Epirus (region)

Epirus (/ɪˈpaɪrəs/; Greek: Ήπειρος, Ípeiros [ˈipiɾos]), is a traditional geographic and modern administrative region in northwestern Greece.[3] It borders the regions of West Macedonia and Thessaly to the east, West Greece to the south, the Ionian Sea and Ionian Islands to the west and Albania to the north. The region has an area of about 9,200 km2 (3,600 sq mi). It is part of the wider historical region of Epirus, which overlaps modern Albania and Greece but lies mostly within Greek territory.

Epirus

Ήπειρος
Flag of Epirus

Flag
Epirus within Greece
Epirus within Greece
Coordinates: 39°36′N 20°48′E / 39.6°N 20.8°ECoordinates: 39°36′N 20°48′E / 39.6°N 20.8°E
Country Greece
Decentralized AdministrationEpirus and Western Macedonia
CapitalIoannina
Regional units
Government
 • Regional governorAlexandros Kachrimanis (Nea Dimokratia)
Area
 • Total9,203.22 km2 (3,553.38 sq mi)
Population
(2011)[1]
 • Total336,856
 • Density37/km2 (95/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
ISO 3166 codeGR-D
HDI (2017)0.863[2]
very high · 4th
Websitewww.php.gov.gr

Geography and ecology

PindusMountain
Forest in Pindus Mountain, Epirus.

Greek Epirus, like the region as a whole, is rugged and mountainous. It comprises the land of the ancient Molossians and Thesprotians[4] and a small part of the land of the Chaonians the greater part being in Southern Albania. It is largely made up of mountainous ridges, part of the Dinaric Alps. The region's highest spot is on Mount Smolikas, at an altitude of 2.637 metres above sea level. In the east, the Pindus Mountains that form the spine of mainland Greece separate Epirus from Macedonia and Thessaly. Most of Epirus lies on the windward side of the Pindus. The winds from the Ionian Sea offer the region more rainfall than any other part of Greece.

The Vikos-Aoos and Pindus National Parks are situated in the Ioannina Prefecture of the region. Both areas have imposing landscapes of dazzling beauty as well as a wide range of fauna and flora. The climate of Epirus is mainly alpine. The vegetation is made up mainly of coniferous species. The animal life is especially rich in this area and includes, among other species, bears, wolves, foxes, deer and lynxes.

Administration

The region was established in the 1987 administrative reform as the Epirus Region (Greek: Περιφέρεια Ηπείρου, Periféreia Ipeírou)and is divided into four regional units (formerly prefectures, nomoi), which are further subdivided into municipalities (dimoi). The regional units are: Thesprotia, Ioannina, Arta and Preveza.

Epirus - municipalities and seats EN
The administrative division of the Epirus region in municipalities. In shades of yellow, the regional unit of Thesprotia, in red, Ioannina, in blue, Preveza and in green, Arta.
Vikos Gorge from Beloe
Vikos Gorge

In January 2011, according to the reform introduced by the Kallikratis Programme (Act 3852/2010) the prefectures were abolished and replaced by regional units. The former municipalities and communities were re-structured to form only 18 new municipalities.

Municipality Population (2011) Seat
Ioannina 112,486 Ioannina
Konitsa 6,362 Konitsa
Pogoni 8,960 Kalpaki
Zagori 3,724 Asprangeli
Metsovo 6,196 Metsovo
Zitsa 14,766 Eleousa
North Tzoumerka 5,714 Pramanta
Dodoni 9,693 Agia Kyriaki
Arta 43,166 Arta
Central Tzoumerka 6,178 Vourgareli
Nikolaos Skoufas 12,753 Peta
Georgios Karaiskakis 5,780 Ano Kalentini
Preveza 31,733 Preveza
Ziros 13,892 Filippiada
Parga 11,866 Kanallaki
Igoumenitsa 25,814 Igoumenitsa
Souli 10,063 Paramythia
Filiates 7,710 Filiates

The region's governor is, since 1 January 2011, Alexandros Kachrimanis, who was elected in the November 2010 local administration elections for the New Democracy and Popular Orthodox Rally parties.

Cities

Skamneli village centre
Skamneli village (Zagori), example of Epirotic architecture.

Economy

Epirus has few resources and its rugged terrain makes agriculture difficult. Sheep and goat pastoralism have always been an important activity in the region (Epirus provides more than 45% of meat to the Greek market) but there seems to be a decline in recent years. Tobacco is grown around Ioannina, and there is also some farming and fishing, but most of the area's food must be imported from more fertile regions of Greece. Epirus is home to a number of the country's most famous dairy products' brands, which produce feta cheese among others. Another important area of the local economy is tourism, especially eco-tourism. The outstanding natural beauty of the area, as well as its picturesque villages and traditional lifestyle, have made Epirus a strong tourist attraction.

