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The Community of Papigo

Papigo is one of the 46 villages of the residential, cultural and historical unit of Zagori. The particular layout, the rich vegetation of the region and the unique ferocity of its landscape always draw a lot of visitors from Greece and abroad. Separated in two districts (mahalades), the Big and the Small, that are built at the foot of Astrakas under the imposing towers and the fabulous Drakolimni, Papigo has a tradition of exceptional hospitality and a particular way of maintaining the land-planning and cultural organisation of the local society.


The Community of Papigo remained autonomous after the administrative reformation of the law 2539/97 ("Kapodistria Law "). The community is governed by an administrative council constituted by the chairman and six members.

"The Communities of the Greeks"

In December 1997 the National Network of Cultural Tradition and Community Life of "the Communities of the Greeks" was created in Pilio, aiming at the preservation of the tradition of folk architecture and folk culture as well as at the gradual growth and protection of natural environment.
The Network includes six traditional settlements of our homeland: Ampelakia in Thessali, Makrynitsa in Pilio, Nimfeo in Florina, Ia in Santorini, Panormo in Tinos and Papigo in Zagorj.
The Network aspires to highlight the local, cultural and residential distinctiveness of the aforementioned communities and to point out that gradual growth and environmental protection are integral values of modern life.

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Papigo is in the north-east of Ioannina - latitude 039 N58, longitude 020 E44 - in a distance of 59 km.
The mountain range of Timfis, the crowns of which reach 2.497 m., dominates in the entire village shaping in the north the ravine of Aoos and in the south-west the imposing gorge of Vikos, with the river Voidomatis.
The Big Papigo is situated in an altitude of 900 m., the Small Papigo in an altitude of 980 m. and the distance between them is roughly 2 km.
Its extent is 34.131 hectares from which 150 are agricultural areas, 29.431 pasture lands, 800 forests, 300 waters and 3300 urban areas.
The 2001 inventory recorded 360 residents.


Throughout the years, Zagori has constituted one of the most remarkable and important historical, cultural and residential units of Greece. Today it includes 46 villages (Zagorohoria) protected by the Greek legislation. Historically, Zagori was separated into Eastern, Central and Western, but with the administrative reformation of " Kapodistria Law " it is now constituted by three Municipalities (Central Zagori, Timfis and Eastern Zagori) and two Communities (Papigo and Vovousa).
The villages of Zagori fully maintain their architectural style being, quiet impressively, harmoniously included in a rich natural environment which hosts unique species of rare flora and fauna and particular geological formations.

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Driving from Ioannina, on the National road Ioannina-Kozani, after Kalpaki, in the 38th km you turn right following the provincial road Metsovo - Aristi - Papigo. Total distance from Ioannina: 59 km (1 hour and 15 minutes, roughly)

  • from Athens (via Rio bridge): 495 km
  • from Thessalonici (via Kozani): 314 km


The long distance bus service of the Prefecture of Ioannina carries out itinerary to and from Papigo as follows:

  • Tuesday, at 05:30 and 14:30 from Ioannina to Papigo. At 07:00 and 16:00 from Papigo to Ioannina, (Once the bus reaches Papigo it waits for roughly 10 minutes and then returns to Ioannina)
  • Friday, at 05:30 and 14:30 from Ioannina to Papigo. At 07:00 and 16:00 from Papigo to Ioannina, (Once the bus reaches Papigo it waits for roughly 10 minutes and then returns to Ioannina)

The departure station in Ioannina is in Zosimadon 4 str. (This is also a departure point for the buses to Athens and Thessaloniki). In Papigo, the bus leaves from the square of Big Papigo. (It is should be noted that Big Papigo is the end station).
The itineraries are not always regular. For that reason it is necessary to contact the bus station in Ioannina for more information (Tel.: ++30 26510 26404, Monday - Friday, 07:30-14:30)
For Ticket Reservations(any destination) call: ++ 30 80111 484848.

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Astraka Mountaineering shelter

In "Radovoli", above the plateau of the lakes and in an altitude of 1950 m. the mountaineering shelter of Astraka is situated.
The shelter can host 52 persons and belongs to the Greek Federation of Mountaineering and Ascension (G.F.M.A.). It was built with the initiative of Ioannina E.O.S. and the Papigo mountaineering team in 1966. It is a base of operation for all the mountaineering and climbing routes to the crown of Timfis. In the spring of 2004 the second wing of shelter started functioning too.
During the summer months the shelter is open on a daily basis offering food, while in the winter it opens only through arrangement with the person in charge.
For information call Mr. George Rokas, who is in charge of the shelter: +30 6973 223100 or visit their site: Astraka-Tymfi Mountain Hut

