During the 17th century, people coming from a small town somewhere in the heart of today’s western Macedonia, in Northern Greece, had travelled the Balkans and central Europe, trading leather, furs and saffron and they done it successfully.
Soon they opened local managing offices in the capital of Austro-Hungarian Empire, Vienna and they become rich enough. Part of their wealth, they sent it back home and built beautiful houses, and they decorate them with precious and luxurious items.
It was the time when their village called “Florohori”, meaning “The money village”. In Vienna, when asked for their origin, they said that they come from Schatzstadt, the treasure city. It was a matter of time the German word to be – a bit changed – the official village’s name that now called Siatista (Shiat’sta by locals) (*)
Even today you can see the marks of richness in buildings that they still standing big and impressing the visitor. You can see them everywhere as you wander the streets. They are behind heavy wooden doors and stone yard-walls, in narrow passages, in community buildings.
It is some kind of Vlach tradition, the benefaction. Thus, it was somehow inevitable for rich people coming from Siatista to donate money for schools and churches to be built.
In today’s Siatista, you can buy quality furs and leather jackets, can taste the Liasto wine, can visit some of the mansions still standing.
You can get here travelling west in Egnatia highway, about 30 kilometers after the Kozani intersection. It’s located 150 km from Thessaloniki and 450 km from Athens.
(*) The theory about the German origin of the name “Siatista” it has been described by professor Psimmenos of Ioannina University and it’s not widely adopted. I think it’s very interesting, I loved it and I used it