Built between mount Smolikas and mount Tymfi, Konitsa seems captive of these two rocky giants. Yet, the small passage where the city stands made its fortune. The city of Konitsa lays at the edge of a small plain, fertilized by the three rivers crossing the region. Well protected and difficult to reach, the city used to offer shelter to the caravans and merchants who passed this way towards the Ionian sea, or the inland Balkan penisula, carrying goods and ideas. Having nothing else than the stones of the mountains, the local people from Konitsa and from the villages around became masters in stone building, naming their villages Mastorochòria (villages of the masters). Man and nature collaborated so wonderful, that the buildings seem an organic part of the mountainous landscape. Today, the knowledge of stone-building is largely lost, but the magnificent palaces and houses remain to recall ancient tecniques and form an evocative scenery.
The whole area is dotted with byzantine monasteries – some of them constructed by byzantine emperors, as the Molyvdoskèpasti – and stone bridges over the rivers. These rivers, Aòos, Voidomàtis and Sarantàporos offer the opportunity to perform some mountain sports in a wonderful environment. Visitors may choose among rafting, canoe-cayak, horse riding or just hiking and get to know the region from viewpoints otherwise they wouldn’t. Generally, the region of Epirus, in the northwestern angle of Greece is not well-known to turists, conserving much of its charm, and promising more to discover.
• Trasias Studio for the beautiful photos!