The 16th century Greek village where all the inhabitants have ancient Greek names
Kapesovo: The 16th century Greek village where all the inhabitants have ancient Greek names
Each Greek village, big or small, has its own beauty, uniqueness and particular history.
Strange stories about how they got their names, how many years they were inhabited, the villages and their traditions are an integral part of Greek culture.
Many villages, both in mainland Greece and on the Greek islands, are also distinguished by their local dialect – which even Greeks from different regions themselves cannot understand – their local dishes and all the products they produce.
Kapesovo, a green and picturesque stone village of only 51 inhabitants, which belongs to the municipality of Zagori, is known for another very unique reason; almost all of its inhabitants have ancient Greek names.
It is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation for many years, and the people of Kapesovo continue to proudly follow it.
Kapesovo has been inhabited for about 4 centuries and was founded around the 16e century. It is located 43 km from the popular town of Ioannina and a short drive from the Vikos Gorge.
The small village is also connected with other neighboring villages, like Vradeto, by stone paths, which are remarkable not only for their charm but also for the way they are built, with thin stone floors.
Besides its natural beauty, Kapesovo is an excellent example of traditional continental architecture. Impressive stone houses, well-preserved cobblestone streets, imposing mansions all sit harmoniously on top of an imposing mountain and create the perfect winter landscape.
Along with other villages in the region, it is perched above the ravine of Mezaria Mountain in Zagori, at an elevation of 1120m, and has been characterized by historians as a traditional Greek settlement.
In the 16e century, 20 families from the small village of Kapuska, located near Kapesovo, moved to the stone village and began to build their own small community from scratch.
The first census of the village’s population, in 1928, numbered 124 people, while the last census in 2011 counted almost a third of the initial population, or only 51 people, as many residents moved to larger areas. metropolitan.
Even though today Kapesovo is smaller than ever – in terms of population – it is also louder than ever, as it has become a beloved tourist destination during the winter months.
In the center of the village there is one of the most beautiful monuments in the whole Zagori region, the stone church of Agios Nikolaos, which was built in 1793. The interior of the church is filled with frescoes extraordinary, carried out by the famous Kapesovite painters, with clear western influences.
In fact, the whole village of Kapesovo is famous for its artistic roots. During the 17e and 18e centuries, many of its inhabitants have distinguished themselves around Greece as admirable artists. Some were painters and architects, while others were woodcarvers and hagiographers. Many churches in the villages of Zagori and Epirus regions were built and decorated by the people of Kapesovo, known for their artistic talent.
Most of the inhabitants of Kapesovo have ancient names, such as Plato, Clearchus, and Thucydides, which are much rarer to find in all other parts of Greece.
This particular tradition began at the beginning of the 19e century for two main reasons: on the one hand, because the inhabitants of Kapesovo received a classical education and studied the ancient philosophers and writers, and on the other hand, because they wanted to keep alive their Greek spirit and what ‘they called their “grecitÃ©”, from their then village occupied by the Turks, during the Ottoman domination.
Kapesovo, along with other villages in northern Greece, belongs to Zagorochoria (Zagori villages), which is a complex of 46 villages in total, all with their own beauty and grace.
Zagorochoria is one of the main travel destinations among the Greeks and is particularly famous for its stone houses, lush forests, small secret paths and natural landscape, which changes from green to orange in every season of the year. year.
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