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Monodendri Ioannina: Great natural beauty and breathtaking view

Monodendri, Ioannina


Monodendri is one of the famous Zagori villages and belongs to the Municipality of Central Zagori. Built at an altitude of 1,060 meters, just 39 km. from the city of Ioannina offers unique views of the slopes of Tymfi and Astraka.

Its name probably comes from a big tree that it was in the village until 1840. Until 1753 it was a community with three neighborhoods (Vitsa, Ano Machalas, St. George), which later formed the modern village.

Monodendri is located in a prominent position as it has easy access to the gorge of Vikos and the stone towers of Oxia to the left of the village, composing a landscape of rare and fabulous beauty.

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Monodendri experienced great economic and commercial peak in 18th and 19th century and were erected many churches, schools and mansions from their benefactors. The village is the birthplace of the national benefactors of Greece Manthos and Georgios Rizaris.

Rizari brothers were merchants with base in Russia, they gave a lot of money in the liberation struggle of the country and provided their property for the establishment and operation of Rizarios Church School. With money from the legacy of the brothers Rizari, today it operates the handicraft school where you can view or buy beautiful textiles and embroideries.

Monodendri has also Rizarios Exhibition Centre which hosts significant international art exhibitions such as Manos, Bresson, Boissonas and others. Today at the home of Rizari brothers, it is housed the elementary school with the busts of the benefactors contempating the ridges of Tymfi.

From the village of Monodendri comes the great teacher of the Nation Athanasios Psalidas (1767-1829).

Monodendri is one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori with unique views and attracts many visitors every year. It is one of the first and oldest villages of Zagori which were developed touristically and now have many tasteful guesthouses and hotels that provide a high level of service for a comfortable and pleasant stay.

Characteristic stone streets, stone houses and mansions will impress you with their famous local architecture and they will revive past times. The whole village is evenly built with gray stone. In the taverns and restaurants of Monodendri you can find local traditional food and of course the famous pies.

From Monodendri starts the path that leads you through the Vikos Gorge and Voidomatis springs, after an enjoyable trip. The village is the starting point for the Vikos gorge but also for many hiking and walking trails.

Monodendri deservedly claims a position of one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori and not unjustly, as it offers a landscape of unparalleled natural beauty and breathtaking views!

Regional Flavours & Products

In Monodendri and in all villages of Zagori you will find rich and delicious dishes, traditional dishes such as the famous Zagori pies all made with fresh local ingredients. The traditional flavors of Zagori satisfy even the most demanding visitor.

Try the local meat cooked in a pot, lamb in a pot, pompari, Easter crumbs, fried pork, kontosouvli, ewe grilled, baked beans, briam. Of course it would be a great omission not to try some of the famous Zagori Pies like flour pie or zymaropita, spinach pie, milk pie, nettle pie, gkizopita, pumpkin pie, frumenty pie, chicken pie, cheese, mushroom and almond pie, baklava, pancakes and apple in the oven. You can accompany your meal with locally produced wine, fine raki or ouzo.

From Monodendri and other Zagori villages you can buy dairy products, chestnuts, apples, walnuts, honey, mushrooms, sweets, jams, pickles, local meats and folk art.

Cultural events

Monodendri made many cultural events during the summer months as theater and concerts. Monodendri made many cultural events during the summer months as theater and concerts.
– Feast of Agia Paraskevi on July 26th.

Monodendri Attractions

Vikos Gorge: The masterpiece of nature, Vikos Gorge, will cause you awe and you will admire the wild majestic scenery combined with the views that it offers. Vikos Gorge crosses the western and central Zagori starting at Vikos village and ending in the village Kipi. The gorge has a length of 12 km and holds Guiness record as the gorge with the smallest opening in the world – just 1.100 meters; and with a depth of over 900 meters.

The descent into the gorge is via trails which start from some villages such as Monodendri, Vitsa, Vikos, Mikro and Megalo Papigo. The view from some points like Vardeto village from Oxia place is magnificent.

It is actually a ravine in the bed of which Vikos River is flowing and in its end has its springs Voidomatis River. Vikos Gorge with Voidomatis River are at the heart of the National Park Vikos-Aoos. Vikos Gorge is one of the most popular tourists routes, lasting five hours for experienced teams, offering unique images.

Churches

– The Church of St. Athanasios dating from 1801 is located in the central square. The temple is of special architecture and it was restored at the expense of Rizari brothers. The church is basilica and features remarkable frescoes of the 19th century.

– A remarkable church is St. George of the 18th century with magnificent frescoes.

Monasteries

– The Holy Monastery of Agios Minas at the entrance of the cobbled path that leads to the heart of Monodendri. The monastery has magnificent art paintings made by painters Michael and his son Constantine in 1620. Thus the construction of the monastery is long before 1620. The iconostasis of the monastery is the most beautiful of Epirus and it was made in 1782.

– Over the Vikos Gorge, in a natural plateau is the monastery of Agia Paraskevi, perhaps one of the most beautiful monasteries in Greece. In 13th century some hermits living in caves found the image of St. Paraskevi in ​​a hollow of a tree. According to tradition, when the residents took the picture in the village, the picture returned after a while to its original position.

