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The Stony Bridges






The Stony Bridges

The dialogue of the master builder with nature …

The river Pramoritsa and  its several streams posed an obstruction during transport, not an unsurpassable one, though. A series of stone bridges connect from very early the banks of the river and of its streams.

Voio is one of the characteristic areas of Greece where stone bridges are aggregated, which are also recognized as works of rare art. Here we can find more that 20 stone bridges, which are built by local artisans in their entirety. They are scattered in well thought-out positions in different periods of the Turkish occupation, each with its unique legends and identity. Single-arched, double-arched or multi-arched, they vary in form and size as Pramoritsa widens in its descent down the mountain’s precipices. They are monuments of the period of prosperous stock breeding in Northern Pindos when the highland settlements were teeming with life. Merchants from western Macedonia and Epirus, with communities all over Central Europe, would cross them carrying commodities across Greece and along the Danube. The Greek army used them in its course to the Albanian front and the mountain partisans would set up their ambushes to the German phalanxes on them.

Of course, times have changed, paths have been abandoned and most bridges are no longer used but they keep the memory alive. Today, for most visitors, they are an occasion for pleasant treks in the great outdoors, simultaneously offering valuable lessons in architecture. To build a bridge, the artisans would first define the spots where the foundations would be set. Its construction would start simultaneously from both sides, with carven slates and strong binder. With the aid of a scaffold, the two sides would meet at the peak of the arch. The stones around the arch would be masterfully carved and placed around the center where the coign-shaped rock called kleidi (key) would be placed and ensure the stability of the whole structure. The remaining body of the bridge would then be built with carved stones (or not, depending on the design). To achieve optimal cohesion between the outer and the inner layers, iron T-shaped components would be fitted inside the structure.


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