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Zagori
Zagori
(Greek: Ζαγόρι), is a region and a municipality in the Pindus
Pindus
mountains in Epirus, in northwestern Greece. The seat of the municipality is the village Asprangeloi.[2] It has an area of some 1,000 square kilometers and contains 46 villages known as Zagori villages (or Zagorochoria or Zagorohoria), and is in the shape of an upturned equilateral triangle. The southern corner of the triangle contains the provincial capital, Ioannina, the south-western side is formed by Mount Mitsikeli
Mitsikeli
(1,810m), and the Aoos
Aoos
river and Mount Tymfi constitute the northern side, and the south-eastern side runs along the Varda river to Mount Mavrovouni (2,100m) near Metsovo. The municipality has an area of 989.796 km2.[3] The population of the area is about 3,700, which gives a population density of 4 inhabitants per square kilometer, compared to an average of 73.8 for Greece
Greece
as a whole.

Contents

1 Geography 2 History

2.1 Early history 2.2 Byzantine
Byzantine
period 2.3 Ottoman period 2.4 Modern period

3 Folklore 4 Traditional architecture

4.1 Churches 4.2 Houses 4.3 Bridges

5 The Vikos Gorge 6 Municipality and villages 7 Famous Zagorites

7.1 Art 7.2 Commerce and Philanthropy 7.3 Education and Literature 7.4 Politics

8 See also 9 References 10 Sources 11 External links

Geography[edit] Zagori
Zagori
is an area of great natural beauty, with striking geology and two National Parks, one including the river Aoos
Aoos
and the Vikos Gorge, the other around Valia Kalda, to the east of the imposing snow-capped Mt Tymphe. The 46 or so villages of Zagori
Zagori
were interconnected by mountain roads and traditional arched stone bridges until modern roads were opened in the 1950s. The stone arched bridges were built by benefactions from expatriate merchants in the 18th century and replaced older wooden bridges. History[edit]

Dragonlake and Gamila summit (2497m.)

Voidomatis
Voidomatis
river, Vikos- Aoos
Aoos
National Park.

The region has been historically difficult to access due to its mountainous terrain; this contributed to its security and stability rather than being a disadvantage. The Sarakatsani
Sarakatsani
people who can be found in this area use several Greek words of a Northern Greek dialect not commonly found in Greek elsewhere.[4] They are consequently considered by some as indigenous to the area. Early history[edit] The first evidence of human presence in the area is dated between 17,000 and 10,000 years ago.[5] Important epipaleolithic artifacts have been unearthed from Kleidi Cave
Kleidi Cave
on the banks of Voidomatis.[6] In antiquity, the region of Zagori
Zagori
was inhabited by the Tymphaeans and formed a part of the ancient kingdom of the Molossians, a Greek tribe of Epirus
Epirus
that gained control over all of Epirus
Epirus
in classical times. They were known for a breed of huge war-mastiffs they used in military operations. Molossus, their eponymous ancestor, was said to have been born of a union between Neoptolemus
Neoptolemus
(son of Achilles
Achilles
) and Andromache (the wife of Hector
Hector
of Troy). Neoptolemus, also called Pyrrhus for his blond hair, was first in a line of Epirotan kings leading to the king Pyrrhus of Hellenistic
Hellenistic
times who launched several campaigns against the Romans in Italy. Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great, was from the ancient town of "Molossis" which was located in the area in front of Konitsa, in the northern boundary of Zagori, where the rivers Voidomatis, Aoös
Aoös
and Sarantaporos come together. Remains of cyclopean walls in Skamneli
Skamneli
also testify to the antiquity of human occupation.[7] During the 9th–4th centuries B.C., a small Molossian settlement existed between Monodendri and Vitsa, including stone houses and two cemeteries which have yielded important findings.[8] However, throughout most of the historical time the local population was sparse while the land provided mainly for pastoralism and firewood for the local needs.[9] Byzantine
Byzantine
period[edit]

The Despotate of Epirus
Epirus
(in green) from 1230 to 1251.

Monastery of Saint Paraskevi (Vikos).