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Papigo is surrounded by important historical places, with remarkable archaeological findings that signal the presence of man even from the Prehistoric Era. In the cave Klidi, in Voidomatis, the signs of human activity from the Prehistoric Era are obvious. There, many bone tools and firestone blades firestone blades were discovered. In Elafotopos there are case-shaped tombs of the late 3th century B.C. In Vitsa there is a prehistoric stockbreeding settlement (9th/8th century B.C. until the late 4th century B.C.). The camp of King Pirros in Kastraki of Agios Minas (Saint Minas) and the Kastraki above the village Vitsiko reveal the vivid and continuous human presence that was resumed by the presence of the Molossoi and the Romans until the beginnings of 6th century when the Slavic races settled in the area.
The first historical facts on Papigo were presented in the books by P. Aravantinos (1856), where one can find extensive reports on the older settlements and autonomy of Papigo, and by Ioannis Lampridis (1889), who reported on the churches of Agios Vlassios-built in 912- and on the church of Paliouri-built in 980. The oldest written report on Papigo is found in a golden bull of Andronikos II golden bull of Andronikos II of the year 1325 where the villages of Papigo, Elafotopos and Ano Pedina, are mentioned. During the 14th century, Papigo was an autonomous region and was one of the autonomous countries of the medieval Ipiros.
The "Country of Papigo", played an important role in the grapples of the Arcbishop of Ioannina, due to its strategic place and natural fortification. During these difficult times the local conflicts of feudal lords, the raids of Albanians, the descent of the Serbs and the first spread of the Turks were destroying Ipiros. The Turkish conquest found Papigo with a regime of a faddish military and administrative semi-autonomy. After 1430, the Turks the Turks in order to ensure dominance in the mountainous regions applied a policy of concession of privileges in communities or teams of communities that capitulated with them. Thus, up to the 17th century the entire Zagori constituted a self-governed federal region named "Kinon" or "Vilaeti of Zagori''. According to these privileges, Zagori was allocated autonomy and self-government with a superior ruler, the Vekili of Zagori the Vekili of Zagori, and had complete freedom in the implementation of religious duties. These privileges were maintained up to 1868 when they were suppressed.
After 1868, when the privileges are suppressed, the region began to be infested by gangs of robbers, something which had consequences both on the economic life and on the manpower given that this situation made most families of sovereigns, who were the main objective of robbers, leave Zagori. This period lasted until 1913, when the villages of Zagori and Papigo were released from the Turkish domination.
The contribution of the residents of the village was important during the World War II, when many lost their lives.

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The people

The difficult conditions of existence and the mountainous land were decisive factors leading to the development and preservation of Zagori until nowadays. Based on both the natural environment and on the needs of ever day life of the residents, the requirements that made people adapt to the needs of every era were created in this hard environment. Thus, the course of emigration emigration started scattering most of the population in every part of the world.
The men of Papigo, also following the path of emigration, prospered and embellished Papigo with rich houses and public buildings. They mostly emigrated to Romania and particularly to Tourno Severin, to Serbia as well as to America America. Those who stayed in the village created a dynamic society of farmers farmers, cattle-breeders, businessmen, schoolteachers and scientists. Important aid in the local population was also offered by the cattle-breeders Sarakatsanoi Sarakatsanoi, who settled in Papigo during the '30s and contributed both to economically and culturally.
Today, most residents work on tourism and a very small part of them works on the livestock farming. Since 1821 when the first reports are dated, the population of the two districts was 735 people. Later reports present 332 residents in 1927,.280 residents in 1940,.215 residents in 1961 1961, 160 residents in 1971.. residents in 1981,.183 residents in 1991 and 360 residents and 180 houses in 2001. Papigo is one of the few places in our country that during the '80s its population stared growing having doubled today.

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Even before the Turkish conquest of Zagori, local travellers were buying and sending books and were building schools and girls' schools. Papigo has a lot of benefactors and donors, more than 73. Micheal Anagnostopoulos, Diochno Ntaska, Micheal Polihroniou and Anastasios Zortovoulos were great benefactors of the village.


The school building of Big Papigo is next to the church of Agios Vlassios. It was erected in 1897 on the expenses of Micheal Polihroniou, as it is reported on a fixture plate in the courtyard.
Up until 1971 there were two schools in Small and Big Papigo. Today, there is only a primary school in Big Papigo.
The biggest contribution to its operation and economic survival was made by the benefactor of Papigo Micheal Anagnostopolos, who in 1888 founded in Papigo the "Kallinia" Schools, the sholarhio, two primary schools-one in Big and one in Small Papigo- and a kindergarten in the memory of his mother Kallini.
Anagnostopoulos's important library of 1200 volumes, which was transported from Boston to Papigo is accommodated today in the school building. Many of the volumes that the library originally had are preserved up until now, while some of them were destroyed during the war.

