Folklore Museum of Kastoria is lodged in the mansions of Nerantzi Aivazi in the Doltso area. The articles of the museum concern items used in older times and they are connected to the activities of the people of Kastoria in their homes, their work, their leisure and their social life. The articles concerning the fur process are remarkable. The pavilion is divided into three areas, the kneading room, the larder and the wine cellar. On the mezzanine floor there is a room with a fireplace. (Tel.24670 28603)
Byzantine Museum of Kastoria exhibits articles of the Byzantine era from the 12th to the 17th century. The articles concern mainly portable icons, excellently maintained, which have been collected from lots of Byzantine churches of that region and they constitute rare samples of the Byzantine art. The signs of influence of the Cretan School (15th century) are obvious on the sculptures and the frescoes. (Tel.24670-26781). The Byzantine museum contains one of the most complete collections of Byzantine Hagiographies, portable icons and ecclesiastic art that one could find anywhere in the world. Around 550 icons are guarded in the Byzantine Museum of the city. The icons represent isolated persons or many-member scenes in a conventional space, in such a way that removes all their naturalism and determines their transcendence. The ideal in this case is the absolute resemblance with the original. A key element of the Byzantine art is the absence of geometrical perspective. The faces are not illuminated from any particular source, but according to the painter's judgement, only at the sarcomas. There are no figures close to natural on the contrary the supernatural is stressed.
Settlement Museum 7.500 year ago a group of people chose the south bank of the lake to build with wood and clay a village in or very close to the lake. This Neolithic community confronts it for hundreds of years the challenges of the ecosystem of the region by developing a broad spectrum of activities and a special civilization. The excavation research that the group of Mr. G. Oh. Chourmouziades, professor of AUTH, started in 1992 brought to light lots of significant findings. Though the study of these findings there was an effort of reconstructing the image of the prehistoric lake settlement and creating the first Greek Settlement Museum. The Settlement Museum of Dispilio goes beyond the limits of a conventional archaeological exhibition and transforms the archaeological information to a place where one can experience it. In area of 20.000 square meters that represents the ecosystem of the lake settlement, the visitor has the possibility to walk on the wooden platforms of the village, to see the households of the 6th millennium BC and to see closer the life of the Neolithic inhabitants. The representation is surrounded by reception and recreation areas and reflects a modern concept of museums on the level of using the archaeological information.
The mansions are building of the 17th and 18th century and they present great interest for their wall-building, their architecture and their painting, while they stand out for the imposing presence and the grandeur of their unusual construction. The mansions were built in the era where Kastoria presented a great economic growth as a result of a great commercial and manufacturing activity of the fur-makers of Kastoria in Greece and abroad.The mansions, witnesses of the economic prosperity and the cultural growth, are characterized by safety and comfort and they constitute, today, unique pieces of the traditional architecture of the modern years. Most of the mansions have been renovated in the last years. The most characteristic of them stand proudly till nowdays in Doltso square.
Kastoria has more than 70 Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches, dating from as far back as the 9th century up to the 19th. Most of their walls are filled with frescoes of exceptional quality. Their interiors are spacious and sumptuously decorated with woodcarving and wall paintings. The great development of church architecture in the region of Kastoria in the mid-Byzantine period resulted to the parallel flourishing of hagiography.
Today in the department of Kastoria there are 80 temples preserved, from which 26 are Byzantine and possess about 3.000 square meters of frescoes while all the churches possess rare samples of Byzantine icons and woodcut temples of inestimable artistic value.
The main feature of the icons saved is that the imaging of one or more persons is given in a conventional space without any naturalism and geometric perspective while the emphasis is given to the transcendent and the supernatural of the persons.
The Panayia (Virgin) Koumbelidiki (in the right picture) or Skoutariotissa, a small triconch church dated to the 10th century, has become the emblem of Kastoria. The small dimensions of the church and its high dome with a variety of masonry work make it an architectural gem of the city.
The 13th century wall-paintings are in poor condition. Their attraction now lies largely in the Dormition of the Virgin at the west end of the main body of the church, and in the rare representation of the Holy Trinity in the narthex.
Taken as a whole, the painting is conventional and lacks an inner quality, yet it contains certain innovative features that foretell the creative outburst of the Palaeologan age. Some of the painting in the narthex dates to the 17th century, while the murals on the west front of the church were executed in 1496.