Bridges

#73 Bridge of Zerma

 

The stone bridge of Zerma, or of Kantsiko, is located northeast of Konitsa in the Sarantaporos valley and near the border of West Macedonia, between the Plagia and Drosopigi villages (formerly known as Zerma and Kantsiko).

It crosses over Sarantaporos at the spot where the spacious valley of the river narrows at a level the builders can take advantage of the morphology and build the bridge.

The pointed endings of both the small and the big arc indicates its age without making sure how old it is. T. Ziogas, the construction's foreman, believes it was built around 1747, from the data inscribed on a plaque on a pedestal in Plagia.

The bridge served as a transportation mean between the villagers of Drosopigi and those of the Grammos' villages (Plagia, Lykorrahi, etc.) as well as a way to get to the Holy Mother monastery that was built since the 15th century. According to some reports, there were fortifications in the bridge's vicinity.

The bridge of Zerma is of particular interest from an architectural point of view, thanks to the harmonious composition of the tectonic components of the bridge, which shows the level of expertise of the anonymous builder. The bridge was repaired in the early 17th as claimed by the villagers of the surrounding area.

It is the only surviving bridge across the riverbed of Sarantaporos (main riverbed).


Construction characteristics

 

  It was built using local materials, i.e. stone collected from the river and the surrounding streams, held together with strong lime mortar.

Additional historical, cultural and touristic data

  Drosopigi (Kantsiko)

The village located to the right of Kefalochori village, in a 10km distance from the famous Kantsiko Bridge (or bridge of Zerma) is called Drosopigi (alt. 1050m). Kantsiko, former name of Drosopigi, was home to many craftsmen that migrated to Sudan, Persia and U.S. in search for work. Some of the significant works of the Kantsiko's craftsmen is the stone bridge of Sarantaporos (1747) and the monastery of Fourka. The village's coopers were famous as well and travelled all around Greece. The tradition indicates that Kantsiko existed before 1600. It flourished during the Ottoman Rule and because of that it was given special administrative and religious privileges. Most of Kantsiko's houses were built during those years, as shown on the plaques at the entrance of those houses. Many deadly battles occurred in that region during the Greek-Italian war as well as during the civil war. The village, which is well preserved and very friendly, shows great examples of folk architecture and a unique style. The large paved square that was built on two levels, with the plane tree that was planted there in 1886 and the faucet where the St Paraskevi church is located, is what stands out in this village. The church that was built in 1930 by local craftsmen impresses the visitors with its size and two belfries. We can find the bust of the village's benefactor, Yannis Lytras, on the premises of the church.

Some places also worth visiting are the churches of St Athanasius (1906), St Nikolaos (1916), St Panteleimon (1927), the temple of the Assumption of Mary (1902) where there are pieces of Anastasios M. Zografos from Chioniades

Zerma

At a distance of 3km from the new settlement, in a lush forest, the deserted Zerma village is located, home to the famous chieftain Giannoulis Zermas (1845). Zerma was a small icon painting center. In 1662, in the priory of Kamenas located near Delvino of Albania, a painter called Michael painted the icons of the church. "By the hand of the sinner painter Michael from the small town of Zerma". Also, many craftsmen workshops from Zerma worked at Mount Athos, Agrinio, Amfilohia, Thesprotia, Thessaly and Albania (Delvino, Argyrokastro). The priory of Zerma, one of the oldest monasteries of Epirus, was built, as the tradition indicates, by the emperor Constantine Pogonato (668-685), at Paliomonastiro. It was rebuilt in Zerma in 1656. Nowadays, the only things to have survived are the church, its beautiful marble gate with its carved decorations and some walls of its dorms. Its church, a basilica with three domes with unique architecture and exquisite style, is unique in Epirus.

Imprinting figures

  Directions: You can get there by driving from Plagia to Drosopigi. Next to the metal Belley viaduct.

County: Ioannina

Community: Drosopigi

River: Sarantaporos

Coordinates: N 40° 13΄42,6΄΄ E 020° 54΄49,7΄΄

Altitude: 705 m.



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