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Taliaros and its Role during the Civil War


Taliaros and its Role during the Civil War

Taliaros is the westernmost part of Voio, deep inside the gorges of North Pindos. Its main body begins at Eptahori and ends between Dotsiko and Kalloni, one of its branches, however, reaches south, beneath Vasilitsa and to the villages of Ziaka. It is a peculiarly oblong mountain, that appears to be the same in all its parts, with steep, round slopes, like a giant serpent squashed between the large mountain chains. Its width is small, its length, however, exceeds 20 km. Its peak is Thanasoulas, with an altitude of 1,547 meters. It connects Voio with Smolikas and further perplexes the intricate geomorphology of the area. It runs parallel to the low part of the main body of Voio, south of Zoupaniotikos Ailias. Four crystal clear streams spring from Taliaros. From the east side run the streams Eptahoritiko and Kapsalia, with its medicinal springs at location Mpania Pentalofou or Loutra Katsika. Further down, Kapsalia form Paliomagero, the largest confluent of river Pramoritsa. From the west side begin the north springs of Venetikos and stream Zouzouliotiko, which discharges into Sarantaporos. Due to the vast forests of beeches, firs and pines, and due to its secluded location, away from settlements and roads, it is a wildlife reserve for animals such as the bear, the wolf, the wild boar and the deer. These combined forests cover it almost in its entirety, offering a magical landscape, especially during the autumn, when the mountain can take more than ten different shades. When locals refer to a wild and densely forested land, they always compare it to Taliaros.

Path E6 crosses Taliaros perpendicularly, and connects Pentalofos with the bridge of Zouzouli, but in many spots it has disappeared under the lush vegetation. There used to be a very picturesque village here, Tseros, which was close to Dilofos, but it, too, was raided. Its inhabitants ended up in Dilofos and Krimini. At the foot of Taliaros, the Monastery of Agios Georgios (Saint George) is preserved as well as the temple of Koimiseos tis Theotokou (Dormition), two monuments of exquisite art. Today, visitors can easily access them and admire the wild western side of the mountain, through the new road that was opened to link Eptahori with Dotsiko.

The location of Taliaros has proven to be ideal as a resort, not only of wildlife but of whole armies. Here, as in Zoupaniotikos Ailias, the line of defense of the Democratic Army had been organized, during the bleak years of the Civil War, as these two mountains dominate the landscape of Voio, and are united to obstruct the way to Grammos. In the dense forests, an entire brigade of 600 men had camped, half of which were at the neck of Lykokremasma, which used to be the sole way of accessing Eptahori, and the other half at Dotsiko. Despite the strong fortifications, the defense did not last and on July 2nd 1948 Taliaros was abandoned following a fierce battle. It has remained an abandoned, wild and unknown land ever since, almost virgin to any human activity, hiding well the dark memories of the tragic war. Signs from the ditches of artillery can still be seen, as well as the uprooted trees and the craters opened by bombshells.

In September of ’49 the highest grades of the Primary School of Pentalofos boarded military automobiles which took us to the location “Tria Alonia”, beneath Taliaros. We watched the works of the construction of the public road, which would connect Pentalofos and Eptahori. There was a brief mention of the fierce battles that had taken place in the previous summer in those hills. The cracking of the machine guns and the explosions of the shells were but a memory for us. We enjoyed the lovely scenery. The air reached us full of the aromas of the conifers’ retina. We passed from the drinking fountain and quenched our thirst in our palms. It was a rejoice. The grandeur of nature and the absence of people made the presence of God all the more intense. To us, the children of war, this excursion meant something truly special.

Excerpt from the book “A Village in the Civil War”




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