This year we are meeting in the small city of Kastoria, in western Macedonia. Founded in the 6th century by the emperor Justinian I, Kastoria was an urban center of the Byzantine Empire and has been continuously inhabited from the Byzantine age until today. Dozens of Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches with beautiful architecture, frescoes and icons, are scattered throughout the town. In later years, the town became a major center of the fur trade and the resulting wealth is reflected in the impressive mansions built by the town’s prosperous merchants.
Our program starts in the evening of Wednesday, June 24th with a cocktail reception. As always, our business sessions will be on Thursday and Friday mornings, followed by lunch. On Thursday afternoon we will stroll through Kastoria, visit some of the churches and mansions, followed by dinner in Doltso, in the old city. On Friday afternoon we will hold the Alex Barkas Memorial Soccer Tournament in honor of our great friend Alex. On Saturday, June 27 we will leave for Thessaloniki where we will spend the night. On our way, we will visit Dispilio, the oldest lakeside Neolithic settlement in Europe. We will continue to the mountain village of Nymfaio where we will have lunch and have a chance to visit the Arcturos bear sanctuary that was founded by our friend Yannis Boutaris, the mayor of Thessaloniki. When we reach Thessaloniki, after checking into our hotels, we will visit the Museum of Byzantine Culture. After a guided tour of the exhibits, we will gather at the museum’s patio for drinks followed by our farewell dinner.