Micheal Anagnostopoulos

The great benefactor of Papigo, Micheal Anagnostopoulos Micheal Anagnostopoulos, widely known as Michael Anagnos, was born in Papigo in 07/11/1837 by very poor parents, Dimitrios and Kallina Anagnostopoulos. He finished primary school in Papigo and continued his studies in the Zosimea School Of Ioannina and in the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Athens. In 1861 he was acclaimed Dr. of Philosophy with the degree of "distinction". He worked as journalist and managing editor in the newspaper "Ethnofilakas", strongly supporting the Cretan Revolution.
In 1866 he met the phihellene Dr. Sammuel Hower, director of the Boston Institute of the Blind. And in 1867 he followed him to America, where as his assistant he taught Latin in the Institute. In 1876 he became the director of the Institute and a specialised teacher, since he came up with the embossed alphabet system for the blind and founded the model kindergarten model kindergarten and the special printing-house.
Micheal Anagnostopoulos died in Tourno Severin of Romania, in 29/06/1906. According to his will, his bequest is managed by a committee of men of Papigo. With the money of his bequest the school in Papigo has been functioning and the Agricultural Faculty in Konitsa has been built. With the income raised from the buildings remarkable works are done in the community every year.
Important scholars, artists and scientists come from Papigo: M. Anagnostopoulos (1837 - 1906), literature master and director of the Perkins Boston Institute of the Blind, Zaharias Sardelis (1830 - 1913), literature master, journalist and editor of the newspaper "IRIS" in Bucharest, George Anagnostopoulos (1867 - 1952), professor of linguistics in the University Athens and the Hristodoulos Tsiotidis (1838 - 1894), consul of Greece in Bucharest.

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Fairs in Papigo

In Zagori, from the Ottoman domination until today, each village has had its own fair with which it usually celebrates its protector saint. In Big Papigo the fair takes place on the 20th of July, the celebration day of Agios Ilias, and in Small Papigo on the 8th of September, the celebration day of Panagia of Paliouri. Some years ago more fairs were held: the one of Agia Kiriaki (7 July), the one of Agios Panteleimonas (27 July) and the one of the Taxiarches (8 November).

Today many people attend the fair of the Big Papigo which maintains its traditional "colour". Those who visit Papigo on the 20th of July have the chance of enjoying traditional music, chosen titbits and above all good company.

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National Park

The mountainous ecosystems of N. Pindos for centuries have contributed to the survival of man and defined the type of activities developed in the area.

The preservation of these ecosystems, in combination with the need for gradual development and compatible human activities, resulted in the foundation of the National Park of Northern Pindos and of the Institution of Management by the state in July 2002.

The National Park of Northern Pindos includes four distinguishable anthropogeographical units: Zagori, Konitsa, Metsovo and the western villages of the prefecture of Grevena. Its extent is roughly 2.200 km2 and incorporates the two already existing national woodlands, Vikos - Aoos and Pindos, with the rest of the area.

In the National Park, depending on the areas of protection, human activity is allowed and traditional and outdoorsy activities, light tourism and environmental education are encouraged.

Given that the region is large it was necessary to set certain protection zones that incorporate the needs of environmental protection as well as the productive activities. These zones are the areas of nature protection, the areas of preservation of biotopes and species, the regions of the National Park and the peripheral zone.

It should it is noted here that Papigo and the village Vikos are the only villages of National Park, that are located within the area of environmental protection.


In lower altitudes the climatic type is continental with hot summers and rainy winters.

From the settlement of Papigo and in higher altitudes the mountainous climatic type prevails with cool summers accompanied by local rains and hard winters with a lot of snowfalls, frosts and a lot of rains from mid autumn to mid spring.

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Fauna and Vegetation


The fauna of the region is rich too. It should be noted here that almost all the rare birds and mammals of the mountains that face the dander of extinction are hosted in the woodland surrounding Papigo. It is estimated that in the wider region 133 species of birds, 24 species of mammals, 10 species of amphibians and 21 species of reptiles live.

In the region there are also many species of birds: the vasilaetos (aquila heliaca), the hrisaetos (aquila chrysaetos), the asproparis the asproparis (neophron percnopterus), the fidaetos (circaetus gallicus), the maurotsiklitara (dryocopus Martius), the rock partridge (alectoris graeca), the wood pigeon (columba palumbus), the screech owl (otus scops), the vounostahara (arus melba), the hionada (eremophila alpestris), the martin (ptynoprogne rupestris), the maurolemis (saxicola tortouata), the blackbird (turbus merula), etc. Most bird species are rare and thus protected with the Directive 85/411/EEO of the European Union.

There is also a big variety of mammals that live in the area: the hedgehog (erinaceus concolov), the wild goat the wild goat (rupicapra rupicapra), the hare (lepus capensis), the squirrel (sciupus vulgaris lilaeus), the weasel (mustela nivalis), the marten (Marches foina), the badger (meles meles), the wolf the wolf (canis lupus), the fox (vulpes vulpes), the bear the bear (ursus arctos), the wildcat (felis sylvestris) and the roe deer (capreolis capreolis).

Finally one can find amphibians like the triton the triton (triturus alpestris and cristatus), the salamander (salamandra salamandra), the bullfrog (rana temporaria) and the colour toad (bufo bufo).


The area round Papigo hosts more than 50 species of forest trees and thicket.