According to an inscription found there, the monastery was built in 1412 by the voivode Michael Theriano, when his ill daughter got well, which was attributed to the miraculous icon of Agia Paraskevi. The monastery is a basilica and has excellent frescoes of the 14th and 16th century. Remarkable are the icon of the Virgin and Christ, works of the 17th century and Lontza, an independent wooden cell hanging over the Vikos Gorge and served as a hideout and as an emergency exit.

Agia Paraskevi is celebrated on July 26th and it is the cathedral of Monodendri. From there the view is outstanding and breathtaking.

– In the route Monodendri – Oxia you will find the monastery of Prophet Elias. It is built on the ruins of an older temple in 1632. In this monastery they learned their first letters Gennadios and Markos Botsaris.

The Ancient Settlement of Molossos: Between Vitsa and Monodenri in Genitsari, the ancient settlement of Molossos was discovered in 1965. It is dating between 9th and 4th century BC and includes the settlement and two cemeteries.

In the cemetery of the village they were found 26 tombs of the 8th to 4th century and 151 tombs of 9th-4th century BC. The offerings in the graves were knives, swords, guns and spearheads in the male graves, while in the women’s graves were found jewelry, necklaces, rings etc. In the graves were also found Attic and Corinthian vases of the 6th-4th BC century and bronze utensils.

The Stone Towers of Oxia: At the left of the village there are the stone towers of Oxia and side caves in the rocks of the canyon that were shelter residents during the Ottoman period.

The National Park of Vikos-Aoos: It is located in Zagori, on the north of Ioannina and at the northeast borders of the National Park of Pindos – Valia Calda. It is a protected site of natural heritage that was declared a National Park in 1973. The area is part of the European network of protected areas Natura 2000 and is distinguished by the changes in the scenery: dense wooded areas sequence steep cliffs.

Within the boundaries of the park are some of the most important villages of Zagoria such as Monodendri, Mikro and Megalo Papigo and Vikos. Around the park there are the villages Aristi, Vitsa, Agios Minas, Vradeto, Kapesovo and Vrisochori.

The Park has an area of ​​122.250 hectares of which 34.120 hectares is the main core. The area is steep with high peaks with the highest that of Gamila at 2.497 meters in Tymfi. There are five endemic species unique in the world. Impressive is also the collection of the naturalist Kostas Lazarides who has collected 1.240 different plant species representing 96 of the 149 plant families. The collection can be admired at the natural history museum in Koukouli.

The Park has a rich fauna which includes 10 species of amphibians as the rare alpine triton, 21 reptile species, 130 bird species such as the endangered black stork and the golden eagle and 24 species of mammals such as bears, boars, deers etc. Vikos-Aoos include a very rare and extremely sensitive ecosystem so it is not allowed any human activity, except for browsing and recreation.

Surrounding Area

Tsepelovo: It is a beautiful village built at an altitude of 1,080 meters and it is 51 km from Ioannina. The village is known since the 16th century from the first school tha was built in 1700. In 1868, it was the capital of the Turkish authorities of Zagori. In Tsepelovo have survived the houses of the families Kentro, Papazoglou, Vazima and Tsavalas.

In the village you can visit the magnificent church of St. Nicholas is the parish church of the village. The church dates from 1708 and is an excellent example of ecclesiastical architecture of Epirus. Other churches located in the village are, the church of Kato Panagia and the church of the Assumption which is celebrated on August 15th with a big three-day festival.

Just outside the village is the monastery Rogovo dedicated to the memory of John the Baptist. The church is located after the buildings of the guest house and ancillary spaces and built by Pulcheria in the 11th century. The church was completely destroyed and on its foundations was built a new church in 1749, which has three-nave church, narthex and octagonal dome. In 1756 artists from Kapesovo decorated the church with gilded iconostasis and frescoes.

Koukouli: At the picturesque village of Koukouli you can admire the old school with the five taps, many mansions, the fountain of Mpasias- Manthos and the Church of the Assumption dating from 1788.

At Koukouli there is the Natural History Museum Lazaridis which hosts the rare collection of flora of the naturalist Kostas Lazarides. Also, you can see the stairs of Koukouli joining Kipi with the village and the Bridge of Kokori and Kalogeriko which are located between the villages of Kipi, Dilofo and Koukouli.

Kipi: The beautiful village of Kipi is the oldest settlement of Zagori and was the former capital of Zagori. It is built on a rocky hill and it is 39 km from Ioannina. Kipi is the village of the region and it is known from 1431. Paved streets, fountains, mansions, stone bridges and many attractions of Kipi will impress you.

In Kipi there is the Folklore Museum of Agapios Tolis and includes a rich folklore collection of 40.000 items of everyday life of the whole region of Zagori. The collection was collected with care by Agapios Tolis.

Some of the attractions you can admire in Kipi are, the church of St. Nicholas of 1779, the Monastery Baya 1841, the church of Agia Paraskevi and the bridges of Kokori, Lazaridis, Pitsoni, Mylos, Dovrous and Merissi. From Kipi starts Skala that joins Kipi with Koukouli.

