Ο τοπικός πολιτισμός της περιοχής των Τζουμέρκων
Υπόμνημα:

Stone Structures Related to Water

The second cultural route is entitled Stone Structures Related to Water. It consists of a cultural trail that introduces the visitor to the world of pre-industrial society, its economy and technology as he or she treks along it. The route’s central theme is based on craft creations built for best use of water power (e.g. mills, water basins, fountains, springs, sources and waterfalls) as well as the structures that bridge opposite riverbanks in order to facilitate communication exchanges, i.e the stone bridges. This route essentially shows the relationship that pre-industrial societies established with the natural environment as well as the way in which they utilised resources to ensure their survival and continuity. This route introduces the visitor to the dialectical relationship between man and nature expressed through man’s humble use of water and other natural resources (i.e. stone).

In the Tzoumerka region the abundance of water is the main ingredient and feature in this mountainous countryside. Furthermore for the people of Tzoumerka, the two major rivers, Arachthos and Achelous, mark the boundaries of the region. In addition, large and smaller rivers (e.g. Chrousia, Kalarrytikos, Matsoukiotikos) as well as springs and waterfalls are reference points that serve to identify places, activities and relationships. Along these waters the inhabitants created processing structures and models that operated with water power (water basins, watermills) in order to ensure their survival and self-sufficiency. Alongside they built other structures related to water such as the bridges that connect riverbanks and permit communication exchanges. The folk people made Saint Paraskevi the holy person that sanctifies, protects and manages water resources, distributing these in such a way that allows all members of the community and beyond the possibility to use valuable resources. It is known that most watermills, water basins and the regions’ springs were owned by Monasteries, Churches and other religious places of worship. These were also dedicated to the Patron Saint of the Waters. Saint Paraskevi is worshiped separately in most settlements of Tzoumerka. The cultural route includes the places of devotion to Saint Paraskevi (i.e. Churches, Monasteries) who  culturally defined and promoted the egalitarian management and use of water resources.

The region’s bridges are almost part of a separate cultural capital. In the past the local population’s survival absolutely depended on the construction of bridges. They’d bridge the banks of the raging river, allowing mobility among the local population and the transportation of herds and products, while also establishing vital commercial activity. The bridge is a miraculous intervention of the hinterland man. It serves as a symbol of communication and permits cooperation between societies and neighboring communities. Stories from different eras have been narrated on the evolution of bridges and the vital role they played.

Benefactors for the construction of bridges and other handcrafted structures were affluent people from the region, or religious institutions, or community members themselves directly got involved. Every individual’s financial situation was analogous to his or her contribution. In any case, it was strongly ensured that proper management was in order so that the whole community could benefit. This was especially the case when the building works were financed by the Church.

We recommend that visitors take 2 to 4 days to complete the route. Most of the route’s settlements include hospitable accommodation, local produce and food.

This cultural route is split into the following sub-routes and in available in pdf:
W1: The Bridge of Tsimovo and the ruins of the Old Bridge of Tsimovo in Koutselio
W2: The Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevi in Houliarades
W3: The Watermill, Water Basin and Saint John’s Bridge
W4: The Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevi in Palaiochori and the Bridge of Papastathi
W5: The Old Mills Complex in Syrrako
W6: The Bridge of Kouiasa on the Kouiasa site
W7: Saint Paraskevi Church, the Bridge of Stafyla and the Holy Monastery of Vyliza in Matsouki
W8: The Watermill at Cristoi
W9: The Arapis Fountain, The Holy Church of Saint Paraskevi and the Complex of Craft Structures in Pramanta
W10: The Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevi in Melissourgoi
W11: The Watermill and Water Basin in Agnanta
W12: The Watermills and Water Basins in Katarakti
W13: The Watermill in the Sgara settlement and the Bridge of Plaka
W14: The Holy Church of Saint Paraskevi in Ampelochori
W15: The Bridge of Politsa
W16: Saint Paraskevi Church in Patero, Fortosi