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Wednesday, 07 September 2011 18:05

Temple Porta Panagia

Temple Porta Panagia

On the bank of Portaikos river opposite the town of Portal, the old settlement of Porta Panagia was known in Byzantine times as "Megalai gates," is the Church of Porta Panagia, sometimes Stavropegic Catholic monastery.
The monastery was dedicated in the name of Mary irresistible founded in 1283 by John Angelus Comnenus sevastokratora Duke, the illegitimate son of the despot of Epirus Michael II Doukas and disintegrated during the Turkish occupation.
The church is contemporary with the initial phase of the monastery, dedicated to the Assumption, is the only surviving building of. In 1843 came under the jurisdiction of the neighboring monastery Dousikou while still working as a parish church for inhabitants of the village of Porta Panagia.

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 18:03

Fortress of Trikala and Varousi

Fortress of Trikala and Varousi

To Fortress of Trikala lies on the northeast side of town. According to Procopius was built by Justinian I (6th century). On the ruins of the acropolis of ancient Trikke. In Palaiologan period saw extensive building and repair works at the fall of the city by the Ottomans some parts of the castle were destroyed, but of great strategic importance acquired by the city as a base from advanced against the outlaws of the Pindus mountain populations and Agrafa forced the Ottomans to repair, fill and maintain the surviving parts.
Repeated repairs saw the fort after the Thessalian revolutions of 1854 and 1878. The castle was an important safety factor for the initial development of the village on the slopes and foothills. Epistefontas a low hill, towered over Trikala and the surrounding plain. On the east side of the fort, the Turks had set in the 17th century. a large clock.
The Clock Tower of Trikala, like that of Larissa is the oldest known in Turkish-occupied Greece. The current clock replaced the older, which was bombed by the Germans.
The old quarter Varousi an affluent, Christian and self-governing district of the city stretching along the east side of the fortress.
The mansions of the WEIGHT and numerous churches (a total of ten, dating from the 16th to the 19th century.) Reflect the economic and cultural boom of the 18th and 19th centuries. that resulted from the development of trade and crafts.

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 18:02

Koursoum Mosque Trikala

Koursoum Mosque Trikala

The mosque of Osman Shah Mosque or Koursoum (Tin Mosque) is located on the edge of the city of Trikala, Karditsa in the street south of the prison and the church of Saints Constantine and Helen. The mosque is the only surviving of the many Ottoman mosques that once existed in the city of Trikala.
Founder was Osman Sah or Qara Osman Pasa, son of Mustafa Pasa (+932 H = 1525-1526) who married the daughter of Sultan Selim I (1512-1520). Osman Shah when, with his wife, was commander in sancak Trikala, built the mosque and was endowed with hundreds of charitable institutions. The mosque is one of the 79 mosques and the only extant in Greek territory, built by the famous architect of the 16th century Sinan (Koca mimar Sinan).
The exact date of construction of the mosque is unknown, since it survived a founding legend. But speculated that it was built about ten years before the death of Osman Shah, who was buried in nearby turbo (mausoleum) in 1567 / 8. Built on the banks of the river Lithaiou surrounded by other institutions built by Osman Shah, as the workhouse, school, the Medrese, Mr. Hani al. From these buildings survives today only mosque (mosque) and Tourbes (mausoleum) which was buried Osman Shah. The mosque consists of a square prayer hall covered with a huge hemispherical dome.
The Tourbes (mausoleum) of Osman Shah, south of the mosque is an octagonal floor plan house covered with a hemispherical dome. Today inside the turbo kept archaeological finds in the area.

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 17:59

Aspropotamos Villages

Indicative program of the tour:
- (10:00) Departure from Kalambaka to Kastania and stop for coffee and a brief tour of the unique chalet - riding club «Casa di Calo» outside Chestnut, shortly before 11.
- (12:00) Departure from Kastania toDoliana with a stop and tour of the Monastery of the Holy Cross, the church of the 13 domes, at around 12:45.
- (13:15) Departure from Doliana with gravel with stop the helmet or the Kalliroi and stop for tour and lunch in the gravel, in the picturesque tavern «La Verliga», at around 14:00.
- (16:00) Departure from gravel to Strand, a short stop at the church of St. Nicholas (the 'Asfaka ") around 17:00.
- (17:10) Continued from Agios Nikolaos to Pyrrha with short stop and visit the Monastery of the Holy Friday after Pyrrha, at 17:25.
- (17:45) Descend to cross Pertouli Neraidochori, the last major stop for coffee at the built-up area after light a candle in the chapel (the EMOT) of St. Paul near the ski.
- (19:00) Departure from built-up area for Gate and then to Kalambaka after moving from Trikala, arriving by 20:00.