A big part is covered by the evergreen hard-leafed thickets, the most common types being the aria (Quercus ilex) and the holly (Quercus coccifera). Those together with the melia (Fraxinus ornus), filiki (Phillyrea latifolia), shino (Pistacia terebinthus), gavro (Carpinus orientalis), koumaria (Arburus unedol) and oak tree (Quercus frainetto, Quercus pubescens, Quercus dalechampii, Quercus cerris and Quercus trojana), constitute the biggest part of the vegetation in Papigo.

There are also the cedar (Juniperus communis and Juniperus oxycedrus) and the mountainous cedar (Juniperus foetidissima), found on the slopes of Lapatos. One can also find the black pine (Pinus nigra) and the fir (Abies borisii - regis).

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Flora and Medicinal Plants


In the Alpine plateaux in Vikos and in the area surrounding Papigo, more than 1700 species and subspecies of flora have been recorded. Five endemic types have been discovered that cannot be found anywhere elsewhere in the world. These are the following: silene intonsa, saxifraga biflora epirotica, calium sacrorum, hieracium dasycrapedum and hieracium necopium.

Particularly rare and protected types in Vikos and in the wider region of the woodland are the viola (viola) with 12 types, the geranium (geranium) with 18 types, the vernicle (veronica) with 16 types, the canterbury bell (campanula) with 14 types, the sedo sedo (sedum) with 14 types and the saxifraga with 13 types.

The Lilly Lilly (lillium - chalkedonicum and heldraigchi) with its red colour, the lilly (martagon) with its pink colour and the white lilly (candidum), are a unique chromatic presence in the woodland.

The rare flora is supplemented by ramonta the Serbian ramonta the Serbian (ramoda serbica) with its pink - purple colours, iris the Germaninc of blue colour, and the white narcissus white narcissus (narcissus poeticus) as well as the many types of the rare orhchid orhchid (ophrys sphegodes, orchis simian, dactyloriza sambucina).

Medicinal plants

From the Byzantium era to nowadays Vikos and the wider region has been known for its medicinal plants, the therapeutic attributes of which are known worldwide. The residents of the nearby villages collected these plants and made various quackeries. Some of them became commercial doctors, named Vikogiatroi or Kompogiannites, because they kept their herbs tied up in knots of handkerchiefs.

These doctors became known in all the Ottoman Empire and many of them settled permanently in Istamboul. Famous Vikogiatroi of Papigo were Cornelio and Zortovoulos.

Today, more than 250 medicinal types have been recorded in the wider region with the mountain tea mountain tea, the mint the mint, the sow thistle, the sage, the conium and the ellevoro ellevoro being the most characteristic.

For more information, you can visit the "Data Base on the Medicinal Plants of the National Woodland of Vikos - Aoos" of the Laboratory of Botany, Department of Biological Applications and Technologies, University of Ioannina. The data base is also available to the public in the Papigo Information Centre of WWF Hellas.

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The main rocks of the wider region are limestone and flysh. Geotectonically the region belongs to the area of Pindos. The limestone was formated millions of years ago. In the region there is mostly black limestone, which shapes many caves, rock roofs and underground galleries. The mountains of the region are characterized by big vertical rocky surfaces, steep slopes and impressive geological formations. The Alpine regions of Gamila bear evident the marks of the Ice Age.


Round Papigo and particularly in the mountains Gamila and Astraka there are Caves like:

"Provatina", (depth: 408 m.)

One of the biggest vertical Caves in the world. The gulf was created by combined action of water and ice. In the depth of 180 m. there is a small loft with ice that never melts. There is also one room with a small lake and commemorative signs from Greek and foreign missions on the walls.
In particular, the gulf was located for the first time in 1965 by English speleologists (Cambridge University Caving Club). The first who tried to go down with rope-ladder was the English Jim Eyre (in 1966), who reached in a depth of 156 m, where he run out of rope-ladders. The following year, English soldiers used a mechanically-driven winch and basket and a wire rope for the descent. Their effort took place in two phases, first, up to the depth of 177 m. in the summer of 1967 and finally up to the bottom of the cavern (408 m.) in 1968.
The first speleologists who made an attempt with clearly speleological techniques were Frenches P. Sombardier and F. Poggia in 1976. From that time onwards many missions both foreign and Greek have gone down in the cavern. The first Greek that went down was Kostas Zoupis, a founding member of the Greek Speleological Expeditionary Group (G. SP.E.G), and member of ESE at the time. Many Greek and even more foreign missions visit each year the magnificent gulf. In 1998, the Speleological Hellenic Athletic Club tried to continue the exploration and attempted an ascent which did not attribute more depth but resulted in the discovery of some more small rooms.

The "Epos Chasm" (depth of 451 m.)

A scaled gulf, its creation is different from that of the "Provatina". The critical element is the existence of water since the cavern functions as a sink hole draining waters from the plateau. There are two different routes that one can follow, "Epos I", with a depth of 451 m. and "Epos II", with a depth of 340 m.

