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Columbia Hotel, London
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EVRITANIA

Bewitching scenery and an invigorating climate are the main features of Evritania prefecture.

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It is the most thickly wooded, best-watered region in Greece. There are so many fir trees in Evritania that you think you 're in the midst of a magnificent endless forest, and in fact the region has been nicknamed "The Switzerland of Greece" for this reason.

According to Homer, the first known inhabitants of northern Evritania were the Dolopes, who took part in the campaign against Troy. During the Byzantine era, the people of Evritania had the rare privileges of self-government and tax exemption. For this reason the northern part of the district was also called "Agrafa", (unwritten), because the residents were not listed in the Imperial tax registers. Its mountainous countryside also discouraged would-be conquerors.

Karpenissi, capital of the prefecture, is located at the foothills of Mt. Timfristos, at an altitude of 960 meters. It most probably owes its name to the maple trees that abounded in the area in the 12th century (Carpen = maple tree, Carpenis = land of maple trees). The clear atmosphere, the dry healthy climate, the plane trees, fir and chestnut forests make Karpenissi an ideal place for winter and summer holidays.

Among the town's most characteristic features are the workshops that produce handmade brass bells for animals. The tinkling of the bells being tested is a picturesque, melodious welcome.

When eating at a Karpenissi tavern, try the feta cheese roasted in wax paper and the local sausages, and before you leave buy some goat butter and cheese, chestnuts and walnuts. You will also be impressed by the lovely hand-woven fabrics made on traditional looms and the skillfully carved wooden objects on sale in the shops.

The church of Agia Triada, the Gorgianades and the site of Kefalovrisso are among the places in the vicinity we recommend that you visit.

Just 5 km. southwest of the capital, concluding one of the most beautiful drives, you come to Korishades, a village of well-preserved stone mansions. Here the Greek National Tourist Organization has recently renovated and opened several traditional homes as guesthouses. Not far away there are traces of ancient ruins, which have not yet been studied. Many scholars say that this was the ancient capital of Evritania Oichalia.

Next comes Mikro Horio, a marvelous place for a summer holiday, nestled in a small fir forest interspersed with apple, cherry and pear orchards. The view from here is magnificent. Megalo Horio lies nearby, situated in an equally lovely setting on the slopes of Kaliakouda, opposite Mt. Helidona. A little trip around the area will never be forgotten. At Klidi, a lush, majestic gorge, stands the Byzantine church of Agios Athanassios.

After a drive through trees alongside the Trikerioti River, you arrive at the stately monastery of the Virgin Proussiotissa, which possesses a miracle - working icon, is said to have been painted by St. Luke. The monastery church was built in 1754 and is full of remarkable icons, woodcarvings, sacred treasures and silver utensils. There is also a small museum in the monastery containing some personal mementoes of Karaiskakis, the Revolutionary hero.

On the 15th and 23rd of August, the monastery becomes a place of pilgrimage, attracting the devout from all over Greece.

Opposite the monastery stands the chapel of Agioi Pantes, decorated with old icons. Above it loom Karaiskakis' watchtowers.

The village of Proussos, 800 metres above sea level, is not only picturesque; it has an interesting cave, the Black Cave or "Apokleistra" as it is also called. Believed to have been the site of an oracle, the cave has two entrances, one in the village, the other some distance away.

East of Karpenissi, the road from the verdant village of Agios Nikolaos to Krikelo (1,120 m. alt.), which has a charming square with little cafes, passes through some especially beautiful, spruce filled scenery. Near Krikelo is historic Kokalia. Even though the road is no longer paved after Krikelo, it is well worth making the effort to get to Domnitsa, a village crowded with little churches containing superb wooden icon screens and icons. The region is full of wildlife - hare, partridge, woodcock, and if you are in luck, you may even spot a wild boar.

West of Karpenissi lies Anatoliki (Eastern) Frangista with Ditiki (Western) Frangista 4 km further on, a lush area with a wonderful climate. Here the little church of the Saviour (Sotir) is worth a visit; built in 1725, has its walls covered with byzantine frescoes.

From Ditiki Frangista the road leads north to the village of Granitsa, whose folk museum is well known.

The more intrepid will want to venture as far as Agrafa, a remote village encircled by thick spruce forests. If you like fishing, the Agrafiotis River is full of trout. All these mountain villages are "buried" under snow for many months of the year.

Continuing south on the road from Ditiki Frangista you reach the lake of Kremaston, the largest artificial lake in Greece, and from there to the prefecture of Aitoloakarnania.



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