Asprangeli: The mountain village Asprangeli is the first village of  Zagori that we met and it is the seat of the Central Zagori. It is built at an altitude of 990 meters on the slopes of Mitsikeli and is only 30 km from the city of Ioannina.

Ano & Kato Pedina: Ano Pedina is one of the oldest villages of Zagori, built at 900 meters above sea level. In the village you can visit the Labriadios School, the Monastery of Annunciation of 1793, the church of St. Demetrios of 1793 and the monastery of Agia Paraskevi of 1750.

Kato Pedina is built on the slopes of three hills and at its foot there is a plateau with six stone wells. The settlement is known since 1361. In Kato Pedina you can visit the monastery of the Archangels of 1591, the church of Saint Athanasius of the 18th century and the ancient tombs of the 11th and 12th century have been found at the place “Gortzia” and “Lakkia Spanos”.

Kapesovo: Kapesovo is amphitheatrically built on the edge of Messaria at 1.100 meters altitude. The village is 43 km from the city of Ioannina and it will impress you with its many beauties. Around the village are discovered traces of ancient wall, which bears witness to its history. You can admire the church of St. Nicholas in 1793, the church of the Assumption of the 18th century Mary.

In Kapesovo its worths a visit to Paschaleio School with the small folklore museum that has valuable and rare exhibits such as one of the 13 surviving copies of the Greek Maps of Rigas Ferraios. You can also see the impressive path with the 1.200 steps that connects the village Kapesovo with Vradeto.

Vitsa: The mansion village Vitsa is one of the largest villages of Zagori and belongs to the municipality of Central Zagori. Built at an altitude of 960 meters and 37 km from the city of Ioannina, Vitsa is a characteristic example of local architecture with many houses, churches and stone streets.

Dilofo: The mountain village Dilofo is built at an altitude of 880 meters and boasts some of the most beautiful mansions of Epirus. In Dilofo there is the tallest house of Zagori with a height of 13,5 meters and a large school of I. Anagnostopoulos.

Vradeto: Is the highest village of Zagori, built at an altitude of 1.340 meters. Behind the village is the mountain range of Tymfi and in the other three sides is the gorge of Vikos. The view fromVradeto is unique.

Activities Monodendri

Hiking

– Monodendri – Kipi through the canyon bed of Vikos: A very beautiful route with many attractions. The duration is 2 hours and 30 minutes.
– Monodendri – Vikos and Monodendri – Papigo: A very beautiful route with many attractions. From Monodendri there is a marked path leading to the bed of the stream gorge. The length of the route from Monodendri – Vikos is 6 hours and Monodendri – Papigo 6 hours and 30 minutes.
– Kipi – Tsepelovo through Vikaki: A very beautiful route with picturesque traditional villages and many attractions. The duration is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
From Monodendri passes the National Mountaineering Path O3, which descends to the Vikos Gorge and continues to Mikro Papigo.

How to get there

Monodendri is 39 km from Ioannina.

From Athens you can reach Zagori via Patras and Rio Antirio. After about 20 km from Ioannina you will meet the first villages of Central or East Zagori. The distance is 445 km and the journey takes about six hours.

From Patras you get to Zagori via Rio – Antirio. The distance is 236 km.

From Thessaloniki you can get to Zagori via Egnatia Odos in Ioannina. The distance is 370 km. You can also arrive from the Egnatia Motorway via Grevena.

From Metsovo after 40 km you will reach the first villages of East Zagori.

By car you can reach Zagori through the highway Kozani – Ioannina from Kalpaki or Metamorphosis (Karyes).

Daily bus itineraries from Athens, Patras, Thessaloniki, Arta, Preveza, Igoumenitsa to Ioannina and then there is a connection from the city of Ioannina by suburban bus to Zagori.

Monodendri Useful Telephone Numbers (Calling code for Greece 0030)

Municipality of East Zagori (Miliotades)
26560 31101
Post Office Tsepelovo
26530 81212
Municipality of Central Zagori (Asprangeli)
26533 60300, 26530 22536
Ioannina Forest Department
26510 26482
Municipality of Tymfi (Tsepelovo)
26530 81203
Greek National Tourist Organization Ioannina
26510 41142
Vovousa Community
26560 22843
Tourist Police Ioannina
26510 65922
Papigo Community
26530 41931
Hospital Ioannina
26510 80111
Asprangeli Clinic
26530 22551
Radio Taxi Ioannina
26510 46777
Aristi Clinic
26530 41180
Bus Station Ioannina
26510 26286
Grevenitis Clinic
26560 31201
Bus Station Athens
210 5148856
Tsepelovo Clinic
26530 81202
Bus Station Thessalonica
2310 595424
Police Station Kipi
26530 71606
Rizarios Exhibition Center
26530 71573
Police Station Tsepelovo
26530 81201
Rizarios Handicraft School
26530 71382
Police Station Aristi
 26530 41294
Alpine Zone (Activities)
 26510 23222

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