The "Hole of the Bride" (depth: 340 m)

This cavern, like the ''Epos Chasm'' functions as a sink hole since it collects waters from the region. It is constituted by three big Caves (p150 m., p50 m, p120 m) and two small ones (p10 m. and p10 m.) which in the end are so narrow that you can hardly pass through.

The "Gkailotripa" (depth of 200 m.)

Recently, a new gulf, "the Hole of the carrion buzzard " (depth: 610 m.), was discovered by French speleologists and speleologists of the Speleological Hellenic Athletic Club. This exploration is continued up to now.


Gamila Gamila (or "Papigos", as it was previously named) is the most imposing mountain in the range of N. Pindos. It is a mountain that combines two different aspects, something that makes it stand out from many mountains of Greece. Its northern side is characterised by bluffs that are cut across by deep ravines as well as impressive slopes that strikingly resemble those of the Alps. In the southern side on the other hand, there are gradually lower tops shaping a big plateau. In the north, between the mountains Trapezitsa and Kamila, there is the valley of Aoos, with the homonymous famous river running through it. The ravine of Vikos and the river Voidomatis separate the valley from the mountains Stouro and Grampala in the west. In the east another valley, the Giftokampos valley separates it from the mountains Koutsa, Koziakos and Koukourountzo. The crowns of the mountain Kamila succeed one another from the west to the east. These are: Koula (1560m.), Lapatos (2251m.), Astraka Astraka (2436m.) ,Ploskos (2377m.), Gamila (2497m.), Kamila II (2480m.), Karteros (2478m.), Big Litharia (2467m.), Tsouka rosa Tsouka rosa (2376m.) , Samari (296m.), Krevati (2.375 m.), Gkoura (2466m.), Korifoula (2157m.), Kazarma (1803m.) and finally Kalogeros (2122m.). The rock of Kamila does not allow the existence of fountains, mainly in the Alpine area. In the forests of the mountain however there are many fountains. Generally water is hard to find, except for the season when the snow melts and many steams and small lakes are created. Apart from the lake Drakolimni, some other smaller lakes are Xeroloutsa, Rjzina, Rompozi and that of Agios Ilias. The mountain Gamila is characterised by big vertical rocky surfaces, steep slopes and impressive geological formations. The rocks found in the mountain are hard, concrete calcareous ones that fall off and flysh, prone to erosion.
The alpine regions of Gamila, bear evident marks of the Ice Age.

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Papigo has been an organised settlement since the late 16th century, when all the residents of the nearby settlements (Kalivia, Nifitsa, Pogdora, Klinovo, Lipsesi, Agia Kiriaki, Agia Paraskevi) moved to Big Papigo, which, according to Lampridis, had 230 families. The settlements of both Big and Small Papigo adopt the arrangement followed by all the settlements of Zagori; They are organised round a centre, called Mesohori, which has a square, with a platan and around this square all the public services are gathered: the school, the church, the cafe and the fountain.
Round Mesohori houses of defensive style, dense layout, tall yard walls and robust wooden gates are built.
A complex system of cobbled roads and paths begins from Mesohori reaching the work places: fields, the pasture lands, the forests, even the nearby settlements.

Based on their architecture the houses of Zagori are organised in four periods:

  • 1600 - 1700. Small rectangular buildings with elevated ground floor, low internal spaces, doors and small vaulted windows. The hearth was found in the middle of the building and the scale is exterior.
  • 1700 - 1750. The buildings were taller than those of the previous period with bigger windows and internal balcony. Each floor had four rooms, kitchen, living room (mantzato) and reception room (ontas).
  • 1750 - 1850. The buildings were even taller and more comfortable, with wooden rooms, where there was a wardrobe. The ceilings and reception rooms were decorated with splendid murals.
  • 1850 - 1880. Big two or even three-storied houses were built with big reception rooms, comfortable living rooms and auxiliary spaces, cellars and food deposits (mpimtses), with splendid decor both on the ceilings and walls.

Most of the old houses of Papigo were built during the last two periods. The craftsmen that built the houses were mainly from the villages of Konitsa and Tzoumerka and they were organised in guilds (crowds). The painters that decorated the walls were mainly from the village Hionades of Konitsa.
In most villages of Zagori and in many villages of Papigo, a large number of houses with folk murals in their interior are preserved up to our days.

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Due to the terrain of the ground, the frequent rainfalls and the snowfalls that created a lot of streams and rivers, the residents of Zagori were forced to create an infrastructure of streets and bridges that facilitated access to the villages and transport. Paved roads (cobbled roads), scales, paths and more than 100 bridges, signal life in Zagori.

In Papigo there are two stone bridges. The biggest one is between Small and Big Papigo, in the position of La'kkos. It is has one stringer and connects the two settlements with the old path. It was built in 1854 by Anastasios Lolis.

The other bridge in Mpoulougounsa is much smaller and is next to the blacktop road just before the turn on the way to Big Papigo.