The passage of the Slavs during the early Byzantine
Byzantine
period is testified to by numerous placenames. The placename "Zagori" itself is probably derived from the Slavic Zagore meaning "beyond the mountains". Under the Byzantine
Byzantine
Empire, Zagori
Zagori
occasionally attracted groups of soldiers who built villages and settled there. Several monasteries were endowed, including the monastery of Votsa near the village of Greveniti
Greveniti
and the monastery of the Transfiguration near Kleidonia, founded in the 7th century by the Byzantine
Byzantine
Emperor Constantine IV Pogonatus and the monastery of St John of Rogovou near Tsepelovo
Tsepelovo
founded in 1028 by the sister of Emperor Romanos III Argyros. From 1204 to 1337 the region was part of the local Despotate of Epirus. In the 14th century, when various Albanian clans made incursions into Epirus, Zagori
Zagori
formed a bastion of Hellenism in Epirus and was the source of soldiers that served in the Ioannina garrison.[10] As a result of the campaigns of Andronikos III Paleologos in 1337, the Despotate of Epirus
Epirus
and, therefore, Zagori along with Ioannina
Ioannina
and the surrounding region came again briefly under Byzantine
Byzantine
rule. The region came under Serbian rule in 1348 and the Despotate of Epirus was reformed and was under Latin rule by Carlo II Tocco when Ioannina and Zagori
Zagori
fell to the Turks in 1430, at the time of Sultan Murad II. Zagori
Zagori
(which then only consisted of 14 villages) «bowed the knee», which meant in practice that there were obligations between delegations of the two sides and a sum in tax was agreed upon in exchange for very considerable privileges: autonomy, administrative independence, and a ban on Turks crossing the borders into the area. Ottoman period[edit] The Koinon of the Zagorisians
Koinon of the Zagorisians
(Κοινόν Ζαγορισίων) was formed after the treaty of 1431 with Sinan-Pasha. At that point the arrangement that granted local autonomy was called “Voiniko”. The autonomy guaranteed non-interference in the local affairs by the Ottoman overlords. Zagorisians had their affairs entrusted to a Council of Elders called Demogerontia (Δημογεροντία), headed by a president or governor called Vekylis (Βεκύλης). They were allowed to maintain an armed security force of Sipahi (σπαχήδες).[11] The villages of the Eastern Zagori, inhabited by Aromanian Vlachs, entered the Treaty in 1480. Consequently, many toponyms in northern and eastern Zagori
Zagori
have Aromanian etymology, while some toponyms with Slavic etymology are present in western and southern Zagori.[12] Nevertheless, Zagori
Zagori
retained much of its Greek character through its system of government and the benefactions of its expatriates that favoured Greek education. The Koinon of the Zagorisians was reformalised by a treaty signed in 1670, under which Zagori
Zagori
enjoyed considerable privileges called Surutia, which were only rescinded fully by the Sultan in 1868. This solution suited the conquerors and was also the salvation of Zagori, as it added statutory rules to the geographical factors which had made it a natural refuge. Consequently, Zagori
Zagori
was never broken up to be shared out among Turkish landowners. It gained a large population of merchants with links to Romania, Russia
Russia
and Constantinople, who came to be the ruling class of the area and contributed to the relative prosperity Zagori
Zagori
enjoyed during the period of Turkish rule. In the 17th century, the villages of Western Zagori
Zagori
were also admitted to the Treaty, so that by 1678 the total number of villages in Zagori had increased to 60. During the 18th century schools for both boys and girls were built, watermills to grind the corn and the water supply was decorated with ornamental fountains. Traditional medicine flourished in the form of “Vikos doctors”, who gathered herbs for their preparations from the Vikos gorge. The growing prosperity, aided by privileges obtained by Phanariotes of Zagorisian descent and benefactions from expatriates, allowed the building of several schools, some still surviving, for example the Common School of Greek Studies (Greek: Κοινή Σχολή Ελληνικών Μαθημάτων) in Monodendri built by the brothers Manthos and Georgios Rizaris (1835). The brothers also funded the building of the Rizareios Ecclesiastical School in Athens
Athens
(1844), while Zagori
Zagori
itself was under full Ottoman rule. The brothers Ioannis and Demetrios Anagnostopoulos from Dilofo founded the Anagnostopouleios in their home village and contributed to the expenses for the Zosimaia School in Ioannina. Michael Anagnostopoulos from Papingo
Papingo
built the Kallineios School in Papingo
Papingo
and the Anagnostopouleios School in Konitsa.[13] As a result of the numerous schools, the Greek language
Greek language
was preserved in the area.[14] As the mountains were outside the direct rule of the Ottoman Empire, they offered a haven for Greeks
Greeks
on the run from the Ottoman authorities. Several prominent scholars of the Greek Enlightenment, such as Neofytos Doukas and Athanasios Psalidas
Athanasios Psalidas
sought refuge here, after the Sultan’s army destroyed Ioannina
Ioannina
in 1820. Some among them even made plans to set up a university in the monastery of St John of Rogovou, near Tsepelovo.[15][16] In 1820, after the rebellion of Ali Pasha, a Turkish force of 1500 under Ismael Pasha arrived in Zagori, part of the total army of 20,000 sent against Ali Pasha. Alexis Noutsos from Kapesovo, a member of the Filiki Eteria, was in command of the force opposing Ismael Pasha. However, the Sultan's armies prevailed. Ismael Pasha removed most privileges other than the right to appoint a local governor (Vekylis), whose powers however became nominal. Ismael Pasha introduced very heavy taxation, amounting to 250 silver coins per person and additional taxation in kind. Albanian and local bandits began looting raids once again. Zagori
Zagori
was liberated in 1913 during the Balkan Wars. Modern period[edit]

