The stone bridges of Ioannina

The stone bridges of Ioannina


Single-arch or multi-arched, the stone bridges of Ioannina still stand today imposingly, witnesses of the history and civilization of the glorious Epirusian land.

The vital need of communication and transport of the goods was the one that pushed the "bridgemakers" or "kioprulides", uneducated folk builders, to the construction of the stone arched bridges of Ioannina.
Utilizing the accumulated empirical knowledge of many generations of masters, but also the natural laws, sometimes consciously and other times unconsciously, the self-taught folk craftsmen put together the stones, their main structural material, with a special technique to give the bridge a suitable arcuate shape, depending on the natural terrain and always with the utmost respect for nature.
Situated in key locations but also in inaccessible locations, intertwined with the history of Ioannina as well as of the Greek nation, perfectly harmonized with the rare natural environment, these masterpieces of folk architecture reveal the aesthetics, the passion and the excellent technique held by the -renowned throughout Greece and the Balkans- master builders of Epirus.
Villages of Ioannina such as Pyrsogianni, Vourbiani, Plikati and Molista gave birth to remarkable folk architects, who built arched bridges with the main characteristics of stability, grace and beauty.
The construction of these bridges, which allowed the safe crossing of rivers, streams and torrents by hikers but also by their means of transport was an important project at the time, leading to the creation of folk songs, proverbs, customs, beliefs, legends and traditions.
Representative samples of the folk architecture and the cultural heritage of our country, the stone bridges of Ioannina managed to withstand both the rushing waters as well as the all-subduer time.
Vaggelis Stergiopoulos

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