48 kilometers northwest from the city of Grevena and in altitude 1650 meters is located the largest and most famous village of the prefecture of Grevena and the whole Greece, the village of Samarina. Under the forest of Kiourista, the traditional settlement of the village is built amphitheatrically in the east slopes of the highest peak of the Pindos mountain chain, the peak of Smolikas with 2637 meters altitude, which is the second highest mountain in Greece after the mountain Olympos.

300 years ago, according to the bishop of Domokos, whose name was Chrisanthos and was coming from Samarina, (handwritten script of 1853), the village was built near the monastery of St. Paraskevi, 4 kilometers north of the current location of the village. The relocation took place due to the number of snakes and vipers and due to the narrowness of the place as well.

Today, 800 to 1000 people live in Samarina and in the summer and especially from 5 till the 20th of August the inhabitation of the village reaches the number of 10.000 people with its zenith at the 15th of August. In the earlier times during the winter in the village used to live only 5 guards. Now, around 80 families of cattlemen with more than 50.000 heads of cattle, woodmen and local businessmen spend the winter on the village as more and more businesses stay open during the cold times.

The district of Samarina is covered in its biggest part with forests full of trees such as beeches, pines, firs, oaken, sfendamos, arkenthos, cornels, poplars, willows and other. The fauna of the area includes animals such as bears, roe deer, goats, wolf, foxes, badgers, squirrels, wild boar, rabbits, and many species of eagles, hawks and blackbirds.

Southwest from the village, in the foothills of mountain Smolikas and in the left side of the path we come across a lake known as "Drakolimni" (or Dragon's Lake). Here, Alpine tritons can be found while a few meters away the big waterfall of Smolikas exists, known as "Apa Spintziouriata" (which means "Hanging water") whose water crosses the rough glen of Valia Kirna, named Skontina. The current of Valia Kirna is met some miles away with another current named Skordei-Greko, which steams from the areas of Gomara, Tampouri and Samarina.

In the forest of Kioyrista, just above the village of Samarina, the "Fantina Likiraou" spring is located (Spring of the "Lady") next to which a fountain has been built, known for its crystal clear water.

A few minutes walk away from the fountain and inside the forest, another water source is located in the middle of a verdurous grassland, the source of "Moutcalia". The place over there is offered forpicnic, exhibitions, sports and countryside games.

In the border limits of the villages Smixi, Samarina and Distrato, the mountain Gomara is raised with altitude 2.028 meters. The peak of the mountain is almost naked with interspersed bushes and low beech trees and black pines. From over there one can see the village of Samarina, the city of Kastoria and the mountain Olympos.

The mountain Skourtzia (1.840 meters) is in the northeast side of the village and it is a rocky mountain apart from the places covered with beech trees. The Dotsiko village, the Helidonou sink area and the location "Stavros" are the places of the mountain that afford the best view. The Greko-Romios peak, with 1.800 meters has the same characteristics with the Skourtzia mountain.

The Churches of the village

4 kilometers south of the village, the exhibitors can visit the monastery of Saint Paraskevi, built at 1713 inside the forest. It is created in Byzantine style and the internal of the temple is represented with wall painting of the local hagiographers. Founders of the church has been the monks Nikiforos and Dionysios. The monastery has helped a lot the nation during Turkish occupation. It was the meeting centre klepht and the resistance soldiers and it was the place from where the revolutionary mission of neo-martyr Dimitrios from Samarina started, who died in 1808. The monastery had also been for many years the centre of partisans during the war of 1940.

In the same area, the temple of Transfiguration was built in 1813, whose walls are also painted from local hagiographers. The monastery and the temple were the main churches of Samarina when the village was located in that area.

The church of Saint Athanasios with the chapel of Saints Anargyroi is built inside the current village of Samarina. It was constructed in 1849 and its temple is an art piece, while many old religious icons and wall paintings have been saved.

Remarkable portable icons of the 18th century do also exist in the church of prophet Ilias, which was built in 1795. In 1819 the temple of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Great Madonna) with the chapel of Saints Apostles was erected. Furthermore, inside the village is the church of the Birth of Virgin Mary, built in 1864 (Little Madonna) with the chapel of All Saints. In 1943 the church of Saint Kosmas was founded near its rostrum, where he spoke in 1890. In a good condition is also maintained the church of Archangel Michael (1975) near the place of the fountain of "Sakellaris".

Traditional houses

In a very good condition is the stoned house of Nikolaos Mitsiompounas, which was built in 1830 as well as the houses of Mpasdeki's brothers and Kilimpogkini's brothers, built in 1865. Its worthwhile visiting the traditional house of Grigoris Hatzimichos.

The fountains of the village

All of the fountains are inside the village of Samarina. They are made of stone and they were built during the Turkish occupation. Some of the most known are those of the "Great Madonna", "Gkabani", "Chatzi", "Papakyria", "Papazizi", "Kypritzi", "Mpiziou", "Penta", "Lezoura" and "Zekiou". Outside of the village one can find the fountains of "Romios" (Grekos), "Kontourou" as well as the fountain of "fantina Likiraou" (the fountain of the lady) in the forest of Kiourista. All of the fountains have crystal clear water which can be drunk.

The museum of the village

In the literary center of Samarina is housed the archaeological - folklore museum of the settlement for which responsible is the president of ornamental union. Here are kept and exhibited traditional uniforms and suits of clothes as well as old tools and instruments of the local workers. It is open during the summer period.

Traditional Preferences

The visitors must try boiled goat, tripe, lamp on the spit, lamp kabob, kokoretsi,pan meat, local sausages, racks, local raki and some of the many different types of cheese, Kokoretsi (traditional roasted food) all of which can be found in the steak houses and the coffee - patisseries of the village.

Furthermore they can buy cheese and milk products from the local shops, meat from the steak houses, traditional sweets in vases (sour cherry, cherry, plum, orange and fig) as well as products of folklore art.

History of the village

Samarina flourished at the end of the 18th century and during the 19th. The economic flourish was based in a group of activities, but mostly in the cattle-breading, the small industries, the trade and the arts. The main economic source was the cattle-breading (the people of the village had almost 80.000 goats and sheeps) and the small industries of wood (the Valia Kirna area (valley of the deamons) in the past used to be the source of water power as there were 5 water-saws for the carpenters of that time).

Until 1940 there were 7 water mills in operation in Samarina, those of: Chatzigiannis, the one in the church of Saint Athanasios, the one of George Molia, Dimitri Tsiachtsiri, Chatzimpirou, the one in the church of "Little Madonna" and the one of Gioka. Now only the remains of the water mills are saved.

According to the tradition, Giannis Priftis was coming from Samarina (or Giannis Papas), who was klepht and a resistant. During 1843 he chased after the father of Ali Pasha. He was also the terror of the Albanians. Furthermore, Leonidas Chatzimpiros with his 500 young brave warriors was also from Samarina. His action took place at about 1895 in Macedonia and Epirus and he died in one of the battles of Siatista. Kousios Despoulis, who was also a klepht, was for many years kept in the prisons of Ioannina and the Macedonian fighters capten Arkoudas (camptain Bear) and capten Tsekouras (capten Axe) were also from Samarina.

Copyright © "La Noi" Traditional Hostel. All rights reserved. Developed by T-WEB