Demographics

Around 350,000 people live in Epirus. According to the 2001 census, it has the lowest population of the 13 regions of Greece. This is partly due to the impact of repeated wars in the 20th century as well as mass emigration due to adverse economic conditions. The capital and largest city of the region is Ioannina, where nearly a third of the population lives. The great majority of the population are Greeks, including Aromanians and Arvanites.

The delineation of the border between Greece and Albania in 1913 left some Albanian-populated villages on the Greek side of the border as well as Greek-populated villages and cities in Northern Epirus, in present-day Albania. In the past, the coastal region of Thesprotia was also home to a Cham Albanian minority, whose number did not exceed 25,000 in 1940s, alongside the local Greeks.[5] After the war, the Greek census of 1951 counted a total of 127 Muslim Albanian Chams in Epirus, while in 1986 44 were counted in Thesprotia.[6]

References

  1. ^ "Demographic and social characteristics of the Resident Population of Greece according to the 2011 Population - Housing Census revision of 20/3/2014" (PDF). Hellenic Statistical Authority. 12 September 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  3. ^ Π.Δ. 51/87 “Καθορισμός των Περιφερειών της Χώρας για το σχεδιασμό κ.λ.π. της Περιφερειακής Ανάπτυξης” (Determination of the Regions of the Country for the planning etc. of the development of the regions, Efimeris tis Kyverniseos ΦΕΚ A 26/06.03.1987
  4. ^ Winnifrith, T.J. Badlands-Borderland: A History of Southern Albania/Northern Epirus. London: Duckworth Publishers, 2003, ISBN 0-7156-3201-9, p. 8. "The Thesprotians lived in the western part of what is now Greek Epirus, the Molossians in the rest of Greek Epirus, and the Chaonians in the southern section of Southern Albania..."
  5. ^ Kretsi, Georgia. Ethnologia Balkanica. LIT Verlag Münster. Retrieved 27 July 2014. The Chams are understood as members of the Albanian-speaking Muslim "minority" which used to live predominately in northwestern Greece (Epirus),
  6. ^ Ktistakis, 1992: p. 8, 9 (citing Krapsitis V., 1986: Οι Μουσουλμάνοι Τσάμηδες της Θεσπρωτίας (The Muslim Chams of Thesprotia), Athens, 1986, p. 181.

External links

Acheron

The Acheron (; Ancient Greek: Ἀχέρων Acheron or Ἀχερούσιος Acherousios; Greek: Αχέροντας Acherontas) is a river located in the Epirus region of northwest Greece. It is 52 km (32 mi) long, and its drainage area is 705 km2 (272 sq mi). Its source is near the village Zotiko, in the southwestern part of the Ioannina regional unit and it flows into the Ionian Sea in Ammoudia, near Parga.

Arta, Greece

Arta (Greek: Άρτα) is a city in northwestern Greece, capital of the regional unit of Arta, which is part of Epirus region. The city was known in ancient times as Ambracia (Ancient Greek: Ἀμβρακία). Arta is known for the medieval bridge over the Arachthos River. Arta is also known for its ancient sites from the era of Pyrrhus of Epirus and its well-preserved 13th-century castle. Arta's Byzantine history is reflected in its many Byzantine churches; perhaps the best known is the Panagia Paregoretissa (Mother of God the Consoling), built about 1290 by Despot Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas. The city is the seat of the Technological Educational Institute of Epirus.

Arta (regional unit)

Arta (Greek: Περιφερειακή ενότητα Άρτας) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the Epirus region. Its capital is the town of Arta.

Greek National Road 17

Greek National Road 17 (Greek: Εθνική Οδός 17, abbreviated as EO17) is a single carriageway road in northwestern Greece. It connects Ioannina with Dodoni, via Bizani.

Greek National Road 18

Greek National Road 18 is a national highway of Greece. It connects Preveza with Igoumenitsa.

Greek National Road 20

Greek National Road 20 (Greek: Εθνική Οδός 20, abbreviated as EO20) is a single carriageway road in northwestern Greece. It links the cities of Ioannina and Kozani via Konitsa and Siatista. It passes through the Ioannina, Kastoria and the Kozani regional units. Since the opening of the A2 (Egnatia Odos), it is no longer the fastest connection between Kozani and Ioannina. The section between Ioannina and Kalpaki is part of the European route E853.

Greek National Road 21

Greek National Road 21 is a national highway of northwestern Greece. It connects Preveza with Greek National Road 5 near Filippiada.