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 17:56


Kalambaka - Kalarrytes 96 mm (2 ½ hours)

Path: Kalambaka-Chestnut - Aspropotamos - Anthousa - Top Bari (2190 m) - Kalarrytes.

Syrrako and Kalarrytes two of the most beautiful villages of Epirus. Belong both in Ioannina, are both villages, are both preserved settlements and nest on the southwest slopes of Mt Dove or if you prefer the western slopes of Mount Katarrahias. Although not directly related to the term Tzoumerka (which has a height of 2,393 meters and belongs to the prefecture of Arta), however, is obvious that whoever visits the wider geographical region of Tzoumerka will definitely go for a walk and the two villages , which is picturesque and reminiscent largely Zagorohoria (but which are much further north). In fact, the Dove, the Katarrahias the Kakarditsa, Tzoumerka and Athamanika Mountains (2429 m altitude) is a single mountain range in the direction north - south divide and Epirus from Thessaly, erect and stood up to just above the west Bank of Achelous, who in this region called Aspropotamos. The altitude and the two villages is about 1,150 m and their distance from the capital of the prefecture of Ioannina, is 53 km from Syrrako and 58 km for Kalarrytes. The permanent population in Syrrako approximately 15 residents and about 20 Kalarrytes.

In Kalarrytes can get from Kalambaka, passing by the area of ​​the villages of Aspropotamos. We are moving on the road linking Anthousa with gravel and found the left junction leads to Kalarites to 20 km
Please note that while the two villages have visual contact and spaced in a straight line is approximately 1,000 to 1,200 feet, yet to go by road from one to another must do a large circle about 18 km, plus the many other Return, for each inserted Kalarrytikos River Gorge, which is a tributary of Arachthos. Certainly those who love walking there and it is nothing to skip this route. The trail is beautiful, ever go down, we pass by two or three small waterfalls until we reach the stream, passing over the bridge and immediately go up again. To calculate that Syrrako up Kalarrytes (or vice versa) requires walking at most 2 hours with a leisurely pace and several breaks. To even say that the river is a border between Greece and Turkey from 1881 to 1913, and they say Syrrakiotes Chrousia.
Attention to petrol: there are only Koutselio in Pramanta and Plaka.

About 1-2 miles before reaching Syrrako have two options: one is to take the right branch of the road to park where the asphalt stops to move the stone archway and walk in amazing stone path length 300 meters, passing successive stone fountains, stone bridges and waterfalls. The other option is to take the left branch, to do around the village and to approach the car until the first houses down low. In the village, no cars.
The village got its name from the word Vlach seraco means poor and barren. Indeed, if you noticed, one would find that all the surrounding hills are bare and rocky, is entirely missing the forest. This is not due to a fire but to overgrazing. 100 years ago, said about 3,500 people lived in the village, who except famous stonecutters, masons, tailors and traders were farmers. There is a typical three-storey building, built about 100 years ago and worked as an elementary school but now there are no students has been restored and houses the hostel "Syrrako".
Leave Syrrako, turn back and turn on Prosilio Kalarrytes. Once you reach the village Kipina will see on our right the cafe - grill Dimitris Kotsis (tel. 2659061186). You get in, if we will drink and coffee and leaving will take the key to the Monastery Kipina but leaving our identity. We should not forget to return to leave the key and get the identity. All this because of repeated thefts and vandalism of sacrilegious in the recent past.
At 1,500 meters from the cafe should have the mind to be careful on our left, high above the vertical rock Kipina Monastery, a Byzantine hermitage, which moreover is hiding in the bowels of the cave and a natural length of 280 m, but also an entire underground river! Access to the monastery via a suspended wooden bridge that goes up with a kick. Unique experience.

After the monastery we will go through a pitch dark tunnel in which two vehicles do not fit together to cross (unless they are two), just wants attention, fortunately, the length is not around 80 m. It will then pass the Kalarrytikos over metal Bridge type Belef, next to which we will see a small traditional stone bridge.
At the entrance of the village Kalarrytes will see right leaving the road Anthousa Aspropotamos and Trikala. In the village, no cars. And this stone, beautiful mansions, plenty of water, stone fountains, traditional streets and a picturesque square, amphitheater built like open air theater. In the square we find the nice little shop of Katerina with gifts, silver, icons, wood carvings and likerakia and sweets. Also in the square lies the effigy of Prime Kalarrytinou Spyridon Lambrou. A little further we find (as in Syrrako) and the church of St. Nicholas. The steeple is a later and donated by family Fasoulas. The Kalarrytinoi famous for its extremely high performance in the art of silversmithing. It is no secret that the world-class firm BVLGARI owes its success to the founder of the company, the Kalarrytino Voulgaris. Similarly, the same happened with the house Nessi, founded by the family with roots in Nessie Kalarrytes. Lived here too one day more than 4,000 souls, then slowly the place was deserted. Now tourism is going to do something but the situation seems to be irreversible.

