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The Villages of Voio


The Villages of Voio

Siatista, Pentalofos, Vlasti, Haravgi, Namata, Eptahori, Pelekanos, Skalohori. Beautiful and peculiar names that correspond to their natural attraction and history.

The slopes of Voio, lush in vegetation and rich in waters, have contributed to the creation of a network of traditional settlements, known as Mastorohoria, or Kastanohoria. They are one of the four major units of stone-built settlements of Northern Greece, equivalent to Zagorohoria, the villages of Grammos and of Pilio. More than forty small picturesque settlements are located one after the other in the mountainous and semi-mountainous zone of the mountain, from 700 to 1400 meters in altitude. These are the villages of the districts of Kozani, Grevena and Kastoria, which lie west of Tsotyli until the rivers Venetikos and Sarantaporos. Thus, several Mastorohoria of the area of Grevena belong to Voio, such as Dasyllio, Trikorfo, Kalloni, Dotsiko, Agios Kosmas, Kydonies and others, as well as Mastorohoria from the area of Kastoria, such as Eptahori, Kypseli, Nea Kotyli and Pefkos, built in the mainland of Voio, as well as Kastanohoria Vrahos, Lagka, Niki, Kastanofyto, Agios Ilias, Petropoulaki, Nostimo and others, which are found in Mikra Ontria. Kastanohoria is the name for the settlements of the mountainous zone of Voio that are famous for their production of chestnuts, between the areas of Pentalofos and Ontria.

In some of the villages, many buildings are not made of stone, or may be stony but smaller than in the past. This is due to the fact that they were burned down in the period between 1943 and 1944 by the German occupational forces, due to their leading role in the Resistance. On the day of the fire, their inhabitants were hidden in neighboring forests and watched their beautiful, two-storey homes perish in the flames. Afterwards, to protect themselves from the harsh winter that ensued, they were forced to rebuild them quickly with what materials remained, while others returned after the war and restored them with new materials. Some of the villages that experienced this disaster were Tsotyli, Vythos, Rodohori, Eptahori, Morfi and Koryfi, which nevertheless managed to preserve exquisite elements of tradition, thanks to the love of their inhabitants.

The villages of Eastern Voio, built on mount Askio, despite their common history, customs and traditions, are quite distinct in color and size. They are less in number, distant from each other and considerably larger. In western Voio, with the exception of Neapoli, Tsotyli and Pentalofos, the rest of the settlements are small. On the contrary, in Eastern Voio we find in essence small towns built on the mountain’s slopes, at an altitude of 750 to 1200 meters, such as the well-known Siatista, Galatini, Eratyra, Sisani and Vlasti. Here, most of the houses are modern in style, however some considerable specimens of Macedonian architecture are preserved in magnificent mansions, public buildings and churches.

It is worth mentioning that in many cases villages appear in pairs, possibly in order to supplement each other and increase the feeling of security. Known pairs of villages include Neapoli-Tsotyli, Vlasti-Namata, Koryfi-Hrysavgi, Dilofo-Dasyllio, Morfi-Agia Sotira, Polykastano-Zoni, Damaskinia-Dragasia, Lagka-Vrahos, Kotyli-Kypseli, Skalohori-Nostimo, Krimini-Rodohori and Kalloni-Trikorfo.

During summer months, settlements awake from their hibernation and the daily hustle and bustle returns. The cafes reopen, barbecues are lit and the sound of the clarinet echoes in the slopes and valleys.

Voio remains authentic, because there is a genuine desire for the preservation of local architecture and tradition and not merely their restoration as part of a scenery. The stony alleys still bear the aroma of knit bread and pies baked by housewives in their homes, the elderly still narrate stories from war and migration, while local customs are an integral part of the daily routine. Last but not least, the people, simple and creative, are unbelievably gentle and polite.



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