The village group of Zagorochoria in Mt. Pindos, northwestern Greece, have been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Located in the beautiful mountainous region of Epirus. Zagorochoria -or Zagori villages- is a complex of 46 picturesque villages with the most prominent of them being Megalo Papigo.
The inclusion of Zagorochoria to UNESCO’s World Heritage List was mainly due to the unique architecture of the stone houses and it was announced at the World Heritage Committee’s 45th session currently taking place in Riyadh.
In its listing description of the Mt. Pindos villages, UNESCO says, “Located in a remote rural landscape in northwestern Greece, small stone villages known as Zagorochoria extend along the western slopes of the northern part of the Pindus mountain range. These traditional villages, typically organized around a central square containing a plane tree and surrounded by sacred forests maintained by local communities, showcase a traditional architecture adapted to the mountain topography. A network of stone-arched bridges, stone cobbled paths, and stone staircases linking the villages formed a system that served as a political and social unit connecting the communities of the Voïdomatis River basin.”
“It is the first time that a cultural area of Greece that comprises an outstanding example of our modern cultural heritage is listed,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said. “All Greek listings so far are related to Ancient Greece or Byzantium,” she added.
Mendoni said that UNESCO “recognized the outstanding ecumenical value of the Zagorochoria (Zagori villages) architecture, as an excellent example of survival and mutual influence of the Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. It recognized the authenticity and integrity of the area as key ingredients in order to be included on the World Heritage List.”
The region has been historically difficult to access due to its mountainous terrain which likely contributed to its unique character.
The first evidence of human presence in the area is dated between 17,000 and 10,000 years ago.
.Important epipaleolithic artifacts have been unearthed from Kleidi Cave on the banks of Voidomatis river. In antiquity, the region of Zagori was inhabited by the Tymphaeans and formed a part of the ancient kingdom of the Molossians, a Greek tribe of Epirus that gained control over all of Epirus in classical times.
More information here.