05/02/2008
THE METSOVO AREA/NATURAL GEOGRAPHY

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Mavrovouni (2160 meters) and Peristeri (2298 meters) with their numerous offshoots define this area’s borders, where the Poltsies, a mountain valley located at a very high altitude, reign. Central European climate: rain, snow, low temperatures. Two busy ski centers.
One, which is euphemistically called warm valley (Valia Calda), is listed among the most sensitive areas of the world. The dream of all lovers and observers of nature. A true apocalypse for layman visitors. Forest of black and white barked pine trees, oak and fir trees as well as vineyards neatly climbing the slopes. Magical lakes. Plenty of water: 5 rivers originate from here: the Aoos, Aliakmonas. Pinios, Acheloos and Arachthos. Very rich flora and fauna consisting of rare, endemic species. Metsovo is the land of lumberjacks, cattle raisers and the Vlachs. It is through here that, for centuries now, the road that connects Epirus with the Ionian Sea and Thessaly and Western Macedonia passes. Guarding this strategically, politically and economically significant pass has played a major role in the history of its people. It has granted them independence and privileges, including during the Ottoman occupation. It granted them continuance, rare for the greater area most of the villages of which have been abandoned. Sturdy, industrious people who are full of life, they preserve the language, customs and traditions and music, while some of the elders even wear the traditional clothing.
Their wood carvings and textiles are works of art. Their wines, the most famous of which is the “Katogi” are renowned, as are their cheeses: the taste of the Metsovone cheese is truly unique. The arts are very well represented here on account of the Averoff Gallery and its convention center in Metsovo. The festivals that are held in Metsovo and Milia are unforgettable as they take place in a setting where tradition meets the present and catche sup to the future.


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