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THESPROTIA

Information | Photo Gallery | Map

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

The prefecture of Thesprotia is one of the main gateways of Greece to the West. Igoumenitsa, its capital city, is an important port of the Ionian Sea, second in importance only to that of Patra to the South. As the New Via Egnatia motorway works progress, its significance will continue to grow, as vessels from and to Italy will be connected with destinations as remote as Constantinople (Instanbul) in Turkey by the use of a motorway which will be making its way across all of Northern Greece. In addition to its commercial significance, the prefecture has been an increasingly popular tourist destination due to its remarkable natural beauty and its reputation for high quality services.    

 

HISTORY-CULTURE

The prefecture derives its name from the Thesprotians, a Greek tribe which established its presence here during the 2nd millennia BC. Yet archaeological evidence found in the region establishes the beginning of human presence in Thesprotia much further into the past and well into the Paleolithic Age. In addition to the Thesprotians, other Greek tribes settled in this land, mostly Molossians. The region has flourished ever since the bronze age, as is evidenced by findings of the Mycenean era. Populations from Ilia, Corfu and Corinth were added during the period between the 8th and the 6th century BC. By the time of the classical period, these settlements had developed into fortified urban centers such as Elea and Gitani. After the death of the great King Pyrrhus of Epirus, the populace joined the league of Epirus, though this did not manage to prevent a bitter Roman conquest, which was accompanied by extensive plundering by the Roman legions and was followed in the next centuries by countless raids by barbarians. Byzantine rule provided a brief interval before the region fell in the 15th century, along with the rest of Greece, to the massive Turkish armies. A single village named Souli, protected by a fierce landscape and much fiercer men, maintained its independence for centuries, until it was finally martyred in the early 19th century. The dramatic suicide of its women, who performed a ceremonial dance before jumping off a cliff as their only alternative to a life slavery and disgrace, has inspired many artists and literalists. Thesprotia, after a series of wars, was finally reunited with Greece in 1913.      

 

SIGHTS

The duality of the Thesprotian landscape is remarkable, just as it is well-balanced. Mountainous landscapes where imposing mountains and steep cliffsides are cut through by breathtaking gorges which often hide a river in the depth of their chasm, end with but a slight descent into a majestic coastline where they form successive small gulfs and bays. Long sandy beaches, reclusive rocky bays, small fertile plains and wetlands vivid with wildlife are but an arm?s reach away from snow-capped mountain tops and dense forests. Along the coastline there are numerous islets, each holding its own secrets and promises. The entire course of the river Acheron from its springs to the sea resembles a portofolio of nature, each and every angle making an idyllic scene of beauty. This natural setting is complemented by numerous sites of historical, archaeological, and cultural interest, such as the ancient cities of Fotiki, Elea, Dymokastro, Doliani, and Gitani, the Byzantine castles of Igoumenitsa, Ragion, Paramythia, Osdina, and Polyneri, the monasteries of Agios Athanasios, Paganion, and Metamorphosis Tou Sotiros, the churches of Taxiarches, the Virgin Mary, Agia Kyriaki, Agia Marina and Agios Minas, and many more, which the inquisitive visitor will be happy to discover himself.

   

ENTERTAINMENT-SPORTS-SHOPPING

Igoumenitsa attracts thousands of tourists every year due to its captivating landscapes and the extensive entertainment and shopping facilities it provides. In spite of its busy commercial activity, it remains a picturesque coastal town, built amphitheatrically over a hospitable gulf framed by pine trees, with numerous cafes and taverns offering local delicacies spread all along the coastline. Vivacious local festivals and night clubs take over the scene as darkness falls, while sporting facilities are also fully available for those who prefer a more athletic lifestyle. Challenges of both the mountain and the sea await the adventurous, who will be have but to choose between such diverse activities as mountain climbing and water skiing. High quality accommodations can be found in the capital as well as in Filiates, Syvota, Paramythia, Perdica, Plataria, as well as in many more villages.    

 

ACCESS

Vessels from Patra and Italy arrive daily in the port of Igoumenitsa, and lines from Athens and Thessaloniki are added during the Summer. Buses also service travelers from and to Athens and Thessaloniki.   

 

CONNECTIONS

Buses link Igoumenitsa directly with Arta, Ioannina, and Preveza, and indirectly with most urban centers of Central and Northern Greece. The North-South motorway crosses the Rion-Antirrion bridge into Patra, and from there to any destination in the Peloponnese, while the Via Egnatia motorway provides access through Northern Greece to Turkey, and Bulgaria. Ferries from Igoumenitsa reach the Islands of the Ionian Sea and Italy.   

 

MUSEUMS

Folk art museums operate in the villages of Polydroso, Neochori, and Tsamandas, while a significant collection of archaeological findings can be seen in Paramythia. In Souli there is a collection which depicts the exploits of the heroic local populace against Turkish domination. 

 

ALTERNATIVE TOURISM

Archaeology, caving, canyoning, ecotourism, agrotourism, birdwatching, and sporting (mountain climbing, trekking, river trekking, windsurfing, water ski, zodiac cruise, horse riding, scuba diving, sailing).

 

USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS:

IGOUMENITSA AREA CODE:  26650-

POLICE STATION: 26650-29600, 29615, 29665

TRAFFIC POLICE: 26650-29622-3, 22196

TOURIST POLICE: 26650-21200

PORT POLICE: 26650-99400

MUNICIPALITY: 26650-22323

TELECOMMUNICATIONS ORG.: 26650-22899

POST OFFICE: 26650-22209, 24445, 25135

MEDICAL CENTER: 26650-24420-4, 29226

PHARMACIES: 26650-23920, 24698, 25160, 25220, 28328, 25204, 22410, 23856, 23220, 22559

TAXI STATION: 26650-23200, 23500

 

 

 

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