View of Aristi village.

Following the union with Greece
Greece
after the Balkan Wars, emigration to the Greek urban centres depopulated Zagori. Zagori
Zagori
bore the brunt of the Italian attack on Greece
Greece
in 1940. The area became additionally affected by the conflicts between the Germans and the partisans of Napoleon Zervas
Napoleon Zervas
during the Second World War. At that time several of the villages of Zagori
Zagori
and the monastery of Votsa were burned in German reprisals. The area became almost deserted during the Greek Civil War of 1946–49. Since the 1980s, state initiatives aim to preserve the traditional character of the villages and the natural landscape. Folklore[edit] Unique customs are associated with ancient Greek, pagan or Christian festivals. The larger churches and monasteries celebrate their nominal saint feast with a festival that can last several days. Characteristic songs of mourning (moirologia) accompany the lamentation of the dead. Funerary rites include the exhumation of the bones of the deceased following a period of 1–3 years. The bones are washed, perfumed and placed in a wooden larnax and kept in ossuaries in each village. Traditional architecture[edit]

Skamneli
Skamneli
village, example of Epirotic architecture.

Central square of Skamneli
Skamneli
village.

Villages are built around a central square, also called mesochori (village centre) with a large church, a plane tree and a public fountain. Cobbled streets and footpaths interconnect the rest of the village. Each individual neighbourhood has a smaller church. Churches[edit] Most churches in Zagori
Zagori
date from the 17–18th centuries onwards, although some older foundations survive. In most villages the main church consists of a sizeable basilica built of stone with a wooden roof covered by slate. They are decorated by mainly Epirotan iconographers in the Byzantine
Byzantine
tradition. The entrance to the church may be protected by a colonnaded arcade. The campanile is usually detached from the church. Houses[edit] Houses until the 18th century were simple rectangular dwellings, often with only a ground floor and with ancillary areas in the basement used as stables. Indeed, this appears to be the style of construction of the dwellings in the excavated Molossian
Molossian
site near Vitsa. Houses are built of local stone and have a slate roof. The roof slates are held together without cement, only by the weight of the slates above them. The slate roof therefore requires continual upkeep, subjected as it is to heavy snowfalls during the winter months. That older type was developed through the 18–19th centuries into more complex styles all the way to the multi-storied manors of the wealthier families of the late 18th century. Many houses are fronted by a walled courtyard or garden. The courtyard gate is an edifice in itself, covered by a slate roof and connecting the house to the rest of the village. In addition to the house, there are ancillary buildings, usually a “mageirio” (kitchen), an external toilet at the furthest corner from the kitchen, and stables. The main house is built with walls up to a meter thick that may have an internal sand compartment for insulation against the cold. The house entrance opens into the foyer called “hagiati” which leads to adjoining rooms called “ondas” or “mantzato”. The hagiati originally was and sometimes still is a partially open area in front of the house. The name is probably derived from the Persian word Hayāt, a style of Persian garden
Persian garden
with pavilions or other edifices. The mantzato is the main room for the winter months with a fireplace, a “tavla” (table) and seating areas that can be used as beds, called “basia”. Opposite the fireplace there is a walled closet called “mesantra”. As an aid to its function, the mantzato often has a location in the south of the house. A usually wooden staircase leads from the hagiati to the upper floor landing called “krevatta”. This is a space between the bedrooms. In rare cases, the krevatta opens into a small balcony covered by a wooden roof. “Glavané” is a small entrance to the attic. The basement of the house contains cellars and other storage areas that may be used as additional quarters for animals. Few of the old manors survive, most having fallen victim to disrepair. In those that survive, the ondas room is the most spacious, has a large fireplace and may have floral frescoes. It was used for the reception of guests. Bridges[edit] More than 160 arched bridges were built in the greater area of Zagori, many of which still stand helping travelers to cross the countless rivers and streams of the region. They were mostly built during the 18th and 19th centuries by local master craftsmen who used the local stone as material. These bridges usually have one to three arches called "kamares" in Greek. The most iconic being the three arched bridge of Plakidas aka Kalogeriko just outside the village of Kipi. The Vikos Gorge[edit] Main article: Vikos– Aoös
Aoös
National Park At the heart of the Vikos– Aoös
Aoös
National Park, the Vikos Gorge
Vikos Gorge
or Vikos Canyon is the most impressive and famous natural monument of Zagori. The entire Vikos Gorge
Vikos Gorge
channel, a dry seasonal river during most time of the year, is about 38 km long. The deepest part of the gorge is about 12 km long. In the middle of its main part it is crossed by Megas Lakkos, an equally deep and wild branch, far from road access or villages. At the end or the mouth of Vikos Gorge, the Voidomatis
Voidomatis
river has its sources and then continues to flow through its own smaller gorge. The Vikos Gorge
Vikos Gorge
at 990m deep near Monodendri and 1350 m near its end. It is one of the deepest in the world, indeed the deepest in proportion to its width. The Vikos Gorge
Vikos Gorge
is also a site of major scientific interest, because it is in almost virgin condition, is a haven for endangered species and contains many and varied ecosystems.