The stringered concrete bridge above the river Voidomatis was built with the money of the local people in 1923 and connects Aristi with Papigo.


The need for water supply of two districts of Papigo combined with the taste of the residents enriched the village with many stone-made fountains.
The most famous of all is the fountain "Avragonia" in Small Papigo which became known in all the country through the folk songs. Other elaborate stone fountains can be found in Big Papigo, "Pigadia" and "Siopoto".

In Small Papigo there are also the ''Aidonovrisi'' (''Nightingale fountain'') surrounded by green and the fountain "Kostaki" in the centre of the settlement.

Other famous fountains are the ones on the path to Vikos and the ones on the way to the shelter: Antalaki (at 1250 m.), Trafos (at 1550 m.), Krouna (at 1750 m.) and Houhlakas at 1300 m. which supplies the village with water.

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Agios Vlassios (Saint Vlassios)

In Mesohori of Papigo there is the lordly temple of Agios Vlassios which was built in 1852, in the place of the older temple, built in 912. From the old church only a magnificent piece, the carved temple, which is kept in the Holy Bank is preserved today. The church is dedicated to Agios Vlassios, Agios Dimitrios and Agia Triada (Saint Trinity) and has an exceptional temple, rare books, precious holy utensils and rich internal decor. In a distance of few metres from the church, its imposing belfry (1887) stands at a height of 15 m. It is hex-shaped and resembles a tower.

Agios Georgios (Saint George)

The church was built in 1774 and renovated in 1880. It has a remarkable internal decor with rare pictures and Gospels. The belfry of Agios Georgios is parallelogram, with a height of ten metres and decorated with carved black plates portraying various saints. It was built around 1830, as mentioned in a fixture plate. Agia Paraskevi (Saint Paraskevi) Based on oral testimonies and preserved pictures, this church is considered one of the oldest churches of the village. It is not known when it was built. On its eastern side there is a stone with the year carved 1898 on it.

Panagia (Virgin Mary)

One of the most beautiful small churches of village is the church of Virgin Mary, located in the south-east of the district Siopoto. It is decorated with exceptional hagiographies. On its eastern side the year 1774 is carved.

Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas)

It is the church next to the Cemetery of Big Papigo, in the south of the village.


The only church in Small Papigo is the church of Taxiarches that has been characterized as preservable by the Ministry of Culture. Its temple is very old with elaborate decor and unique pictures. The date of construction is unknown. It is estimated that it was built in the 18th century. According to testimonies and written texts, it is proved that the church of Taxiarches was previously a monastery.

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Country Churches

Panagia of Paliouri (Virgin Mary of Paliouri)

The small and austere country church of Panagia of Paliouri, dedicated to the birth of Virgin Mary, is situated in the location Lakkos, in a splendid area full of hollies. According to tradition and I. Lampridis, it was built in 980 in the place of the older church. The 8th of September, when the fair of Panagia of Paliouri takes place, is a celebration day for Small Papigo too.

Agios Athanassios (Saint Athanassios)

Agios Athanassios is situated in a distance of five minutes outside the village, in the district Mpounar. On the Eastern side of the church there is a carved stone with the year 1769, which is likely to be the year of construction.

Agios Ilias (Saint Ilias)

In a distance of 15 minutes outside the village, on a verdurus hill, there is the church of Agios Ilias. At this place the village fair used to take place- on the 20th of July- but nowadays it takes place in Mesohori. The year of construction is not known.

Agia Kiriaki (Saint Kiriaki)

The church of Saint Kiriaki, built with dry-wall, is located under the slopes of Tsouka (Lapatos) and in a distance of an hour and a half from the village. It is a shelter and a worship space for shepherds that graze their sheep in Lapato, Agathi and Koula.

Agioi Apostoloi (Saints Apostoloi)

Agioi Apostoloi are situated in the position Pigadia where the homonymous fountains are too. The church was renovated in 1904, according to the infrared sign.

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Papigo with its natural beauty, architectural particularity and rich cultural heritage is a place attracting alternative tourism. Ecotourism, religious, cultural, athletic, educational and mountainous tourism attract many visitors all the time. Papigo is famous for its unique stone-made country churches. In the west of Big Papigo, on an impressive hill verdant with oaks, the country church of Agios Hristoforos (Saint Hristoforos) stands. In Small Papigo one can find the country churches of Agios Trifonas (Saint Trifonas), on the path leading to the shelter, and Agios Panteleimonas (Saint Panteleimonas) with the distinct fountain by its base, the so-called "Avragonio".

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The fabulous Drakolimi lake is located in an altitude of 2.050 metres, between the tops Lapatos and Ploskos. It was named after a dragon, a mythical creature, which was said to live in its waters and was in permanent conflict with the dragon living in Smolika.

During the years of his dominance, Ali Pasas tried to reach the lake and enjoy a boating on its crystal waters. However, one unanticipated summer rain with strong hail, resulted in many of his men losing their lives and a lot of boats being destroyed. After this the almighty Pasas was forced to postpone his plan.

