate interior decoration; impressive wood carved ceilings and vivid mosaic tiles.
There, we can also see the Pulpit (Teva) which is delimited by the four marble columns in the centre of the temple, the Ehaal, (the Holy Ark) which is decorated according to the local tradition and the old and new zenana (loft). Behind the zenana (loft) there is still preserved the Mikveh (a sacred bath). In contrast with the Christian districts that used to have the church in the middle, in the Jewish District the Synagogue was built in line with the houses.

The Synagogue today

Nowadays the Synagogue is closed; you can occasionally find it operating as a worship place when the Jews travel to Veria to pray. It is also a vivid monument proving the timeless presence of the Jews in the area and a representative sample of their spiritual, artistic and architectural tradition.
The presence of Jewish in Veria is timeless and we find the first official written documented the presence of the Jewish community in town is in the Acts of the Apostles in reference to the visits of Paul the Apostle in the town in town to preach Christianity to the Jews of the region. One of the places that the Apostle of Nations was preaching, except from the neighboring “Step of Paul the Apostle” was the place of the ancient synagogue which is believed that there was at the same place as the new one. The Jewish synagogue in today’s form was built in 1850 and it is the oldest in the northern Greece and one of the oldest in Europe. The Synagogue was the centre of the spiritual and social life of numerous Jewish communities until May 1st, 1943; a dreadful day in which the majority of the Jews of Veria got captured by the German forces of and lead to concentration camps, resulting to the end of their long presence in the town.

Opening hours for the public: Monday – Sunday 12.00-15.00
You can also visit the Jewish Synagogue of Veria after telephone communication.
Entrance ticket 3 € / person
Disabled persons and youth up to 18 years old free entrance

Tel. ++30 6983.88.03.29 Mrs Evi Meska
0030 2331350608 Municipality of Veria, Tourism Department

Medresse Mosque

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Located on the southeast side of the Byzantine city. Its name implies the existence of another building, the Medresse (theological school), not preserved today. It is adjacent to and behind the Altar of Apostle Paul and the elementary school. It is preserved in good condition. It was built in 1850 with materials of Apostle Paul’s Byzantine church, which was demolished after having been converted into a mosque by Mussa Tselebi, conqueror of the town. On the side of the mosque, there was a theological school (Medresses) until 1922 which was burned down and gave its name to the mosque. It shared the enclosure with the altar of Apostle Paul, where religious, spiritual discussions took place.

More infos about religious tourism: 

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