Syrrako & Kalarrytes: The eagle nests of Epirus!
The foot of Mt. Peristeri (or Lakmon), at 1,200 meters above sea level, is the location of these two traditional villages – facing each other as if defying gravity. Built by expert stone masons, they appear to compete in terms of history and natural beauty. Their glorious past and the financial prosperity they have known in past centuries will unfold before you as you stroll on the narrow cobblestone streets.
The elaborate architecture where stone is the key building material, the mansions with the arched entrances, the slab roof tiles, the stone bridges, the sculpted stone fountains, the beautiful churches of Agios Nikolaos who is the patron saint of both villages, the villages’ central squares – it is hard to say which is more beautiful – and the treasure of folk art items kept in the Syrrako Folk Art Museum all constitute irrefutable evidence of the area’s thriving financial state.
Kalarrytes people are renowned silver and gold smiths – it is worth noting that this is Sotiris Voulgaris’ place of origin, the founder of BVLGARI, the famous Greek jewelry house. They are also well-known tailors, tradesmen and stock farmers who have brought credit to their village in the 18th and 19th century big Mediterranean markets. As a result of the flourishing trade came education for the locals at a time when literacy was the privilege of the few in the rest of Greece.
A ravine separates them and a trail connects them…
You can see the other village from across! However, to reach it you must follow an 18 km long circular route because of the deep ravine and the river rapids. This setback -so to speak- will pay off as you will have the chance to enjoy a memorable hike along the trail which crosses Chrousia’s ravine and connects the two Vlach villages. Small cascades, spots offering an incredible view of the gorge and the surrounding mountains, huge rocks and lush vegetation will fill your mind with memories you will surely cherish. Hiking is of moderate difficulty and it will take one and a half hour.
Hiking and sports
Apart from hiking, the fascinating natural environment will offer you the opportunity to enjoy other alternative forms of soft or hard adventure tourism. Try climbing, paragliding, rafting on Kalarrytiko River, kayaking, mountain biking, archery.
Activities will increase your appetite!
The best way to recover your strength at the end of an active day is to try the tasty local Epirote dishes: pulpy bean soup, country-made sausages, hand-kneaded bread, home-made jam, traditional pies (egg pie, pastry pie, milk pie), trahanas soup [Greek for tarhana], feta cheese and anthotyro [a type of creamy unsalted cheese]. Local tsipouro drink (zampela) or the extraordinary local herbal tea will help digestion. As a dessert, try the home-made spoon sweet with strained yogurt.
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