Church of Aghios Vassilios

Saint Vassilios Church lies in the city of Arta, in the market district, and a little north of Agia Theodora church. The church received the nickname “”tis agoras”” (of the market in greek) due to its location. Also, to be distinguished from the church of Saint Vassilios “”tis gefiras”” (of the bridge in Greek).
In 1662, a higher Greek School, the so-called Manolaki school, was founded in the church’s precinct. It was named after its founder Filippos Manolakis, a wealthy Kastorian fur merchant. The school was built at the urging of Nektarios, Patriarch of Jerusalem. It operated until 1821 when the church was burned down. Famous scholars of the time were teachers there, such as Sofronios Leichoudis, Paisios Metaxas, and Gerasimos Palladas.
A. Orlandos studied and restored the church in 1936.

Dating: According to the latest research and similarities it presents with Byzantine monuments of the time, the church is dated at the end of the 13th century.
Architecture: The church, measuring 9.38×4.08m, was originally a single-room, wooden-roofed basilica. A little later, probably in 1,300, wings were added on its long sides with the chapels of Saints Chrysostom and Gregory at their eastern ends. Thus, the original simple building acquires the form of a three-part division. The arch of the central, initial space is three-sided with blunt sides, while the niche of the deaconry is formed in the thickness of the wall. The east pediment and the west wall protrude above the level of the pitched roof. This architectural peculiarity is found in monuments of this era, such as the church of St. Theodora. There was an old portico on the west side of the temple, probably with a wooden roof.
The wings that surround the temple are divided by transverse walls into three spaces. The middle ones are housed with arches and the outer ones with lower, single-pitched roofs. Their eastern niches are pentagonal and apparently smaller than the central.
The entrance to the church is from the west. In the interior, doors allow the communication of the main church with the chapels.
Exterior decoration: The masonry is built in the Byzantine cloisonné system (carved stones surrounded by plinths) and has a rich ceramic decoration, mainly on its east and north side. The east side is decorated with brick bands with meanders and herringbone. Jagged bands and zones with colorful glazed tiles adorn the north side. Works of the 14th century AD, both glazed clay icons on the east pediment, are exceptional. They depict the Crucifixion and the three Hierarchs with dimensions 39X42cm.
Sculptural decoration: The sculptural decoration of the temple is limited. Corinthian capitals adorn the colonnades in the bifora windows that open on the far sides of the main temple. There is a reused marble capital on the east side of the north chapel with a relief cross and thorn leaves. It probably comes from an early Christian building of the area.
Painting decoration: The church is decorated in the interior with a rich iconographic program organized in four zones. The niche of the sanctuary depicts Panagia Platytera and evangelical scenes such as the meeting of Christ with the Samaritan woman, the Ascension, and Pentecost, but also symbolic representations, such as the Angelic Liturgy. On the church walls, representations of saints, full-body or in medals, many scenes from the Christological cycle, the Passion cycle, and the Virgin Mary’s life are depicted.
The frescoes date back to the 17th century and are severely damaged. The apparent preference for naturalistic traits and the intense, realistic features of the faces reveal influences from the West.

