Impressions of Epiros, Greece
No region in Greece is so closely connected to the Balkans as Epiros, in the Western part of the country and located just South of Albania. Even in classical Greek Antiquity, largely dominated by the tribe of the Molossioi, the gaze was directed to the North, not to the Mediterranean South. The Kingdom of Pyrrhos stretched from the Ambrakian Gulf all the way North into today's Albania. And later in history, things were not really very different either: the 13th century Despotate of Epiros also stretched North along the Ionian Sea coast, in the 14th century the dynasty of Tsar Stefan Dušan had come from Serbia and Ali Pasha who ruled over Epiros in the early 19th century was Albanian.
So, not much discussion is needed why the marvellous villages of the Zagorochoria and the Mastorochoria are so Balkan-like robust with their stone-built houses, their innumerable humpback bridges and their tight network of cobblestone paths, the kaldirimia which cut through the mountain ranges of Pindos.
Much of this diversity is within short distance from noble Ioannina, on one hand sturdy like the entire area around it, and in the mean time elegantly and pleasantly embracing the magic Pamviotis Lake from which the often snow-capped mountain ranges rise up, in undisputed control.
And then, on our discovery of Epiros, let us not forget the masterpiece of Dodoni, where we find, beyond any doubt, one of the most harmonious and beautiful grand theatres of all ancient Greece. And Greece would not be Greece, if you could not drive another half hour from Dodoni towards the hills in the West, behind which we take a deep and fresh breath at the sight of the intensely blue expanse of the Ionian Sea and the inviting bay of Parga. This all is Epiros, probably one of the least visited parts of Greece and yet so unbelievably diverse and rich in culture, history and unspoilt natural beauty.
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