And the Arapitsa is not just any river. It's a magic river that swirls down through Naousa in a succession of waterfalls beginning above us at Aghio Nikolaos Grove in the foothills of Mt. Vermion and fed by the many springs in the area (and now also melting snow). I never get tired of watching those rushing waters!
The Arapitsa -- one of only 3 Greek rivers with a feminine name -- is not just an amazing sight. These waters once powered famous textile mills that employed about half the town, but are now largely closed and shuttered due to globalization. It used to be a pretty big deal to buy a Vetlans blanket from Naousa.
About halfway up the river at Stoumpani Falls there is a poignant monument to Naousa women who jumped to their deaths in 1822 rather that subjugate themselves to the Ottoman Turks who had just killed about 10,000 Greeks and burned the town to the ground. Naousa was not liberated until 1913, but that battle diverted Turkish forces enough to enable the Pelopponesus to become independent -- thus the unique honorific "The Heroic City of Naousa" bestowed by Royal Decree in 1955.
Today, the Arapitsa flows down into the valley below, serving to irrigate the many crops. Fruit trees, grapes, vegetables, and, more recently, kiwis. The associated springs also give us our drinking water. And there is promise of more energy uses in the future...
There are many amazing things about this Macedonian town of about 20,000 people an hour west of Thessaloniki. But Naousa's backbone is a river, the magic Arapitsa. Indisputably and indispensably.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.