Epirus is a region in northwestern Greece. It borders West Macedonia, Thessaly, West Greece, the Ionian Sea, and Albania. Greek Epirus is mountainous and rugged. The highest point of the region is Mount Smolikas at 2,637 meters. The mountain range of Pindus separates Epirus from Macedonia and Thessaly. Epirus is surrounded by forests and plenty of flora and fauna. Between the mountains of Epirus are many settlements. Animal life in the area includes: bears, foxes, deer, wolves, and lynxes.
According to Greek mythology, the Acheron River was one of five rivers that borders the underworld. The river was known as the “river of the woe.” It was used to transport the souls of the departed into Hades’ realm. In addition to the river there is its nekromanteion (an ancient Greek temple of necromancy) that was devoted to Hades and Persephone.
The first inhabitants of Epirus appear to have been shepherds and hunters during the Paleolithic times. The Dorians would descend through Epirus to Sterea and the Peloponnese toward the end of the 2nd millennium BC. There is also evidence of Mycenaen civilization in Epirus.
While the rest of Greece was developing into city states, Epirus would remain small secluded villages. These villages were attacked often by northern tribes. The region was an important religious area. The Oracle of Dodoni, which was dedicated to Zeus, was located in Epirus. This was the second most important oracle after Delphi.
Epirus did not have an easy time during the Ottoman occupation. Much of the cultivable land was given to the Ottomans, so the residents had to leave to find a better life. Many of the men would go to Italy and Vienna and became rich. They would make contributions to their homeland, which helped in Epirus’ cultural and financial development.
Area of Epirus, Greece
9,203.22 km2 (3,553.38 sq mi)
Population of Epirus, Greece
Top Attractions in Epirus, Greece
Monastery of Panagia Vlacherna – The monastery can be found close to Valtos Beach. Walk a cobbled path to the monastery and enjoy the beautiful paintings inside. The bell tower dates back to the 18th century.
Valtos Beach – 2 km from Parga. Valtos is a long, sandy beach that is surrounded by greenery. There are water sports available at this family friendly beach.
Vikos Gorge – This is the second deepest gorge in the world. The gorge is a popular place for climbing, mountain biking, and so other extreme sports. The area is gorgeous, but it is recommended to have a guide when hiking around the gorge.
Voidomatis River – This river flows across the villages of Zagoria. A popular river for water sports including: rafting, canyoning, canoeing, and river trekking. The grey rocks, turquoise water, and surrounding greenery are features of the area.
Rizarios Centre for Exhibitions – Located in Monodendri. The museum is housed in an old mansion. The centre focuses on the photographic heritage of Greece.
Ecclesiastical Museum – Located next to the church of Agioi Apostoli in the city center of Parga. The museum features items including holy gospels, rare books, and the 300-year-old banner of the town.
Ali Pasha Castle – You can enjoy a guided tour that will provide historical lessons. In the area you will also find a waterfall and olive trees. The view from the castle alone is worth the trip.
Bridge of Arta (Arta’s Bridge) – A stone bridge that crosses the Arachthos River. The bridge has been rebuilt a number of times, but the current bridge is likely of 17th century Ottoman construction. Nearby there are cafes and restaurants to enjoy good food and the view.
Papingo Rock Pools – If you’re around Papingo, you’ll want to check out the rock pools. Surrounded by nature, including small waterfalls, the area is great for hiking and exploring. Also the perfect place to take photographs.
Silversmithing Museum – Located in Ioannina. The museum highlights silversmithing technology during the pre-industrial period as well as the history of silverware in Epirus from the 15th – 20th centuries. Ecclesiastical items showcased include: silver pistols, Jewish religious art objects, silverware of noble families, and more.