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Europe

13 Causes to Go to Konitsa, Epirus


Epirus is a land blessed with astonishing range, outstanding nature, dense mountain peaks and a few of the most charming stone villages and arched bridges a traveler will come throughout, whereas journeying by way of mainland Greece. Each nice journey story begins with escaping the crowds, and following the paths much less traveled, – as these are sometimes the roads that may grant you with probably the most rewarding journey experiences. 

On the farthest finish of Epirus area, lies the quaint city of Konitsa, actually steps away from the Albanian border, constructed amphitheatrically on the slopes of Mount Trapezitsa (Pindus mountain vary) proper have been the fantastic river Aoos meets the crystal clear Voidomatis and the Sarandaporos (flowing in northwestern Greece and southern Albania). 

As soon as upon a time, borders right here have been nonexistent as shepherds would freely roam the mountains in search of greener pastures for his or her flock. As we speak the borders are merely divided by the rivers, and all one can see is wonderful land, infinite peaks whereas inhaling refreshing mountainous air. 

Konitsa usually dubbed because the Greek Alps, certainly affords its guests bountiful alternatives to attach with nature, historical past and its centuries lengthy traditions.  

The place is Konitsa situated

The city of Konitsa lies gracefully at an altitude of 600 meters, simply north of Ioannina, the capital metropolis of Epirus (about an hour’s drive) and to the northeast of Konitsa you will see that the well-known villages of Zagorochoria. The origin of the identify of the city likely comes from the Slavic phrase kon, which means horse. The city’s shut proximity to the Vikos–Aoös Nationwide Park makes it a really perfect vacation spot for nature lovers and an ideal base to discover the broader space of Epirus. 

1. Discover the charming villages of Mastorohoria 

The broader space of Epirus is legendary for its stone villages and Konitsa is understood for its Mastorohoria – the Villages of the Grasp Craftsmen, the native artisans and craftsmen of the realm who constructed the architectural gems all through Greece and the Balkans. One such effective instance is the village of Gannadio, which opens as much as spectacular views of the slopes of Grammos (2520m) and Smolikas (2637m).

The village is characterised by a welcoming sq., shaded by a towering airplane tree – right here you will see that the one native conventional kafenio – which after all takes it’s identify from the tree and the Church of Taxiarches. This place is actually the place one can relaxation, take pleasure in a pleasant native meal and easily take-in the serenity.

Mrs Vaso making the standard Greek batsaria (spinach pie) within the village of Gannadio

The villages are loads and every one has it’s distinctive character, dotted with spectacular architectural monuments and sumptuous sceneries. Monastiri village is residence to the Monastery of Panagia, Hionades village boast a wealthy custom of hagiography whereas Plikati is probably the most remoted village of Mastorochoria. For many who have extra time to spare will discover enjoyment of discovering the range of this blessed land. 

2. Go to the Magnificent Monasteries and Church buildings 

Konitsa and its surrounding villages are residence to a few of the most notable monasteries and church buildings which have withstood the check of time. One of many oldest and most spectacular monasteries in Epirus is the Holy Monastery of Molivdoskepasti, an imposing byzantine monument that was constructed by Byzantine Emperor Constantine Pogonatos within the seventh century.

The identify of the church derives from the phrase lead which was owed to the lead roof that the monastery was as soon as sheltered with. Regardless of struggling quite a few destructions over the centuries, this spiritual monument has been significantly preserved and immediately one can admire outstanding Byzantine hagiographies relationship again to the sixteenth century. 

 

 

Molivdoskepasto, a pleasant village of about 40 inhabitants which bears the identical identify because the monastery, is situated just some meters from Albania and has been an essential financial and administrative centre because the historic instances. 

Implausible rooster pie

On its small village sq. you’ll come throughout a standard kafenio, which is the favourite and solely hangout spot of the locals and a neighbouring  tsipouro distillery the place we have been invited to savor the native pies with a glass of tsipouro. The hospitality was completely pleasant. 

In case you do discover yourselves on this a part of the area, comply with the one fundamental highway that leads into the center of the village the place you may be greeted by numerous cherry bushes and dense mountain slopes, ensure that to cease on the church of Saint George and quest your thirst by consuming the holy water from the pure spring.

The spring of Saint George

The story has it that whoever drinks from the spring shall undoubtedly return. 

On the fringe of the settlement you may be welcomed by one other historic church devoted to the Agioi Apostoli, relationship again to 1298. The spectacular frescoes have been accomplished in 1645 with a beneficiant donation from Panos Papadimitriou who assigned the well-known painters Dimitri and Ioanni Skoutari from Grammosta or Grammos (Kastoria area) to finish the artistic endeavors. 

