Greece’s Culture Minister Lina Mendoni on Tuesday hailed UNESCO’s decision to include Zagori, a remote rural area in the Pindus mountains in the country’s north-western Epirus region, on its prestigious World Heritage List.
UNESCO “recognised the outstanding ecumenical value of the Zagorochoria [Zagori villages] architecture, as an excellent example of the survival and mutual influence of the Byzantine and Ottoman architecture”, Mendoni said.
“It recognised the authenticity and integrity of the area as key ingredients in order to be included on the World Heritage List,” she added.
UNESCO’s website says that the small stone villages in the Zagori area “showcase a traditional architecture adapted to the mountain topography”, with a network of stone-arched bridges, stone cobbled paths and stone staircases linking the villages.
It is the first time that UNESCO has listed an area of Greece for its modern-era cultural heritage. Previously, all the areas listed were related to Ancient Greece or Byzantium.
“The registration of Zagori in the UNESCO World Heritage List is an important development for our municipality. It is a reward for all the efforts of those who contributed to support the candidacy,” Kostas Mpampasikas, general secretary of the municipality of Zagori, told BIRN.
“What we expect is to be able to save and preserve this traditional landscape and for future generations to learn about it,” he said.
UNESCO’s nomination of Zagori – ‘the place behind the mountains, from the Slavic ‘za’, meaning ‘behind’, and ‘gora’, meaning ‘mountain’ – took place at the World Heritage Committee’s 45th session in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Zagori’s candidacy was assessed by scientists, archaeologists, historians, foresters, biologists, environmentalists, architects, economists, and ethnologists.
Besides its natural beauty and the historical importance of the region, its cultural heritage, such as music, festivals and traditions, was also considered.
Source : BalkanInsight