Many years ago, it was believed that Drakolimni is a very deep lake, the waters of which poured into Aoos. Later expeditions proved that its depth does not exceed 5m. In its waters the Alpine Tritonas (tritus alpestris) lives, an amphibian of 8 - 12 m. length with grey - blackbrown ridge and red spotless abdomen. It is considered a rare species and is protected by the Greek and European legislation.

Vikos Gorge

One of the biggest, deeper and most impressive gorges of the world is the gorge of Vikos, with vertical geological formations, big variety and alternation of different ecosystems as well as banquet of flora and fauna. It constitutes one of the few remaining havens of wild life in Europe.

The gorge of Vikos is situated in the south-west of Kamila, in an altitude between 550 and 1778 m.. It has a length of roughly 24 km and an average depth of 900 m.. The beginning of the gorge is near the village Tsepelovo. Many think that its beginning is near the village Monodentri, something which is wrong as this assumption fails to include the rest of the gorge, the famous Vikaki (Little Vikos). The end of gorge is behind the village Vitsiko, near the bridge of Aristi of Papigo.

The direction of the gorge is from to south-east to north-west. Somewhere in the middle it is joined with another big gorge, the Big Lakkos, considered to be its ramification, and with the gorge of Mezaria ending to the village Vradeto. The river Voidomatis and its sources are in the ravine.

The rock of Vikos is mainly limestone with local layers of flishi. The tetartogeneis shapings are impressive with alluvial rivers, as in the Voj!domati and kalluvia limestones, that were created by depositions of old glaciers.

Its climate is continental - hot summers with many local rains and cold winters. In the winter the temperature is usually rather low.


Between the two settlements of Papigo the stream of Rogovo flows. The erosion of the water has shaped many round concavities resembling small lakes. These are named "ovires" by the locals. In the two biggest of them a wall has been constructed to retain water. In the summer the locals and the visitors swim in its cold waters.

Red Rock

An impressive part of the area is Kokkino Lithari (Red Rock), located on the right of the Towers of Papigo towards Vikos. The characteristic red colour of the limestone impresses visitors from far away. Under the Red Lithari one can find Mpisteria, where there are big caves, in which local people used to hide to escape invaders. In one of them, Kotsitsa, there are painted pictures of saints on the walls.

The Towers

The Towers are the most unique part of Papigo. These impressive rocky formations are in the south of Astrakas crown connecting it with the ravine of Vikos. The tallest of these towers stands at 1788 m. high. At their foot, the Towers shape a plateau, the Gkovostitsa, where some years ago hundreds of sheep used to graze. In 1965, two pioneer climbers, the P. Jdosidis and the N. Kotzias climbed the Tower "Koupo" after 17 hours and the western Tower "Ptino", after 12 hours.

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Drakolimni (2050 m.)

Papigo - Mountaineering shelter - Drakolimni (2050 m.)
Degree of difficulty: easy
Time of course: 4.15'
Labelling: 03

The route for the shelter and then for Drakolimni starts from Small Papigo (alt. 980 m.). It has an eastern direction and on a shapely path it goes through the fountains Avragonia, Antalki, Trafo and Krouna.
It is the most relaxed and full of fountains route to the shelter.
The shelter can be reached within 3 hours and passing through the shielings Tsoumani and the Xeroloutsa and the little lake Rizina on your left, you can reach Drakolimni in 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The route to the shelter is signalled with a white plate, having in its interior a red rhomb with the code 03.

Gamila (2497 m.)

Papigo - Shelter - Gamila (2497 m.)
Degree of difficulty: mediocre
Time of course: 6 hours
Labelling: 03 and red marks

The first part of this route follows the path leading to the shelter.
From the shelter you go down on the left of Xeroloutsa, in 30 minutes you pass the lake Romiovrisi, where the last fountain is found and you continue walking just before the puddle Rompozi where you turn left leaving the 03 labelling. You ascend following the red marks and the small columns made from stacked stones.
The route is continued up to the root of Ploskos and from that point, in about 2,5 hours from the shelter, you reach the top.

Astraka (2436 m.)

Papigo - Astraka (2436 m.)
Degree of difficulty: mediocre
Time of course: 5 hours
Labelling: red marks

This route also follows the path to the shelter until just after the fountain Trafos, where you turn right.
Following the path you go by the water-spout Houni and reach the plateau of Astraka.
Continuing with the water-spout of Houni on your right, you come across the gulf "Provatina" in an1 hour's course from Trafos. From that point, after a 5-hour course from Papigo, under the ridges, you reach the last top, that of Astrakas.
The route after Trafos is roughly signalled with red marks.

Tsouka (2254 m.)

Papigo - Tsouka (2254 m.)
Degree of difficulty: mediocre
Time of course: 6 hours
Labelling: -

The route for Lapatos and Tsouka also starts off from the shelter. You follow the left ridge of Koytsomitros, near the Papigo shielings and from that point continuing on the right and following the ridge you go by Lapatos and reach Tsouka within 3 hours.