3. Soak within the conventional character of Konitsa 

Konitsa is understood to be one of the stunning villages of Greece, and extremely so. The properly preserved stone homes harmoniously coexist with the cobblestone streets, the luxurious vegetation and blooming rose gardens.

Within the afternoon take a stroll alongside the cobblestone alleys illuminated by the shimmering gentle that bounces off the stone partitions, and you’ll really feel as should you’ve abruptly landed in a fairytale, as you cross among the many image excellent homes with the properly manicured gardens. 

When you attain the primary sq., a way of calmness will take over as you will notice the locals comfortably sitting within the cafe, having fun with small speak over espresso or maybe one thing stronger.

In locations comparable to Konitsa, you will need to study to succumb to the move and rid your thoughts of any worries, at the least for a second. That’s what we did, we sat down, ordered espresso and engaged in small speak. 

For many who are curious to know extra concerning the historical past of this charming place, there are a number of landmarks price mentioning, the Mosque of Sultan Suleiman is famed for its spectacular architectural heritage, in addition to the home of Hamko, mom of the ruthless ruler Ali Pascha. Oenophiles are invited to discover the museum of wine and vine, whereas historical past buffs can have interaction within the displays displayed on the Museum of Pure Historical past and Folklore. 

4. The land of berries and superfoods 

The panorama of Epirus bears many items, amongst them are the cherry bushes, but there’s one farmer who went past what’s secure and recognized, and determined to strive one thing new.

Sea buckthorn berries aren’t in any respect widespread to the Greek panorama, but it didn’t cease Philippos Barbas from efficiently planting one thousand bushes in Konitsa. He makes use of modern-day farming strategies and land irrigation is operated proper by way of his telephone. The superfood does wonders to your heath, no chemical substances are added and the manufacturing relies solely on the items of nature.

The concept began in 2009, when Barbas wished to show his interest into profession by establishing Ipofaes.gr, and with onerous work and perseverance that is what he did. He not too long ago added merchandise comparable to Ginkgo biloba (the herb for wonderful reminiscence) and milk thistle that are each grown and processed in Greece. 

5. Get pleasure from Therapeutic Spa Therapies on the Thermal Baths of Amarantos 

The thermal baths have been first inbuilt 1923 nonetheless up till the Sixties guests may solely make it up right here with the assistance of animals. The thermal springs of Amarantos are situated within the north of the Amarantos village surrounded by lush greenery at an altitude of 1200m. The services characteristic 13 particular person baths, a standard pool and a separate steam room. The spa operates from June till September. 

There are a number of lodging choices obtainable within the village and the realm additionally options 15 mountaineering lanes for all ranges of problem (open from June till October). This place is actually an excellent vacation spot for many who want to escape the trendy day worries. 

6. Admire the Arch bridge of Konitsa 

The stone bridge of Konitsa which is the distinctive landmark of the city is alleged to be the most important single arch bridge of the Balkans. Towering over the Aoos river this 20 meter excessive and 35 m in size single arch bridge was constructed in 1870 by Ziogas Frontzos, a talented craftsman from the village of Pyrsogianni.

In 1870 when the Turkish military was leaving Konitsa they tried to explode the bridge, fortunately they failed and this spectacular bridge has managed to resist time, making it one if the primary points of interest within the space. 

7. Witness the stays of Mesogefira – an essential turning level in historical past 

The third in rating bridge of river Aoos as soon as served as the one reference to the neighbouring Albania. The three arched bridge was initially constructed within the seventh century and in flip was blown up by the Greeks in 1940 as a way to stop the Italian troops from getting into Greece. As we speak one can see simply the stays of a wall surrounded by lush greenery and refreshing waters of river Aoos. 

8. Go to the Northern Pindos Nationwide Park

The Northern Pindos Nationwide Park was created in 2005 by unifying the Valia Kalda and the Vikos–Aoös Nationwide Park. Overlaying an space of just about 2,000 sq. kilometers, makes it the most important nationwide park in mainland Greece. The park is made up of just about all of Zagori, components of Konista and Metsovo, in addition to the western a part of Grevena.

The park affords a one in all a sort mixture of pure wilderness and conventional villages. In 2010 the Vikos- Aoos area, which can be residence to the world’s steepest gorge (in accordance with the Guinness World Report) acquired the popularity of the Worldwide Geopark by UNESCO. 

Vikos Gorge

The park hosts many uncommon ecosystem sorts in addition to quite a few endemic species of fauna and flora. Over 2000 plant species have been recored all through the realm of the Park, over 2500 species of mushrooms have been documented, in addition to 60 species of mammals, nearly all of which have been listed as endangered mammals of Greece. 

