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Via Egnatia is the ancient road that connected Via Appia with Byzantium, an earlier settlement in the area of the later Constantinople – today’s Istanbul. It is – as the saying goes – one of all the roads that led to Rome – the most important in the Eastern Roman Empire based on historical descriptions. It was built between 146 and 120 BC and it was named after the Roman Governor of Macedonia, Gnaeus Egnatius who was the founder of this road. We find this information inscribed on the milestones located along the road, recording the distances of said points from the ends of the road.
This road – like any other road – did not suddenly emerge at that time, but thanks to the road-making knowledge of the Roman engineers it acquired some exceptional characteristics for its time, which even today impress the surveyors of the area’s antiquities. The total length of Via Egnatia from Durrës to Byzantium is estimated at 1,120 km or 746 Roman miles.
After Via Francigena and before Via Eurasia, the participants of the HIKE program will have the opportunity to hike on parts of Via Egnatia in the wider area of Edessa. Based on the historical descriptions, this part of the ancient road comes in a SE direction from the area of Ohrid through today’s settlement of Florina, continues east towards Edessa and turns SE, to approach the area of Ancient Pella and then continue towards the city of Thessaloniki.

During the 2 weekends of this project, traces of the ancient road will be followed between the settlements of Edessa, Agras, Nisi and Arnissa to the west of Edessa and Ekklisiochori and Prophitis Ilias to its east.

In addition, this program aspires to inspire local people to follow a healthy lifestyle, through physical activity and social cohesion.
Following in the footsteps of historical travelers, participants will have the opportunity to connect with the past and forge new bonds with their local heritage and fellow citizens. Through a mix of workshops and activities, the initiative will highlight the health benefits of hiking and thus boost hiking tourism.