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The most historic bridge of Epirus collapsed

The most historic bridge of Epirus collapsed


The floods of the last 24 hours that swept Greece and particularly Epirus,
apart from the destruction of property they had also as a consequence the collapse of the pride of Epirus, the historic bridge of Plaka in Arta.

The news has shaken the people of Epirus for whom it represents the "Acropolis" of their region. "Today we are mourning", "we lost a sacred monument", " the benchmark of our land has collapsed." With these words, the Plakiotes are describing, along with all the inhabitants of Tzoumerka, the feelings about the great "loss", the collapse of the bridge of Plaka, on Sunday morning.
It was the largest single-arched bridge in the Balkans, which was built by stonemasons in the 18th century. It had an arch opening of 40.20 meters and a height in the center, of 21 meters.
A bridge with a historical burden, because the customs office operated at that place from the liberated Greece to the enslaved Epirus. A symbol of unity and unanimity of the resistance forces, since there, on February 29, 1944, the agreement of Plaka-Myrofillos was signed for joint action against the German occupation of the country, between EDES, ELAS EKKA and the representatives of the Headquarters of Middle East and the Greek Military Command, of the American colonel Waynes and the British colonel Goodhouse.
Mr. Theofilos Papadimitriou, a resident of Raftaneoi, a village situated at a very short distance from the settlement, reports that the bridge was built by craftsmen and masters of the stone from Pyrsogianni. When the bridge was finished and inaugurated, the arch collapsed and after some time the Tzoumerkians brought the master builder Beggas from Pramanta and the construction was rebuilt in 1866. In fact, as it's transferred from generation to generation, thousands of eggs were used from the area and together with lime "it became porcelain, the binder of the stone".
The bridge, a trade route, connected Tzumerka with the rest of Epirus and Thessaly Its arch has suffered damages by the bombs of German airplanes, but survived with minor damage to the right side. The Raftanites repaired it with cement in 1943 and the bridge has since operated without problems. Every year, on the day of Epiphany, at the Bridge of Plaka, the Tzoumerkians carry out the christening of the Cross.
Everyone in the area talks about the indifference of the competent actors in support issues of the stone bridge, which many times they posed and testified about their concern. The teacher Charilaos Mitsis says distinctively to APE-MPE: "Today the greatest crime that has been committed took place, because there was indifference. I pointed out several times the risk that it will fall. In fact my last attempt was in January last year, when I was asking from the competent persons for immediate intervention
The bridge will be rebuilt
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Religious Affairs announced yesterday that it will take immediate steps to restore the bridge.
These include: "Relative study on the monument and the recollection of the structural elements that have fallen, in order to be reused along with as much new material as needed, for the restoration of the historic bridge. Soon as the weather allow for it and the water level subsides, we will check the condition of the foundations of the piers, and assess the causes of the fall."
Finally, the statement mentions that 'in the early hours the echelon of the engineers of the Ministry rushed to the borders of the counties of Arta and Ioannina, in the settlement of Plaka Raftanaion, where the historic bridge connects the banks of the' river Arachthos and conducted an autopsy and a photographic documentation during which a fall of eastern abutment and the large central arch was found along with only partial destruction of the west abutment."

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