The Northern Pindos Nationwide Park can be residence to 186 fowl species, birds of pray comparable to Egyptian vulture (a universally endangered species), the golden eagle, the fish hawk, amongst others have discovered their secure haven right here. 

The components of the Park may be accessed from completely different areas. In Konitsa there are two notable stone bridges that are included within the points of interest of the park, one is the Voidomatis Bridge, Kleidonias inbuilt 1853 and the Konitsa bridge  on the Aoos river inbuilt 1850. 

9. A paradise for Energetic holidays 

Epirus is an all season vacation spot, and the right place for all sorts of actions, from climbing, rafting, repelling, horse using and snowboarding. 

The area is dotted with quite a few climbing trails for all ranges of problem and age teams. For many who want to strive mountaineering, but aren’t positive of their expertise, By way of Ferrata is a singular exercise that doesn’t require any earlier expertise. It’s a climbing path which is carved into the steep hill, geared up with metal cables and ladders alongside the route. The By way of Ferrata may be skilled on the river Aoos and the path begins on the historic bridge of Konitsa. 

10. Expertise wildlife on the Konitsa Lotos Farm 

Sprawling over130 hectares of land this excellent retreat is an ideal vacation spot to expertise wildlife in its pure setting. Visitors are invited to remain in snug lodges manufactured from wooden and stone, which harmoniously coexist with the pure environment. Right here additionally, you will get to fulfill the native everlasting residents comparable to wild deer, boar, horses and lots of extra. On the grounds of this farm complicated there’s a banquet corridor with a 700 individuals seating capability and a small chapel of St. Nicholas which might host non-public christenings and orthodox weddings. 

11. Go to the home of Saint Paisios 

Saint Paisios, the beloved holy elder of Greece was born in Cappadocia, Asia Minor, the trendy day Turkey. A number of days following his baptism all of the Greeks have been exiled from Asia Minor and his household settled in Epirus. Most of his life Paisios lived in Konitsa and have become a monk within the Holy Monastery of Panagia in Stomion.

He warned towards sturdy dependence on materials possessions – “The one who is possessed by materials issues is at all times subjugated to unhappiness and nervousness: he trembles for concern that his issues shall be taken away from him” – smart phrases from one of the beloved trendy saints within the Orthodox world. Greek TV sequence have been filmed in lots of areas of Konitsa, devoted to the lifetime of Saint Paisios. Among the scenes have been additionally filmed on the village of Gannadio.

12. Pay a Go to to the Tree Church of Ayios Paisios

One of many highlights of Konitsa is the hidden church of Saint Paisios housed contained in the oldest tree of Konitsa. It’s situated at a detailed proximity to the village of Ayia Varvara, alongside the primary highway that results in Amarantos. 

13. Eat, Drink and Dance Rebetiko 

The delicacies of Epirus is blessed with great flavors, the goats and sheep take pleasure in a wholesome mountainous weight loss program and in flip produce wonderful milk which is used to make a few of the best butter, cheese and yogurt within the nation. Meat dishes are luxurious and are completely becoming to the cool local weather that Epirus enjoys through the winter months.  Pies are recognized to be a staple dish of the area, and are completely scrumptious. 

An evening of rebetiko at Alexia’s tavern in Konitsa

Phyllo pastries of Epirus additionally maintain a excessive place within the area’s wealthy delicacies, strive Klostari with walnuts (Epirus Gi) produced primarily based on grandma Sosana’s conventional recipe which was discovered by her household hidden in a field of spices stacked in her kitchen. An unique Greek baklavas that may make you need to lick your fingers.

And if you are wining and eating your manner by way of the welcoming villages of Epirus, you could be fortunate to return throughout some locals someplace in an outside tavern, gathered over a meal, consuming wine and having fun with rebetiko music. One of the best recollections are normally those which are unplanned. When within the space try Alexia’s tavern with a fantastic out of doors seating space excellent for the nice and cozy summer time nights. 

The place to Keep in Konitsa 

Rodovoli Lodge 

Gorgeous view from the resort

The primary impressions looking of the window  within the morning have been spectacular, an enormous valley lay in entrance so far as the attention can see. The refreshing mountainous air greets the traveler always of 12 months.

This charming 3-star resort in Konitsa  is a effective instance of the native structure, construct of stone and wooden it affords visitors a cushty and hospitable keep. The resort’s 11 rooms are geared up with the implausible Coco-mat bedding, guaranteeing that you’ll obtain wonderful relaxation and an excellent night time’s sleep.

The resort’s central location and quick access to Konitsa’s fundamental points of interest make it a really perfect base for a beautiful getaway all year long.  

 

*Journey Greece, Journey Europe was a visitor on the Press journey organized by CK Methods and Go to Konitsa. All opinions expresses are at all times our personal.



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