Prefecture of Thesprotia

Show Geographical Unit Thesprotia

Thesprotia is one of the most endowed in natural beauty areas of Epirus. It has mountains that charm with their green landscapes and towering volumes, seaside villages that enchant with their lacy beaches and their sheltered picturesque harbors.
The area has been inhabited since ancient times. In its territories the mythology mated with history, creating a unique historical tapestry.

Description of geographical features

The Regional Unit of Thesprotia is one of the four of Epirus and is located in the NW part of it. It borders to the north with Albania, the Regional Union of Ioannina to the east and to the south by the Regional Unit of Preveza. From the west coast it is surrounded by the Ionian Sea. Its area is 1,515 km². and the population reaches the 44.488 inhabitants.
It consists of the municipalities of Igoumenitsa, Sagiada, Acherontas, Sivota, Margariti, Parapotamos, Paramithia, Filiatew and the communities of Perdika and Souli.
Most of Thesprotia is mountainous. On the west side there are the mountains of Paramythia (alt. 1064 m.), and the mountains of Parga (alt. 927 m.). On the border with Albania dominate the mountains of Tsamantas, while towards Ioannina we find the continuity of the mountains Tsamanta with Mourgana (alt. 1806 m.) and Paramythia, are an extension of the legendary Soulians mountains, with peaks Gorila (alt. 1658 m.) and Chionistra (alt. 1644 m.). As we approach the sea, we find plains like of Kalama Paramithia, Acheron and Margaritiou.
The most important river of the county is the Thyamis (Kalamas) with their tributaries Lagkaditsa, Kalpakiotiko and Chavo.
The capital is Igoumenitsa, built in a beautiful bay.

Historical and cultural significance of the stone bridges

Our data for the bridges in antiquity, lead us to the conclusion that survived traces of older bridges that were central power projects (city states, eg Gitana), powerful priesthood (eg necromancy) or empires (Rome, Byzantium). These large structures bridged the backbone of Kalamas who, due to the opening and depth of bed, it is difficult to bridge.
The largest effort in the later years (Ottoman period) is to bridge the river near Menina, with a series of arcs, where most have to reach 38 meters.
These bridges, in contrast to the common practice constructed bridges in narrow parts of the river were built in places where the river opens into the bed of the valley, so the piers are not at risk of being washed away by the gushing waters.
If we exclude the big bridges of "central government" (Bojana, Menina) all the rest stone bridges, built on secondary roads and served the movement of local residents. (A classic example of the bridge Griko in Povla - Vineyard.)
Of course, to build economically burdened the residents, except that a powerful monastery was building a bridge to serve its own needs (eg bridge Faucet in Vrosyna, which built the monastery of Makralexi Mourganas).
But even in the case of construction of bridges from the central power, local residents, as in any project (cols, fortifications, etc.) personal work necessarily contributed to the project, taking off stones pits and carrying them to the region with their animals, cutting wood for the formwork etc.
In cases of small bridges where construction project undertook the surrounding villages, organized crowds of Kiopruli undertook all the work. The contribution of the inhabitants were determined by the elders of each village and besides the financial burdens residents usually took on nutrition craftsmen. These agreements between manufacturers and employers determined by detailed contracts, some of which have survived.

Traditions and customs on the stone bridges

Man, therefore, in an effort to expand the limits posed by nature, had to confront and collide with it. This conflict, as indeed happened in many similar cases, is surrounded by a cloak which popular tradition has embroidered with many myths, beliefs and traditions.
The most characteristic of the beliefs that accompanied the foundation of the bridges was that of human sacrifice. The roots of human sacrifice, of course, are lost in antiquity, after having found several cases in which the gravity of the situation required the sacrifice of a relative of the person concerned. The same pattern is also found in the mythological tradition of many cultures.
The relationship of man - nature is materialized by taking into account the trend of personification of rivers and their worship as separate deities. In many cases, it is even assigned to the river a specific form such as a bull or a snake. People, in fact, with various events of mysticism sought the favor of the river for the purpose of either the fertility of the land or the fertility of the man.
The foundation of the bridge, the builders were slaughtering the foundations a kourbani. Often they threw on the foundations coins, bronze or silver, for good luck, while they put a coin behind the dedicatory inscription. The currencies took the master builder, having left some in the foundations.
Women were cutting branches helmet and hung above the main entrance of the house to be robust krania- -like the men on the trip and come back solidly.


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