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Epirus

Epirus Greece, is a geographical and historical region in southeastern Europe.  It lies between the Pindus Mountains and the Ionian Sea. The largest city in Epirus is Ioannina. A rugged and mountainous region, Epirus was the north-west area of ancient Greece. It was inhabited by the Greek tribes of the Chaonians, Molossians, and Thesprotians, and home to the sanctuary of Dodona, the oldest ancient Greek oracle, and the most prestigious one after Delphi. Unified into a single state in 370 BC by the Aeacidae dynasty, Epirus achieved fame during the reign of Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose campaigns against Rome are the origin of the term "Pyrrhic victory". Epirus subsequently became part of the Roman Empire along with the rest of Greece in 146 BC, which was followed by the Byzantine Empire. Following the fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade, Epirus became the center of the Despotate of Epirus, one of the successor states to the Byzantine Empire. Conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. Following the Balkan Wars and World War I, southern Epirus became part of Greece, while northern Epirus became part of the newly created state of Albania. Unlike most other Greeks of the time, who lived in or around city-states such as Athens or Sparta, the Epirotes lived in small villages. Their region lay on the edge of the Greek world and was far from peaceful; for many centuries, it remained a frontier area contested with the Illyrian peoples. However, Epirus had a far greater religious significance than might have been expected given its geographical remoteness, due to the presence of the shrine and oracle at Dodona - regarded as second only to the more famous oracle at Delphi. The Epirotes seem to have initially been regarded with some disdain by the Greeks of the south. The historian Thucydides describes them as "barbarians" and the only Epirotes regarded as truly Greek were the Aeacidae, who claimed to be descended from Neoptolemus, son of Achilles. The Aeacidae established a state in Epirus from about 370 BC onwards, expanding their power at the expense of rival tribes. They allied themselves with the increasingly powerful kingdom of Macedon and in 359 BC, princess Olympias, niece of Arybbas of Epirus, married King Philip II of Macedon. She was to become the mother of Alexander the Great. In the 3rd century BC Epirus remained a substantial power, unified under the auspices of the Epirote League as a federal state with its own parliament (synedrion). Epirus fell to Rome in 167 BC, 150,000 of its inhabitants were enslaved and the region was so thoroughly plundered that it took 500 years for central Epirus to recover fully. The history of Epirus is unbelievably rich. You’ll seek it out at the magnificent archaeological site of Dodoni with its famous ancient theatre, at Roman Nikopolis and at the Oracle at Efyra, renowned in antiquity. You’ll meet it also in Ioannina with its castle, Byzantine museum of Its Kale, eight Byzantine and post-Byzantine monasteries on the Island in the Lake. Monasteries abound in the Zagorohoria, too, with Agios Ioannis Rangovos and Agia Paraskevi being the most noteworthy.  The pastoral heritage of Epirus translates to a heavy preponderance of meat and dairy products. Every place is a culinary destination in its own right, with its own speciality. In Epirus the people seem to blend in with the land. You’ll meet a different Greece at this crossroads of civilisations and landscapes in Western Greece, between the Pindos mountain range and the Ionian Sea. The destinations are many and varied, creating a wide range of options for holidays all year round. EPIRUS is WAITING for you.


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