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Koziakas and Aspropotamos

It is the mount Koziakas and the mount Kerketion and the foam-crowned river Acheloos, Aspropotamos. The mountainous areas that belong to the prefecture of Trikala have been included in the National Catalog of the European Network NATURE 2000 (NATURA 2000), in accordance with the European Union Directive 92/43 for the protection of habitats. Through the “Environmental Operational Program” (EPPER) program of the Ministry of Environment, the Prefectural Self-Government of Trikala, with the technical support of the Kalampaka-Pyli Development Center S.A. (KENAKAP) prepared a Special Environmental Study which determines the terms of protection and management of of their areas as well as the terms of development, for the promotion and upgrading of the natural and man-made environment.

A little History

Residents of AspropotamosThe area was first inhabited by the Athamanes (2000-1900 BC), who came from Pindos and specifically from the Joumerkas, part of which is located in the Prefecture of Trikala. They were mainly occupied with animal husbandry. They were allies of the Corinthians and the Athenians and vassals of the Macedonians. The last testimony about the Athamanes exists during the Roman period. The number of Byzantine monuments in the area shows its importance during the Byzantine period. From the 12th century there are testimonies about the presence of the Vlachs, Latin speakers of Pindos, and the area where they lived was called Great Vlachia. During the years of the Turkish rule, the area flourished economically due to the developed animal husbandry, the weaving of woolen species and their processing in the water mills, as well as the exploitation of the forests.

Acheloos or Aspropotamos Area

Acheloos or Aspropotamos AreaThe myth says that Achelous was the eldest of the 3000 sons of Oceanus and Tethys (Gaia), father of the Nymphs and the Sirens, transformed into a bull he fought with Hercules for the heart of Deianeira. Hercules broke the horn of the bull-Achelous and made her his wife. Achelous is one of the largest rivers in Greece. The waters of the many springs, which are located on Mount Lakmos or Peristeri and in the Prefectures of Ioannina and Trikala, form small streams, which then join the two main streams, the Kraniotikos and the Aspropotamos, and form the great river. It flows on the borders of the prefectures of Arta and Karditsa, separates Evrytania from Aitoloakarnania, creates the artificial lakes of Kremasto and Kastraki, crosses the fertile plain of Agrinio and after a journey of 220 km ends up in the Ionian Sea.
The area of ​​Aspropotamos is covered by forest, includes large alpine meadows and rivers with coastal vegetation flow through it.

Koziakas Area

Lily LeirionIt is located at the eastern end of the central Pindos and is the Kerketian mountain of the ancients. It is characterized by bare and rocky slopes, gorges wooded with firs, sorrels, oaks and deciduous trees, as well as steep cliffs.
From Koziakas there are the rivers Portaikos and Kefalopotamos started, which flow into the Pinios river. The most important springs of permanent flow are located on the eastern slopes of Koziakas. They are the springs of Lakka, Karyes, Koukounari, Gavros, Gournes, of Saint Vessarion and Pyli.


Forests and Meadows of Aspropotamos– Fir forests

At an altitude of 900-1700m there are extensive fir forests. The climate in the area is cold, the height of precipitation exceeds 1000 meters and the dry season lasts only a month.

– Riverside forests

The Aspropotamos-Koziakas region is drained by a large network of small and large mountain streams that end in Acheloos and Pinios river. On the banks of these streams we meet a forest with plane trees, willows, maples and other hydrophyllous plants. The ecological value of these forests is enormous because they are a refuge for many animals and birds.

– Alpine meadows

They are located at an altitude of 2300m. and above. They are of extremely great botanical interest due to the great variety of endemic herbs. They are threatened with destruction due to uncontrolled grazing and anarchic ecotourism activity.

– Mountain pastures

They were created by forest fires and overgrazing.

Traditional settlements

Haliki– Haliki

It is located on the south-eastern slope of Mount Lakmos. In the location of the settlement, the researchers place the ancient city of Chalkida, “besides Achelon”, one of the largest cities of Epirus.

For this reason and until the end of the 18th century, Haliki was called Halkis.

Anthousa or Lepenitsa– Anthousa or Lepenitsa

It is built on the forested slopes of Mount Kedros, at an altitude of 1100m.

Characteristic is the architecture of its houses dominated by stone.


Bridge of Porta or Agios Vessarion– Bridge of Porta or Agios Vessarion

It is located on the road that leads from Pyli to Elati and the Pertouliotika meadows. It was built in 1514 by the Metropolitan of Larissa, Vessarion, and it is the second largest single-arched bridge in Thessaly. It is 67m long.

The Mansion of Papastergios in Anthousa– The Mansion of Papastergios in Anthousa

It has been recognized as a monument of the recent history of the traditional settlement of Anthousa. It is a stone-built building from 1877. The windows are protected by ornate metal railings. Characteristic is the “scalding hole”, a hatch that ends above the central entrance and through which the owners of the house poured scalding water in raids. Today the mansion is abandoned and ready to collapse.


Holy Monastery of Agios Vessarion or Dousikos– Holy Monastery of Agios Vessarion or Dousikos

It is located on the eastern slope of Koziakas at an altitude of 650m. It was founded by St. Bessariona in 1527-1535 and its architecture is of the Athonite type. Its hagiographies were made by the painter of the Cretan School Tzortzis. It has three chapels, a two-story wing of cells and a rich library with rare manuscripts, some of which are in the National Library. A rare sample of the pre-industrial architecture is the water mill of the monastery, with basement, ground floor and a floor. To the south there is a built channel for transporting water from the Portaikos river.

