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Konitsa

This beautiful borderline town spreads up the green slopes of Mt. Trapezitsa (elevation: 600m.); it has been built according to the traditional architectural style in Epirus and is surrounded by impressive nature. Rivers Aoos, Voidomatis and Sarantaporos cross the area’s fertile plain. Arched bridges crown the deep-shaded ravines. The Vikos-Aoos National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty and the major asset of this impressive land. So, it comes as no surprise that this area is one of the top destinations for alternative activities and mountain sports.

 


On entering the town you will cross its well-known stone bridge – the biggest single span arch bridge in Europe; its construction was accomplished by master mason Kostas Frontzos (1870). The path that starts from this location follows an enchanting route all the way to Moni Stomiou [Stomiou Monastery] (1776). Walking on the ascending narrow stone streets of Konitsa is alone an unforgettable experience. The most impressive part is the Upper (Old) town and its eye-catching stately houses, the stone built churches and the unobstructed view of the plain that stretches at its foot.

 


The must-visit sights include the stone built main church of Agios Nikolaos, Sultan Souleiman Mosque (1536), Hamko’s house (mother to Ali Pasha of Ioannina – an ottoman ruler of the late 18th century), the public library and the Photography Exhibition of the monuments of Konitsa covering the period from the Prehistoric Era to the Byzantine times. The slab-paved square and the traditional tavernas are the right places for you to rest and also taste local dishes.

 


Nearby destinations

Konitsa town is the heart of a district that includes many small yet remarkable villages and locations that are definitely worth visiting, such as
Mastorochoria [villages of stone masons]: this is the group name of 15 traditional villages nestled on the slopes of Mt. Grammos and Mt. Smolikas. Villagers used to be famous stone masons during the times of the Turkish occupation. They would travel in large groups within as well as outside the Ottoman empire, raising memorable constructions which combined the classic and byzantine tradition with elements of popular local art. One such impressive village is Pyrsogianni where you can visit the Ethnographic Museum of Stone Masonry.
Bourazani, an area of rare natural beauty where you can also take a guided tour to the Environmental Park.
Molyvdoskepasti, a borderline village with remarkable byzantine monuments such as the Stavropegial Monastery or Panagia [Our Lady] Molyvdoskepasti (7th c.) as well as a traditional tsipouro [strong alcoholic drink] distillery.
Kavasila, an area with warm mineral springs, and Amarantos, a location with mineral steam baths.
Drakolimni [dragon lake] on Mt. Smolika (elevation 2150m.), also called the ‘blue lake’ after its striking blue coloured waters.

 


Sports activities on the mainland


Konitsa has lately been known as the centre of alternative tourism. A number of companies are in business there, specialising in a variety of safely organised nature activities.
Try any of the following:
Rafting and kayaking on Voidomatis and Aoos Rivers. Their waters are bound to thrill beginners and pros alike.
Strolling by the river or touring the pristine nature on horseback.
Mountain biking
and off-roading in 4WD vehicles.
Paragliding
Climbing
Mountaineering and hiking. You will find numerous paths leading to the surrounding mountain peaks that are nothing short of paradise.
Each year, in late May and early June, open air adventure sports contests take place here called Evathlos, and there are participants coming from all over the world.

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