Thursday, December 1, 2011

Zagori part 1 – The Introduction

I wanted to write about Zagori for a long time now, ss it's so far my favorite part of inland Greece. The region is totally different from the Greece’s stereotype shown in TV commercials, where mostly beaches of Aegean islands appear. And the truth is that Greece has so much more to offer than just rocky shores, clear waters of Mediterranean and endless beach bars.
Zagori, or the alter name Zagorochoria, is a land north from city of Ioannina in Pindos mountains in northwest Greece. It's a administrative area of 45 villages. The name Zagorochoria, comes from a combination of “zagori” from Balkan languages meaning simply “behind mountains”, and greek “choria” (gr. χώρια) meaning “villages”, so as the whole name could be translated to “the villages behind mountains”.
The area it's very popular among Greeks. Specially citizens of Thessaloniki (about 70% of all tourists for the region) visit the area often since new Egnatia highway was fully opened,  connecting Ioannena to Macedonia, that made the trip possible within 2h. For me the trip is not yet so comfortable. The Ionian highway, connecting Peloponnese, from Kalamata through Patras, to Ioannena, is still deep deep on paper only :-/ About 250km distance takes from 3 up to even 4,5h depending on traffic conditions.

There are hundreds of reasons to visit Zagori: could be the deepest in the world, famous Vikos gorge with Voidomatis river considered to be the cleanest in Europe, could be the food with pitas and not less famous tsipouro, could be the villages restored to their original old style or numerous stone bridges – all this, completely different in all four seasons of the year. I can only guarantee that whatever reason will it be for You, each visit will reveal something else, and as a result You will want to come again. This was exactly the case for me, and still is, I still want to go there another and another time. So, with this post, I start a small series about Zagori.
As an introduction, I post a panoramic photo of Vikos gorge, taken from village of Dikorfo. You can easily observe huge size of the gorge, but also with a little closer look, You might spot villages on the left (Vitsa and Monodendri) and Gamila peak on the right. The name of the peak in greek language means “the camel”, which can be understood from this photo from the shape of the peaks.

Photo: NIKON D70s, Aperture priority, f 1/7.1, 1/800s, -0.3EV, f=57 mm (for 35mm), GIMP software

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