Epirus (/ɪˈpaɪrəs/; Greek: Ήπειρος, Ípeiros), is a
traditional geographic and modern administrative region in
northwestern Greece. It borders the regions of
West Macedonia and
Thessaly to the east, West
Greece to the south, the
Ionian Sea and
Ionian Islands to the west and
Albania to the north. The region has an
area of about 9,200 km2 (3,600 sq mi). It is part of
the wider historical region of Epirus, which overlaps modern Albania
Greece but lies mostly within Greek territory.
1 Geography and ecology
7 External links
Geography and ecology
Forest in Pindus Mountain, Epirus.
Greek Epirus, like the region as a whole, is rugged and mountainous.
It comprises the land of the ancient
Molossians and Thesprotians
and a small part of the land of the
Chaonians the greater part being
in Southern Albania. It is largely made up of mountainous ridges, part
of the Dinaric Alps. The region's highest spot is on Mount Smolikas,
at an altitude of 2.637 metres above sea level. In the east, the
Pindus Mountains that form the spine of mainland
Epirus from Macedonia and Thessaly. Most of
Epirus lies on the
windward side of the Pindus. The winds from the
Ionian Sea offer the
region more rainfall than any other part of Greece.
The Vikos-Aoos and Pindus National Parks are situated in the Ioannina
Prefecture of the region. Both areas have imposing landscapes of
dazzling beauty as well as a wide range of fauna and flora. The
Epirus is mainly alpine. The vegetation is made up mainly
of coniferous species. The animal life is especially rich in this area
and includes, among other species, bears, wolves, foxes, deer and
The region was established in the 1987 administrative reform as the
Epirus Region (Greek: Περιφέρεια Ηπείρου, Periféreia
Ipeírou)and is divided into four regional units (formerly
prefectures, nomoi), which are further subdivided into municipalities
(dimoi). The regional units are: Thesprotia, Ioannina, Arta and
The administrative division of the
Epirus region in municipalities. In
shades of yellow, the regional unit of Thesprotia, in red, Ioannina,
Preveza and in green, Arta.
In January 2011, according to the reform introduced by the Kallikratis
Programme (Act 3852/2010) the prefectures were abolished and replaced
by regional units. The former municipalities and communities were
re-structured to form only 18 new municipalities.
The region's governor is, since 1 January 2011, Alexandros
Kachrimanis, who was elected in the November 2010 local administration
elections for the New Democracy and
Popular Orthodox Rally
Popular Orthodox Rally parties.
Skamneli village (Zagori), example of Epirotic architecture.
Epirus has few resources and its rugged terrain makes agriculture
difficult. Sheep and goat pastoralism have always been an important
activity in the region (
Epirus provides more than 45% of meat to the
Greek market) but there seems to be a decline in recent years. Tobacco
is grown around Ioannina, and there is also some farming and fishing,
but most of the area's food must be imported from more fertile regions
Epirus is home to a number of the country's most famous
dairy products' brands, which produce feta cheese among others.
Another important area of the local economy is tourism, especially
eco-tourism. The outstanding natural beauty of the area, as well as
its picturesque villages and traditional lifestyle, have made
strong tourist attraction.
Around 350,000 people live in Epirus. According to the 2001 census, it
has the lowest population of the 13 regions of Greece. This is partly
due to the impact of repeated wars in the 20th century as well as mass
emigration due to adverse economic conditions. The capital and largest
city of the region is Ioannina, where nearly a third of the population
lives. The great majority of the population are Greeks, including
Aromanians and Arvanites.
The delineation of the border between
Albania in 1913 left
some Albanian-populated villages on the Greek side of the border as
well as Greek-populated villages and cities in Northern Epirus, in
present-day Albania. In the past, the coastal region of
also home to a Cham Albanian minority, whose number did not exceed
25,000 in 1940s, alongside the local Greeks. After the war, the
Greek census of 1951 counted a total of 127 Muslim Albanian Chams in
Epirus, while in 1986 44 were counted in Thesprotia.
^ "Demographic and social characteristics of the Resident Population
Greece according to the 2011 Population - Housing Census revision
of 20/3/2014" (PDF). Hellenic Statistical Authority. 12 September
2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 September 2015.
^ Π.Δ. 51/87 “Καθορισμός των Περιφερειών
της Χώρας για το σχεδιασμό κ.λ.π. της
Περιφερειακής Ανάπτυξης” (Determination of the
Regions of the Country for the planning etc. of the development of the
Efimeris tis Kyverniseos
Efimeris tis Kyverniseos ΦΕΚ A 26/06.03.1987
^ Winnifrith, T.J. Badlands-Borderland: A History of Southern
Albania/Northern Epirus. London: Duckworth Publishers, 2003,
ISBN 0-7156-3201-9, p. 8. "The
Thesprotians lived in the western
part of what is now Greek Epirus, the
Molossians in the rest of Greek
Epirus, and the
Chaonians in the southern section of Southern
^ Kretsi, Georgia. Ethnologia Balkanica. LIT Verlag Münster.
Retrieved 27 July 2014. The Chams are understood as members of the
Albanian-speaking Muslim "minority" which used to live predominately
^ Ktistakis, 1992: p. 8, 9 (citing Krapsitis V., 1986: Οι
Μουσουλμάνοι Τσάμηδες της Θεσπρωτίας
(The Muslim Chams of Thesprotia), Athens, 1986, p. 181.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epirus.
Official website (in Greek)
Preveza Weather Station SV6GMQ - Live Weather Conditions (in English
Administrative division of the
9,203 km2 (3,553 sq mi)
336,856 (as of 2011)
18 (since 2011)
Regional unit of Arta
Regional unit of Ioannina
Regional unit of Preveza
Regional unit of Thesprotia
Alexandros Kachrimanis (el) (since 2014)
Epirus and Western Macedonia
Geographic regions of Greece
Administrative regions of Greece
Eastern Macedonia and Thrace