Crossing Vikos

Papigo - Ravine of Vikos - Monodendri
Degree of difficulty: mediocre
Time of course: 7 hours
Labelling: 03

The route starts off Big Papigo and goes by Stefovrysi down to the sources of Voidomatis. From that point you go to the left bank of Voidomatis and you follow a shapely path that will lead you to Agia Triada (Saint Trinity), Klima and finally Monodendri.

Koula (1560 m.)

Papigo - Koula (1560 m.)
Degree of difficulty: easy
Time of course: 2 hours
Labelling (up to Agia Kiriaki): Z30

The route starts off from Small Papigo, goes by the Mihovrisi and the country church of Agia Kiriaki leading to the top of Koula in 2 hours. The view from the top to the plain of Konitsa will surprise you.

Kokkino Lithari (Red Rock)

Papigo - Kokkino Lithari
Degree of difficulty: easy
Time of course: 45 minutes
Labelling: Z29

Impressive route with a view of the ravine of Vikos.

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CSC in Papigo

From January 2004, the Centre of Citizen Service functions in Papigo providing all services available in Citizen Service Centres.

Pagigo CSC:
Address: PAPIGO GR44004
Telephone: ++ 30 26530 41931
Fax: ++30 26530 42218
E-mail: k.papigkou@kep.gov.gr

Embellishing Association

Visit the E.A. page for more information.

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WWF Hellas

"The Papigo Information Centre nature and culture in Zagori" is located in Small Papigo. The Centre is accommodated in the building of the old Primary School, next to the church of the Taxiarhes. It was founded in May 2001 by the WWF Greece in collaboration with the community of Papigo, aiming at the visitors' initiation of the ecological and cultural uniqueness of the region and activation for their protection.

An exhibition with historical, cultural and environmental exhibits is hosted in the Centre. There, the visitor can be informed about issues concerning the natural landscape, the flora and fauna of the region, its geological characteristics, climate as well as its history. At the same time, s/he can be informed about the activities of WWF Greece drawing information from maps and photographic material.

From June 2004 the database created by the Department of Biological and Technological Applications of the University of Ioannina can also be found in the Centre and it is available to any visitor, natural philosopher or researcher wishing to get information on the different plants of the area.

On site various items are also sold for the economic aid of WWF Greece in the region.

Operation hours:

  • Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu-Sun: 10:30 - 17:30
  • Fri-Sat-Holidays: 11:00 - 18:00
Telephone/fax: ++30 26530 41071
E-mail: wwf-ppg@otenet.gr

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Useful phones

  • Γραφείο Κοινότητας, 2653 041931
  • WWF - Κέντρο Περ/κής Ενημέρωσης, 2653 041071
  • Καταφύγιο (διαχειριστής, κ. Ροκάς Γεώργιος), 6973 223100
  • Ε. Ορειβατικός Σύλλογος Παπίγκου, 2653 041138
  • Περιφερειακό Ιατρείο Αρίστης, 2653 041180
  • Περιφέρεια Ηπείρου (ΙΩΑ), 2651 072164
  • Νομαρχιακή Αυτοδιοίκηση Ιωαννίνων; 2651 087000
  • Υπεραστικό ΚΤΕΛ ν. Ιωαννίνων, 801 11 484848 (κρατήσεις)
  • Σταθμαρχείο, 26510 26404
  • Ελληνικός Οργανισμός Τουρισμού (ΙΩΑ), 2651 025086
  • Κέντρο Άμεσης Βοήθειας (ΙΩΑ), 166
  • Παν/μιακό Νοσοκομείο Ιωαννίνων, 2651 099111
  • Νοσοκομείο Χ"κώστα Ιωάννινα, 2651 80111
  • Δήμος Ιωαννιτών, 2651 079921
  • Κέντρο Άμεσης Δράσης (ΙΩΑ), 100


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  • Papigo Smartening Union (1978)
  • Papigo Emigrant Union
  • Papigo E.O.S. (1986)


"Papigo". Quarterly publication of Papigo Emigrant Union .

Publications on Papigo

  • Diamantis K.(1997): Micheal Anagnostopoulos and Samuel Hower
  • Papaioannou I.(1978, Vol.1): Papigo, one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori
  • Papaioannou I.(1987, vol.II): Papigo, one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori
  • Papaioannou I. (1981): Micheal Anagnostopoulos
  • Papaioannou I.(1984): Agios Vlassios of Papigo
  • Papaioannou X.(2004) Papigo and its mountains

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Dine and Coffee

  • ΕΣΤΙΑΤΟΡΙΟ, "ΔΙΑΣ" (Μικρό Πάπιγκο)
    26530 41892
    26530 41124
    26530 41081, 6936910044
    26530 42108, 6973 046067
    26530 41710
    26530 41116
    26530 41138
    26530 41120/41087


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Traditional Events Calendar

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Weather Forecast

Courtesy of http://www.riskmed.net

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