Eagle Tavern. Tel 2651053296 & 2651038389. Ms. Eurydice went longer than 70 but opens the shop every day or hour of meat or pie or for a simple cup of coffee.
Tavern Goura. Tel 2651053622 & 6978888234. Open only Sat / u and celebrations for grilled, boiled goat, etc.
Tavern Syrrako. Tel 2651053569 & 2651053444. There are open. Puts and spits (kebabs heavy lambs, intestines), has soups and pies etc.
In the restaurant of the hostel Syrrako. Tel 2651066812 & 6973215156. Works only the evening hours for pies, salads, grilled meats, etc.
Cafe, grocery store, bar, tavern, glykopoleio turban. Tel 2651053540 & 2651066210. Open in winter only Friday, Saturday, Sunday and summer day. Basil prepares simple things: sausages, meatballs, fried potatoes, salads, feta cheese, bread and tsipouro. Sold sweets, liqueurs, honey, noodles etc.
Tavern, cafe, grocery Acanthus. Tel 2659061518, 2659062214, 2651048843 & 6972265961. Open daily, year round. Real time grocery store with the goods on the shelves, wooden floor, tables and chairs around a wood stove. In this humble shop "paint" the famous anymore nationwide Zanglis Napoleon and his wife Lambrini: Excellent pies and sweet and savory, oven braised rabbit with clams, pork prasoselino, beef stew, rooster with noodles, eggplant baked with garlic and ntomatoula, krasaki bulk tsipouro a snack, coffee kaimaklidiko, sweet walnut etc.
Restaurant at Mansion boyars. Tel 2659062361. On the ground floor of the eponymous hostel.
The Ovelistirio 5F. Tel 6947775616. Mr. Costas Arleta opens while winter only Sat / u, and the summer day.
Cafe Dimitris Kotsis grill. Tel 2659061186. Ms. Theodora except coffee can prepare chops, sausages, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, salads, etc.

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 17:54

Picturesque Metsovo

Picturesque Metsovo

Situated at the crossroads of Epirus, Thessaly and Western Macedonia is an ideal destination for lovers of mountain tourism and generously offers moments of pure relaxation.

We recommend a visit to the reconstructed mansion of Michael Tositsa, which operates as Continental Folk Art Museum, offers a complete picture of the life of past centuries in the region.

In "Down Neighborhood" Metsovo, housed the Averoff Gallery. In Averofion Gardens, one of the best parks in our country are concentrated all kinds of trees exist in the Pindus.

Of course in all this, do not forget to taste and buy delicious local product.

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 17:53

Memorial Holy Cross Monastery (Doliana)

Memorial Holy Cross Monastery (Doliana)

The temple of the Holy Cross is located 1.5 km from the village Doliana and 2 km from the community Krania Aspropotamos.
The area of ​​Kranias and generally Pindos by Aspropotamos as the Samarina and Metsovo in Trikala region is Koutsovlachikon villages where older residents still speak the Vlach language. The data relating to the history of the church are minimal, and those that are constituting the history of the monument from the 19th century. onwards.

First written mention of the monument are two documents of 1839 (firman) and 1841 (Worldwide), relating to renovation and rebuilding of the temple. The Temple of the Cross, was part of the monastery of 1770 (the oral tradition dating to 1630), which is recorded as the monastery of Agios Nikolaos and now the locals call it the Holy Monastery Zone. This part of the monastery of the same monastery was even a chapel dedicated to Saint Nicholas, who were nearby. Of these three institutions which are dependencies of the Monastery of St. Stephen's Meteora, survives intact only the church of the Cross while the other two as well as other monuments in the surrounding villages were destroyed in 1943 by a severe attack of the Germans.

The Temple of the Cross is characterized by the peculiar architecture. It consists of a domed and polykoncho nave and the narthex demolished today. The nave has a basilica plan with three semicircular arches on the east side and three arches, each long side of which is sized dance floor. The temple is covered with slate roof, above which rise 12 domes and trouliskoi built. Inside the sanctuary is shaped synthronon and episcopal throne.

The church's interior is not covered with masonry and thus without paintings, thus highlighting the stone character. The founder of the church, according to an inscription on stone reliefs is Gianousios Gkougkouzis the village Ventista (current Amaranth) Aspropotamos.

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 17:52

Round Lake Plastiras

Round Lake Plastiras

Lake Tavropos, later Lake Plastiras, located at an altitude of 750 meters, with an area of ​​25,000 acres along 14 km, width of 4 km and a depth of 65 meters. And the dam has a height of 83 meters and a length of 220 meters. A unique destination, full of greenery and immersed in the refreshing water element. A real gem for the whole of Thessaly.

