Zagori is a region in the Pindus mountain range in Epirus, northwestern Greece. In this area, there are 46 villages known as Zagori villages, scattered at the foothills of the Pindus Mountains. It covers an area of approximately 1,000 square kilometers and has the shape of an inverted equilateral triangle.
The name Zagori comes from the Slavic prefix "Za," which means "behind," and the genitive form of the noun "gora," which means "mountain," signifying a region behind the mountain. It is a translation of the ancient name of the region, "Paroria," which means "beside the mountain," from the Slavic tribes that settled in the area in the 6th century.
The Zagori villages constitute a distinct residential, historical, and cultural unity, situated north of the Ioannina basin, at the northwestern edge of the Pindus Mountains.
Their natural boundaries are defined to the south by Mount Mitsikeli, to the north by the Aoos River, to the east by the Lygkos Mountains, and to the west by the mountainous mass of Tymfi.
Geographically, Zagori is divided into three parts: Central, Western, and Eastern Zagori, with twenty, ten, and sixteen villages respectively.
Today, the Zagori villages preserve their cultural heritage unchanged, in an effort to continue the customs and traditions of the region.
The distinctive architecture, traditional music, natural beauty, the wild beauty of the mountain ranges, and the rich fauna and flora of the area are the characteristics that make it stand out.
The newly established municipal district consists of the municipal unit of Central Zagori, the municipal unit of Eastern Zagori, the municipal unit of Tymfi, and the communities of Vovousa and Papigko."
The Folklore Museum located in the Gardens is the work of Agapios Toli, who dedicated his life to its creation. In this museum, you can admire 40,000 exhibits from the daily life of the residents of the Zagori region. This extensive ethnographic collection is housed in three mansions. Some of the exhibits include household items, folk art, clothing, embroideries, photographs of monarchs, various engravings, a 19th-century lounge, and various other items. To visit the museum, you will go to the village of Kipi, which is 38 kilometers away from Ioannina.
The Museum of Traditional Professions in Elafotopos began its operation in the old village school in 1993. In the museum, you can see tools used in traditional professions, some of which are no longer practiced.
The Flora and Fauna Museum is located in the village of Koukouli. Here, medicinal plants and herbs from the Zagori region are exhibited, which were used by the famous "vikoctors." These were doctors from Zagori who made therapeutic remedies from plants in the broader Viko area.
The Rizareios Exhibition Center is housed in the Pantazis mansion, located next to the central square in Monodendri. The center, which has been in operation since 2000, is a legacy of the Rizari siblings.
The library is located in Megalo Papigo. The book collection belongs to Michail Anagnostopoulos and includes over 1,250 volumes of books.
A multitude of historical paths were marked as part of the LIFE program in 1996, crossing the Zagori region.
These are paths, many of which are paved with stone, that follow the routes that connected the villages of the area for centuries.
These paths were the backbone of the road network in recent history and served the movement of people, the transportation of goods and cultural assets, but at the same time, they were the livestock routes for seasonal nomadic shepherds.
Most of the paths are marked with the letter "Ζ" and an increasing number next to it. One of the most important and beautiful in Greece is marked as "Ο3" and has been designed as a branch of "Ε6."
It starts from Ioannina, heading north of Lake Ioannina, enters the path to the Mitikas-Dikorfo-Kipoi Shelter, continues into the Vikos-Monodendri-Voidomati Springs-Mikro Papigo-Astraka Shelter-Karterou Passage-Vrisochori-Aoos Bridge, and continues to Smolika.
The remaining paths pass through dense forests with stone steps, and some of them end at stone bridges. The accessibility and marking of the paths vary depending on the season and the choice of the path. In particular, the marking varies from good to nonexistent.
Being a mountainous region, it is natural that livestock farming is developed, although not as much as in the past. Dairy products are among the products produced in this area.
However, besides feta cheese, yogurt, and fresh butter, you will also find homemade spoon sweets, jams, and liqueurs made from the fruits of the trees that grow in the surrounding forests. Another well-known local product is trahana, as well as the famous Zagorian pies (flour pie, cheese pie, meat pie).
Finally, in the mountains surrounding the municipality, all kinds of herbs flourish, with the most famous being mountain tea and oregano. There are many shops in most villages where one can find and taste all these products."
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