Vikos Gorge
Vikos Gorge
from Beloe.

Municipality of Zagori.

Kalogeriko bridge, Vikos- Aoos
Aoos
National Park.

Konitsa
Konitsa
bridge, Vikos- Aoos
Aoos
National Park.

Municipality and villages[edit] The municipality Zagori
Zagori
was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following five former municipalities, that became municipal units (constituent communities in brackets):[2]

Central Zagori
Central Zagori
(Agios Minas, Ano Pedina, Aristi, Asprangeloi, Vitsa, Dikorfo, Dilofo, Dipotamo, Elati, Elafotopos, Kaloutas, Kato Pedina, Manassis, Mesovouni, Monodendri East Zagori
East Zagori
(Agia Paraskevi, Anthrakitis, Greveniti, Demati, Doliani, Elatochori, Itea, Kavallari, Karyes, Kastanonas, Makrino, Petra, Potamia, Tristeno, Flambourari) Papigko Tymfi
Tymfi
(Vradeto, Vrysochori, Iliochori, Kapesovo, Kipoi, Koukouli, Laista, Leptokarya, Negades, Skamneli, Tsepelovo, Frangades) Vovousa

Famous Zagorites[edit] Art[edit]

John Cassavetes, actor and director Marika Kotopouli, actress Alekos Sakellarios, director Dimitrios Kotopoulis, actor Dimitrios Myrat, actor[citation needed]

Commerce and Philanthropy[edit]

Manthos and Georgios Rizaris, benefactors, merchants, members of Filiki Eteria
Filiki Eteria
and founders of the Rizarios Hieratical School in Athens Konstantinos and Pavlos Paschalis, benefactors from Kapesovo Aggeliki Papazoglou, benefactor Alexios Plakidas, merchant and benefactor Konstantinos Rantos, merchant and member of the Filiki Eteria

Education and Literature[edit]

Methodios Anthrakites
Methodios Anthrakites
(1660–1736), scholar and priest Neophytos Doukas (1760–1845), scholar Georgios Gennadios
Georgios Gennadios
(1786–1854), scholar Anastasios Sakellarios, director of Zosimea
Zosimea
School (1833–1862) of Ioannina Angelos Kitsos (1934–2008), former president of Rizarios Foundation Konstantinos Lazarides, scholar and botanologist

Politics[edit]

Manthos Oikonomou, chancellor of Ali Pasha, member of Filiki Eteria Michael Dukakis,[17] US politician and Democratic presidential nominee in 1988 Lefteris Zagoritis, former member of the Greek Parliament

See also[edit]

Vikos– Aoös
Aoös
National Park

References[edit]