Check out to know the Western edge of the plain of Thessaly, Karditsa beautiful namely Lake. Moving from hut Pezoulas (village-to-node tinefkoloteri lake access), Neohori Belokomiti, we are one of the most beautiful trails Round Lake Plastiras reach the dam Tavropos. (Is an arched structure with a length of 200 meters and a height of 83 meters).

After admire this impressive building we continue our stroll on the beach destination Lambero ideal spot to enjoy the view of Lake and indescribable peaks combined with good food or coffee.

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 14:40

Theopetra's Cave

The Theopetra, is found west of Highway Ioannina-Trikala perched on a rocky hill, the first series of the geological phenomenon Meteoritikon rock.
In the NE a rocky limestone volume in "Muti" is the Cave of Theopetra.
It lies about 4 km from Kalambaka and has an arched entrance, measuring 17 x 3 m approx.

The interior consists of a main hall 500 m some with small niches in the region. The formation of limestone rock Theopetra placed in the upper Cretaceous Period (137,000,000 to 65,000,000 years from now). The creation of the cave is thus later than the above age.
The cave was inhabited during the Middle Paleolithic Period (beginning about 130,000 years ago). This cave is the first excavated in Thessaly and the only so far in Greece with continuous anthropogenic layers ranging from the Middle Stone Age and up to the end of the Neolithic (3000 BC).

The importance of chronological continuity lies in the fact that for the first time in Greece we see the transition from Palaiolithiko the Neolithic lifestyle. Among other things, the cave Palaeolithic stone tools found - Mesolithic and Neolithic Age, Neolithic pottery finds, bone tools, shell jewelry, unique for the Greek gold jewelry of the Palaeolithic, the Mesolithic and Neolithic period, and the famous human footprints of Theopetra dating to 130,000 years ago and are now rare finding not only for Greece but also for Europe.

We also detected traces of fire in open hearths and unformatted close to them also found pieces of burnt clay from spreading wall or roof within which observed footprints reeds and wood. The reason I survived all this is to fire the hardened and are regarded as representatives of the architecture of the Neolithic era.
Both identified and bones in particular animals, such as cow, pig, sheep, deer, dog, etc. but just human. The presence of flint tools from the end of the Upper Paleolithic era as the original stones, which are processed to manufacture tools and shows the existence of the laboratory building these tools. The analysis of the affected fruit were shown to originate from wheat, rye, barley, oats, etc. but also pear, grapevine, apple and various wild grasses to which supplement or food or used for other purposes.
Quite interesting are the small stylized masses uncooked clay identified as the first efforts of the man who lived in the cave in the Middle Paleolithic era to format the clay. Analyses and specialized research tools led to the conclusion that a creature of the last Neanderthals that people communicate and the type of Homo Sapiens, which covers the next two periods of occupation of the cave of Theopetra.
The excavation started in 1987 by archaeologist Catherine Kyparissis-Dispatch and continued until 2005 when he began the works for the restoration and enhancement of the cave with the establishment of a corridor which serves visitors and People with Disabilities. Currently projects have been completed and the cave is open to visitors.

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 14:29

St. - George's Mandila

Kastraki has an old and rich history. Still preserved many traditions, among which stands out climbing with rope in the church of St. - George's Mandila, which is (unfortunately accessible only to skilled climbers) in the ruins of the monastery of Ag. Mandila George.
According to an old custom the Kastraki, the day of the feast of the saint, with the end use, the village youths hanging colorful scarves and lit candles at the Monastery.
The scarves are left until the next feast of St and are wishes for good health.
The foundation of the monastery of Ag. Mandila placed George in the 14th century. accordance with the few data available, which belong to the tradition, because the monastery has not yet been studied scientifically.
This custom was instituted by the following incident, which testifies to the faith of our people in the miraculous power of St. George.
At the foot of the rock, where lies the monastery of St. George, during the years of Ottoman rule stretched a dense forest. In this forest was banned cutting of trees, which applied to the conquerors. But a soldier of the Turkish garrison of Kastraki and one day began to cut a tree, fell down unconscious, as if dead.
The Turkish commander of the village, thinking that someone "gkiaouris" killed him, ordered and collected in the village square. And threatened to retaliate hard, unless they delivered the killer soldier.
At that moment we heard from the monastery a loud voice, saying that no one killed the soldier, but was punished St George. It was good but if it offered something the Turks in the saint. And immediately his wife aga gave his handkerchief veil of.
Then someone Kastraki raised the handkerchief to the monastery, the abbot and just hung it in the image of the saint, Turkish rose katageros. And then prevailed every time new kerchief hanging in this monastery.

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