This is some pictures of a small ruined greek church,on the mountain roads i came across when traveling to the theatre of DODONA,from Parga.
The pictures show what is now very common place in quite a lot of greeksites it is overgrown and not looked after,which is such a shame.
The church dates i believe from the 9th,c
The little road that goes from Parga to Valthou bay is framed with olive groves, standing on a very steep slope. Though we were at the end of August, nets used to collect the olives on the ground were there though they are not used before October or November. I guess they are staying there all year round. Nobody is going to steel them!
This kind of grave that looks like a well is named either “well grave” or "oven grave”. They are found all around the Mediterranean and are attributed to the Peslages Sicanes and Iberians. They are very old, 3250 to 4200 BC, which is the end of the Neolithic period !
Ioannina is the capitol of the Epirus region. It is a medium sized city with one of the largest universities in Greece.
Due to the large number of students, you can be sure that the city is alive and vibrant. Not noisy and rowdy though, just a lively friendly atmosphere.
Some of the buildings in the city still show the Turkish influence within Ioannina.
This region was part of the Ottoman empire until the early part of last century. Ali Pasha, the terribly cruel ruler, resided in Ioannina, and his castle is now one of the city museums.
A short boat trip to the island (Nisi) in the lake takes you to another Ali Pasha museum which although very small, is certainly worth the couple of Euro's entrance fee. Lunch or dinner on the island is excellent and affordable at one of the many taverna's at the harbour.
From Parga, make sure to take the road through Karvounari/Paramithia/Dodoni and your trip to Ioannina will be lovely, with some beautiful scenery.
At Dodoni you will find the ancient Oracle of the Dead, in ancient times second only to the famous one in Delphi, and a large amphitheatre.
All in all, a worthwhile trip which can be completed in one day, but you'll need to leave early, and count on a rather late return. Another option would be to stay overnight in Ioannina. I can personally recommend it.
I found that this bay, not far from Parga was worth a photo (sorry, I have not written down the name of that place). If you enlarge it, you ill see clearly that the bay has been progressively silted up. The figure of the following shores can be clearly seen. That would fit very well for a geography class.
Lastly on the trip to see hidden gems of Epirus we had a lazy lunch in the village of Gliki by the river Acheron - the mythological mouth of the underworld - although other Rivers have this claim too!
Pleasnt spot for lunch with tables down by the waterside if wanted. Afterwards we enjoyed wading up the river as it enters a gorge withhigh walled cliffs on either side. The water was icy cold at first but very refreshing - wear swim shoes as its quite stony. There are several paths alongside the river too if you don't want to get your feet wet.
From our vantage point on Zalongo we could see across the hillside to a grassy plateau to the archaeological site of the ancient city of Kassiopi. The Kassiopians were a tribe who lived in this region during 4th century B.C. This trip to Epirus did not include a visit here but with a car could be visited on another day.
At Zalongo on a rocky crop ascended by many steps is a crumbling 1960's monument in memory of the 62 women and children who took their own lives, by throwing themselves off the cliff face, rather than be captured and suffer torture at the hands of attacking Albanian - Turkish troops in 1806. Truthfully the monument looks better from a distance - it looks as if faces are carved onto the statues but it is just erosion. It takes a fair few mins to walk up - allow at least an hour for the return trip - take some water and wear a hat as even in May it was hot and there is little shade. The views from the top were worthwhile though. The monastery at the bottom was not open so if you don't climb there is not a lot to do while waiting for the rest of the group to return.
Nekromanteio or Nekyomanteio - known as the "Oracle of the Dead" a little known archaeological site. According to Greek mythology this was the entrance to the underworld. Not a huge site but the stories behind it were interesting and you can still descend into the vaults (see pic 4) where in the 4th century B.C. people went to visit the oracle for advice from the dead. Watch out here as its pitch black and the floor is very uneven. It seems the sensations of the visiting pilgrims may have been heightened by drugs as they have to navigate the labyrinth to reach this underworld. On top of the square building is a small church that can be visited too. (pic 5)
The ruins on the ground outline an elaborate complex that included the living quarters of the priests and the guests, storage facilities, rooms for ritual activities, and the main sanctuary where the meeting of the living with the dead took place. For the duration of their visit their diet and actions were strictly controlled by the priests - diet consisted of foods which along with isolation and meditation induced a state of hallucination for the person who was about to encounter the dead. Once the purification of the soul and body was complete, the pilgrim in a state of altered reality offered sacrifice to the gods, and walked down a long corridor and through the three doors of the dark labyrinth that leads to the central room where the spirits of the dead spoke to the living. Researchers reckon it was all a bit of a scam as the priest got to know about the visitors lives during their stay and the encounter with the dead souls was nothing else than an encounter with the image of the dead (probably a priest) that was suspended from the ceiling with the aid of an elaborate machine.
Epirus is the coastal region north-western Greece and southern Albania. From Parga we made a day trip (organised excursion) of some of the interesting sites locally. Not normally a big fan of organised trips but this was a good one as the areas visited were all fairly local and not a lot of time was spent on the bus but actually exploring or walking in the area so I can really recommend this trip and will make a few tips on each place visited.
Basically the tour went to the Oracle of the Dead archaeological site (almost an hour hour with good explanation from guide), afterwards it was coffee and cake time at a local village (with a huge tree in the village square) not far from the Zalongo Monoment. Over an hour was then spent at the Zalongo Monument - you need the time to climb all the steps up the rock face to reach this otherwise you spend time at the monastery below. Next up was a lazy lunch stop by the River Acheron from whence it was a short hop to actually walk up the Acheron river gorge. In-between all this was lovely countryside and mountains of Epirus - the pics will show some of the views. Watch out for storks nesting on the church chimneys too!