Greek National Road 22

Greek National Road 22 is a national highway of Greece. It connects Kakavia, on the border with Albania, with Kalpaki.

Greek National Road 30

Greek National Road 30 (Greek: Εθνική Οδός 30, abbreviated as EO30) is a single carriageway road in central Greece. It connects the cities of Arta and Volos, via Trikala and Karditsa.

Greek National Road 5

Greek National Road 5 (Greek: Εθνική Οδός 5, abbreviated as EO5) is a single carriageway road in western Greece. It connects Antirrio, at the north end of the Rio-Antirrio bridge, with Ioannina in northwestern Greece, passing through Agrinio and Arta. The southern part, between Amfilochia and Antirrio, is part of the European route E55. The northern part, between Ioannina and Amfilochia, forms the European route E951. It passes on the east side of the Ambracian Gulf. In the future much of the traffic that used this road will be diverted to the new A5 (Ionia Odos) motorway, which has already taken over parts of the road.

Ioannina (regional unit)

Ioannina (Greek: Περιφερειακή ενότητα Ιωαννίνων) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the Epirus region. Its capital is the city of Ioannina. It is the largest regional unit in Epirus, and one of the largest regional units of Greece.

Ionian Sea

The Ionian Sea (Greek: Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, Iónio Pélagos [iˈonio ˈpelaɣos]; Italian: Mar Ionio [mar ˈjɔːnjo]; Albanian: Deti Jon [dɛti jɔ:n]) is an elongated bay of the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Adriatic Sea. It is bounded by Southern Italy including Calabria, Sicily, and the Salento peninsula to the west, southern Albania to the north, and the west coast of Greece.

All major islands in the sea belong to Greece. They are collectively named the Ionian Islands, the main ones being Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkada, and Ithaca.

There are ferry routes between Patras and Igoumenitsa, Greece, and Brindisi and Ancona, Italy, that cross the east and north of the Ionian Sea, and from Piraeus westward. Calypso Deep, the deepest point in the Mediterranean at −5,267 m (−17,280 ft), is located in the Ionian Sea, at 36°34′N 21°8′E. The sea is one of the most seismically active areas in the world.

Kleidi Cave

Klithi or Kleidi Cave (Greek: Σπήλαιο Κλειδί, Spelaio Kleidi) is located to the north of the village of Kleidonia in the Ioannina regional unit and around 500 m (1,600 ft) west of the Megalakkos Cave, northwestern Greece. It is situated atop the northern bank of the Voidomatis river valley.

Megalakkos

The Megalakkos (Greek: Σπήλαιο Μεγάλακκος, Spelaio Megalokkos) is a rock shelter located north of the village of Kleidonia in the Ioannina regional unit and around 500 m (1,600 ft) east of the Kleidi Cave, northwestern Greece. It sits atop the northern bank of the Voidomatis river valley.

Necromanteion of Acheron

The Nekromanteion (Greek: Νεκρομαντεῖον) was an ancient Greek temple of necromancy devoted to Hades and Persephone. According to tradition, it was located on the banks of the Acheron river in Epirus, near the ancient city of Ephyra. This site was believed by devotees to be the door to Hades, the realm of the dead. The site is at the meeting point of the Acheron, Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus rivers, believed to flow through and water the kingdom of Hades. The meaning of the names of the rivers has been interpreted to be "joyless", "burning coals" and "lament."A site in Mesopotamos, Epirus was proposed as the site of the Necromanteion in 1958, but this identification is now questioned.

Pogoni

Pogoni (Greek: Πωγώνι) is a municipality in the Ioannina regional unit, Epirus, Greece. The seat of the municipality is the village Kalpaki. The municipality has an area of 701.059 km2. Its population was 8,960 at the 2011 census.

Preveza (regional unit)

Preveza (Greek: Περιφερειακή ενότητα Πρέβεζας) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the Epirus region. Its capital is the town of Preveza.

Souli

Souli (Greek: Σούλι) is a municipality in Epirus, northwestern Greece. It was originally settled by both Greek and Albanian refugees who sought refuge in the mountainous terrain from the Ottomans, coming from areas such as Laberia in what became Albania and Thesprotia in what became Greece. In early modern times, it was inhabited by about 12,000 Souliotes. After their expulsion the population of the region was significantly reduced. In the 18th and 19th century, the citizens of Souli rebelled against the Ottoman rule.

The seat of the municipality is the town of Paramythia.

Thesprotia

Thesprotia (; Greek: Θεσπρωτία, pronounced [θesproˈtia]) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the Epirus region. Its capital and largest town is Igoumenitsa. Thesprotia is named after the Thesprotians, an ancient Greek tribe that inhabited the region in antiquity.

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