Edessa is a city with rich history of unique environmental and geomorphological interest and great water potential. It is directly linked with the element of water as a total of seven tributaries of Edesseos river cross the city and create their twelve well-known waterfalls. Moreover, the name of Edessa is also rendered as "Tower in the water" (water tower or city) or otherwise "City Over Water" and "State of Water".
In a broader network of environmental, hydrological and ecological interest, Edessa, the Edesseos river and waterfalls create a water route that starts from the Ohrid lake (+695m), Small (+857m) and Great Prespa (+852m), continues to Vegoritida lake (+540m) (network area Natura 2000), follows Agra river and wetland Agra - Brytton - Saronic (+470m), passes though Edessa and it ends at the Gulf of Thessaloniki (0m).
According to Herodotus in Edessa there were the gardens of the legendary King Midas, while according to the mythology Karanos waterfall, named after the first king of Macedon, hosts the Fairy Falls. However, according to archaeological findings Edessa has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In antiquity, in the current location of Edessa there was the acropolis of ancient Edessa while in the east there was the main city (Longos location), which became the capital of the first kingdom of the Macedonians from Heraclides Karanos in 814 BC, while in the reign of Philip II the city was fortified.
In Roman times the city flourished, as it was on the famous Via Egnatia, while during the reign of the emperor Octavian Augustus the city acquired mint, one of the nine mints that the Romans founded in Macedonia. During the late Roman period the city was called Vodena and since then water was used for energy production by means of watermills, the so-called hydralets. During the Byzantine era the city was transformed into a Byzantine fortress and extended only to the citadel area due to the abandonment of the lower city because of floods. In 989 AD Edessa was conquered by Samuel, the Bulgaian and became the seat of the provisional state. The 1003 AD the city was liberated by the emperor Basil II (the so-called Bulgar-slayer), in 1204 it was conquered by the Crusaders, while for the following years and until 1398 AD when the Ottomans conquered it, the city was successively occupied by Serbian and Byzantine emperors. In recent history Edessa participated in the Greek revolution and the Macedonian Struggle, while the city was liberated in 1912 and was incorporated in the Greek state as the capital of Pella prefecture.
Edessa flourished and evolved into an organized industrial center (textile and silk). Water has a key role in its development as a source of strength and energy; mills, watermills, sesame mills, power generators use the power of water, while the city's connection to the rail network and many social transformations in the area make Edessa a major commercial and financial center. Additionally, Edessa emerges as an attractive tourism destination due to its unique environment and its waterfalls. The city became known since World War I as French photographer soldiers depicted its beauties. Indeed, it is assumed that among the soldiers who came to the city was the later leader of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh. Finally, during the Second World War, the Germans convert the ancient cemetery of the city in the modern Park Falls. In recent decades, Edessa’s economy is mostly based on agriculture and tourism sector as the natural and human environment attracts many tourists.
The city's history becomes noticeable in its residential environment, its facilities and infrastructure related to Edesseos River waters. So in Edessa there is a unique coexistence the archaeological sites of the ancient city area of Edessa, Varosi, the traditional district of Edessa with unique architecture and urban physiognomy, the Yeni Mosque (1904), the old Byzantine Kioupri bridge, from where the ancient Via Egnatia was passing, numerous Byzantine churches (Church of the Assumption, Church of St. Peter and Paul) and buildings with neoclassical influences (Girls’ School). The Folklore Museum of Edessa and the Cultural Center are some of the city’s modern buildings of great archaeological interest.
However, the elements associated with Edesseos river waters constitute themost important cultural heritage having special historical and environmental significance. So, Edessa is the starting point of the Water Routes that extend throughout Central Macedonia and continue as “Waternet” network in the entire area of the Balkans. Edesseos River starts its journey in the city near the wooded area of Pasha-Tsair, it runs through the city to reach the rock in the northwest of the plateau where the city extends, creating its famous waterfalls. This is the area of Falls Geopark and the cave that form a landscape with lush vegetation, the Open Air Water Museum consisting of Giannakis flourmills (Aquarium-Reptilarium), the Karanikola’s Tannery, the Pertsemli Sesame Mill( Mill of Flavors and Mediterranean Nutrition), the Salampasi’s Flourmill (Environmental Education Center), the Arditsoglou Sesame Mill (Mill of Water and of the five human Senses), the old Watermills (Batania) and the Hemp Factory (unique industrial monument and a world heritage site). The seven tributaries of Edesseos (Voda) River are interconnected with the area’s major water elements, such as Vegoritida lake, Agras wetland, Pozar thermal baths, thus creating the "Water Routes".