Ο τοπικός πολιτισμός της περιοχής των Τζουμέρκων
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Ethnic groups

According to G.De.Vos [1] an ethnic identity consists of a group’s subjective, symbolic or emblematic use of any cultural aspect. Cultural differences lead to distinct experiences which in turn lead to distinct approaches that define a region’s wealth. According to Barth [2] we find ourselves confronted with the phenomenon of ethnic boundaries that separate one group from the others. For example, the Βλαχοχώρια (Vlachohoria) of Tzoumerka which consist of the Syrrako Kallarytes, Matsouki, Vathipedo and Palaiochori settlements define a cultural union. This cluster of settlements integrates its own distinct ethnic characteristics into a network of economic and commercial activities that have emerged from previous centuries. The presence of these populations is recorded through local family names and the events that defined their customary and social life.

Historically, vlach-speaking populations, were established in the Tzoumerka region as early as the 15th century. When the Ottomans occupied the winter pastures of Thessaly the locals abandoned the area and eventually created the first settlements of the Tzoumerka region. But once Epirus was occupied the communities of Matsouki, Syrrako and Kalarrytes signed a treaty with the Ottomans (1480) who granted them privileges because of their settlements’ strategic location. The residents of these areas were under the protection of Valide Sultan and benefitted from a preferential tax system. During the 18th-19th centuries these communities would prosper enormously. They would develop an economic system that integrated livestock into commercial activities all the while establishing close relationships and interdependent links with the urban centers of the Ottoman Empire and the West.