Southern Epirus (Ipiros) Page 1

click to see larger map greeceThe large village of Paramythia (whose name means 'consolation') has a population of around 3500. It is 38km east southeast of Igoumenitsa (see below). Scattered on the slopes below the steep western slopes of Mt. Korillas, in the eparchy of Souli (see below), its Turkish and Venetian names are corruptions of the name of a 4th century bishop, Donatos.

Above the town is a ruined Venetian kastro (fortress), built on Hellenic foundations. In 1941, British forces briefly held this town. Though advertised as a center for copper-working, there's just a couple of uninteresting metal shops in a very small bazaar surrounded by 1960s architecture (nothing to compare with Ioannina).

area mapThe river Akherontos, which flows to sea south of Parga, has its headwaters to the south of Paramythia. This was the mythical Acheron, the river of the underworld Its deep gorge, with precipitous sides, is certainly capable of suggesting the gloom of Hades. (If in the area visit the oracle of the dead one of the very earliest known Spiritualist scams going).

At Gliki, it enters the broad plain of Fanari, where it flows through swamps which never dry out, even in summer, these known to the ancients as the Acherousian Lake. Past Ephyra it flows into the sea at Ammoudhia on the Bay of Fanari. There' s a walking path through the gorge, which, after about an hour, heads north and enters the region of Souli, via a narrow pass. The scenery is quite stunning, and the walk takes about an hour and a half. The Castle of Souli stands on an isolated hill near the ruined village of Souli, 366meters above the river. This was one of the strongholds of the Souliots, a tribe of Christian Ipirots, with a fighting force of around 4000, which included women as well as men, who put up some fierce resistance to the Ottoman Turks. They struggled against the hegemony of the Ali Pasha from 1790 till 1803, when he finally took their main strongholds (but only at great cost to his own forces) and the Souliots retreated to the Ionian islands, returning to the mainland at the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1821, where they again resisted the Turks. One of them was Markos Botsaris, who defended Messolonghi. In 1823 they all emigrated to Kefallonia.

Ferries from Igoumanitsa & Preveza

The inland road to Preveza (due south along the coast from Igoumanitsa) from Paramythia is extremely scenic, passing through rich agricultural country with nice villages, and is the shortest route to Preveza, where one can get ferries to Athens when coming from Igoumenitsa on the coast to the north. Preveza has wonderful seafood restaurants and a charming port.

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