– Holy Monastery of Porta Panagia, Monastery of the Irresistible Theotokos

It is located in the old settlement of Porta Panagia, very close to the town of Pyli. The church was the catholicon of the Stauropigiak monastery of the Irresistible Theotokos. It was founded in 1283 by the emperor Ioannis Angelos Komnenos Doukas and was built with materials from an ancient temple. The temple of the church is made of marble and bears two mosaics: of Christ and the Virgin Mary and child.
Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary( Virgin Mary Lactating)
It is located at the confluence of the rivers Halikiotikos and Lepenetsiotikos, tributaries of Acheloos. She was called the Lactating Virgin Mary because she was the patron saint of cattle breeders and the Monastery was their meeting place.

Holy Monastery of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross of Doliana– Holy Monastery of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross of Doliana

It was built in 1770 and destroyed in 1943, apart from the catholicon, which is a unique example of unique architecture in Greece, on its roof there is a complex of stone domes. On the south and north side of the church there are three niches and the windows have the shape of a cross. The external decoration is carved in the soft stone and represents crosses, double-headed eagles, Saints, Cherubim, etc. It is located between the villages of Doliana and Krania in the Aspropotamos area.

Legends and traditions

The bridge in the Mana gorgeTheir characteristic subjects are fairies and deers and as a rule they are associated with the Saints of the villages.

– Saint George Vronteros

In the village of Vrontero (or Lantz) on the day of his feast day, Saint George sent a deer, which the faithful people sacrificed and all ate. But once the deer was late, the villagers got ready for church and when the deer appeared, they refused to sacrifice it so as not to stain their festive clothes. The saint was displeased and never sent them a deer again.

– The bridge in the Manas gorge

It is located between the villages Pertouli and Neraidochori. The legend says that the bridge had collapsed many times due to the rush of the waters of the gorge. The master craftsman argued that the blood of the sacrificed lambs and roosters was not enough to strengthen the bridge. A human had to be sacrificed. So they grabbed an old beggar who was passing by and built her on the foundation of the bridge. Since then it has been called “The Bridge of Grias” and the passer who passes by there, hears her lament or sees her sitting on the bridge.

Cultural Centers

Environmental Information CenterEnvironmental Information Center-Conference Center
In the three rivers (Tria Potamia) area of ​​Aspropotamos, it is located at the Environmental Information Center. The environmental company ARKTOUROS studied and built the exhibits of the Center. Its aim is to present the natural and man-made environment of the area and to facilitate the visitor’s navigation and orientation. Exhibits include:

  • Three-dimensional model of the area, geophysical map, where the elements of the natural environment, monuments, bridges, etc. are displayed.
  • Schematic map of the area, with an emphasis on the natural wealth and mainly on the wildlife and its habitats.
  • Exhibition area, where the traditional activities that developed in the area (wood processing, animal husbandry) are displayed.
  • Exhibition surface, where the monasteries and monuments, the archaeological and religious sites of the region are displayed.

The 350-seat auditorium of the Center is also available for meetings. Nearby villages for accommodation are Kalliroi, Krania and Polythea.
Information: Aspropotamos Community, tel: 24310-77641

What will you be doing?

Canoe-Kayak-Rafting– Canoe-Kayak-Rafting

From the area of ​​Tria Potamia to the bridge of Alexios in Agia Paraskevi, Acheloos offers the possibility for the most extreme sports, especially when the river descends rapidly. At Tria Potamia there is a relevant center for the organization and safe descent of the river. Nearby villages for accommodation are Krania, Kalliroi and Polythea.

– Mountain biking

Meadows of Pertouli is the ideal place for the sport. Many forest trails will take you to beautiful locations. Nearby villages for accommodation are Pertouli, Elati, Neraidochori, Vrontero and Kalogiri.

– Climbing

At a distance of 10 minutes from the center of elati and on the slopes of Koziakas there is the climbing field of the Red Rock. It is a limestone 60m high. with about six routes of different degrees of difficulty. Nearby villages for accommodation are Elati, Pertouli, Kalogiri and Vrontero.

– Horseback riding touristic

Proud guests will take you to discover the beauty of the area, accompanied by experienced guides. Nearby villages for accommodation are Pertouli, Elati, Neraidochori, Vrontero and Kalogiri.

– Hiking – Climbing

The European Path E4 passes through the area of ​​Koziakas. An important network of paths (unmarked) lead to almost all the peaks of the surrounding mountains.

  • Meadows of Pertouli – Astrapi (Top of Koziakas): 2.146 μ.
  • Pyrra – Avgo: 2.146 μ.
  • Neraidochori – Marosa:: 2.020 μ.
  • Pertοuli – Neraida:: 2.065 μ.
  • Haliki – Peristeri: 2.295 μ.
  • Klino – Tringia: 2,204m.

Nearby villages for accommodation are Pertouli, Elati, Neraidochori, Vrontero and Kalogiri.

– Ski

At the ski center of Pertouli, snow lovers can enjoy many types of their favorite sport, such as: cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, snowshoeing and sledding.

And leaving…

…you should buy:

  • feta cheese, yogurt, sour milk, butter, myzithra
  • traditional trachana, and pulses boiled and delicious
  • traditional pies
  • honey from mountain wild flowers
  • traditional sweets
  • dried wild flowers
  • wooden carved handicrafts
  • woven with traditional designs that come from the distant past
  • musky herbs

Information & photos
Trikala Development Agency (KENAKAP S.A.)