^ a b "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.  ^ a b Kallikratis law Greece
Greece
Ministry of Interior (in Greek) ^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece.  ^ Νικόλαος Κατσαρός – Οι αρχαιοελληνικές ρίζες του Σαρακατσάνικου λόγου ^ Amanatidou: p. 32 ^ Gowlett, J. A. J. (1987). "The Archaeology of Radiocarbon Accelerator Dating". Journal of World Prehistory. 1 (2): 22. JSTOR 25800523.  ^ Costas Zissis (2006). Zagori, Images of a Greek Heritage. p. 13. ISBN 978-960-631-684-5. Retrieved 2011-03-23.  ^ Prefectural Committee of Tourist Promotion: p. 14 ^ Amanatidou: p. 34 ^ Hammond, Nicholas (1976). Migrations and invasions in Greece
Greece
and adjacent areas. Noyes Press. p. 61. ISBN 0-8155-5047-2. Retrieved 2011-03-23.  ^ Constantinos Paparrigopoulos History of the Hellenic Nation 6 volumes, 1860–1877. ^ Ellis, Steven (2007). Imagining frontiers, contesting identities. Edizioni Plus. p. 130. ISBN 88-8492-466-9. Retrieved 2011-03-23.  ^ Βασίλης Μηνακάκης Ζαγοροχώρια (Zagorochoria)’’ Exlporer, Athens, 2006 ^ Hammond, Nicholas (1976). Migrations and invasions in Greece
Greece
and adjacent areas. Noyes Press. p. 61. ISBN 0-8155-5047-2. Retrieved 2011-03-23.  ^ Frangoulis, Odysseas T., ‘’Το Σκαμνέλι. Συμβολή στην ιστορία του, ήθη – έθιμα – παραδόσεις (Skamneli, a Contribution to its History: Cultural Practices, Customs, and Traditions)’’, published by the Association of Skamneliots in Zagori, Ioannina
Ioannina
1988 ^ Ευριπίδης Γιαννάκος ‘’Το Μοναστήρι του Αγιάννη στο Ρογκοβό (The Monastery of St John of Rogovou)’’ Εκδόσεις Το Ζαγόρι μας, Ioannina 1985 ^ NY Times

Sources[edit]

Amanatidou, Despoina (2005). "A case study in Vikos- Aoos
Aoos
National Park – Greece" (PDF). University of Freiburg. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 

External links[edit]

Wikivoyage
Wikivoyage
Tourist guide Zagori
Zagori
Tourist, travel and hotels guide Everything about Zagori: Tourist guide & Reservations (in Greek)

v t e

Administrative division of the Epirus
Epirus
Region

Area 9,203 km2 (3,553 sq mi) Population 336,856 (as of 2011) Municipalities 18 (since 2011) Capital Ioannina

Regional unit of Arta

Arta Central Tzoumerka Georgios Karaiskakis Nikolaos Skoufas

Regional unit of Ioannina

Dodoni Ioannina Konitsa Metsovo North Tzoumerka Pogoni Zagori Zitsa

Regional unit of Preveza

Parga Preveza Ziros

Regional unit of Thesprotia

Filiates Igoumenitsa Souli

Regional governor Alexandros Kachrimanis (el) (since 2014) Decentralized Administration Epirus
Epirus
and Western Macedonia

v t e

Subdivisions of the municipality of Zagori

Municipal unit of Central Zagori

Agios Minas Ano Pedina Aristi Asprangeloi Dikorfo Dilofo Dipotamo Elafotopos Elati Kaloutas Kato Pedina Manassis Mesovouni Monodendri Vitsa

Municipal unit of East Zagori

Agia Paraskevi Anthrakitis Flambourari Greveniti Demati Doliani Elatochori Itea Karyes Kastanonas Kavallari Makrino Petra Potamia Tristeno

Municipal unit of Papingo

Papingo

Municipal unit of Tymfi

Fragkades Iliochori Kapesovo Kipoi Koukouli Laista Leptokarya Negades Skamneli Tsepelovo Vradeto Vrysochori

Municipal unit of Vovousa

Vovousa

v t e

Zagori
Zagori
region in Epirus, Greece

Landscapes

Vikos– Aoös
Aoös
National Park: Vikos Gorge Tymfi Drakolimni Skamneli

History and society

Tymphaea Molossians Koinon of the Zagorisians Vikos doctors

Monuments

Monasteries: Saint Paraskevi Saint John Rogovos Panagia S

.