Church of Aghia Paraskevi

Saint Paraskevi church lies on a low hill in the center of Rodavgi, 24 km north of Arta. According to local tradition, the inhabitants built the temple at that specific place at the suggestion of the Saint herself, when after a powerful landslide, they left their initial village and settled in this area. The old village is mentioned as Agia Paraskevi, Chavos, and Kakolagado, names that testify both the unfavorable geological position and the existence of Saint Paraskevi church, which relocated to Rodavgi along with the inhabitants. It is said that the Saint’s image was found in the site of the present temple, a theme often met in folklore tradition. The history around the foundation of the church of Rodavgi inextricably links it with the inhabitants’ religious feeling and renders it an important pilgrimage of the wider area.
The bell tower and the old ossuary belong to the church. A cemetery lies to the south of the church, operating up until recently, and two priests’ graves are located to the east, on both sides of the sanctuary.
Architecture: Agia Paraskevi church in Rodavgi was built in 1804, according to an inscription on the lintel of the northern entrance, and follows the mainland criteria of church construction. Made of gray limestone and covered with gray slates, it is classified in the well-known type of three-aisled vaulted basilica with a dome. This type is standard, with variations, throughout Epirus in the 18th century, bringing about apparent changes in ecclesiastical architecture. The absence of complexity in the architectural volumes, the large dimensions, the sturdy construction, the type of the basilica, as well as the heavy slate roofs give the monument solidness and majesty.
An elevated narthex develops along the west side of the temple. The north and west sides are surrounded by a Γ shaped portico with paved floor and benches, while from the same sides, we enter the main church and the narthex, respectively. The portico’s roof, also covered with gray slate, leans on the temple walls and is based on visible wooden beams and modular columns.
The tall bell tower with successive arched openings is also impressive. According to oral testimony, the bell tower was not built during the church’s foundation but in 1850, after the inhabitants funded it.
A wide staircase to the north connects the church with the village square, placing it thus essentially in the settlement’s life and various events.

Exterior decoration: Above the inscription of the north lintel that refers to the year of the church’s foundation, there is a plaque with an embossed anthem. A slit opens between the decorative motif and the inscription, possibly to place the entrance key. Another marble slab lies above the entrance of the narthex with a relief representation of lions, a cypress, and two suns, as well as the year 1863.
Interior decoration: The main church is lower than the narthex, and small domes are located on the roof in addition to the raised dome. Two colonnades, with six stone, Doric columns each, separate the aisles of the temple. The walls are whitewashed. There are just two frescoes in the Chancel depicting the Extreme Humiliation and figures of saints.
The wood-carved baroque iconostasis of the church is of artistic interest. There are decorative bands with parapets and waves, decorated with relief geometric and floral patterns, lion heads, and angel forms. The large images of the iconostasis are supported on a band with parapets separated by colonnades. Above the images, two decorative zones have been formed. Frames for the small images of the architrave have been created above. Carved angels stand out on the top of each image. The iconostasis is crowned with abundant floral decoration, among which two scaly dragons dominate, symbols of the victory of life against death and good against evil. The Crucifixion is depicted on top of the iconostasis with the Virgin Mary and Ioannis images to the right and left.
A unique style is added to the iconostasis by the frontal figure of Christ as the High Priest bearing the bishop’s insignia on the sliding door of the Great Gate. The style and colors are linked harmoniously with the rest of the decoration. Towards the end of the 20th century, the image was removed for an unknown reason. It was replaced by another wood carving, made in a modern workshop. In March 2014, the image, obviously damaged by the abandonment in a warehouse, was restored after the actions taken by people worried for its fate and the care of the parish priest Athanasios Athanasiou. The smaller wooden doors of the iconostasis date to the end of the last century and depict the figures of the archangels Michael and Gabriel. They have replaced the simple, dark red fabric curtains that had a cross and golden fringes.
The Law 3615 / 16-7-1928, F.E.K. 120 / 11-7-1928, vol. A’5 has turned Saint Paraskevi church in Rodavgi into a parish church, which operates as such until today.

Holy Monastery of “Kato Panaghia” (The nativity of Mary)

The Kato Panagia monastery, on the bank of the Arachthos river, lies at an altitude of 40m, at the foot of the hill Peranthi, south of Arta, on the provincial road of Arta-Kommeno that leads to the villages.
Dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin, it received the nickname “”Kato Panagia”” in recent years, probably distinguished from the church of Panagia Parigoritissa that dominates the city’s highest point. Older sources also referred to it as “”the Monastery on the way to the water fountain”” during the Ottoman period.

Foundation – dating-historical reports: It was built in the middle of the 13th century by the despot Michael II Komnenos Doukas, according to the oldest document, written by the monk Job Melias, a contemporary of the ruler and biographer of St. Theodora. According to the same written source, Michael II Doukas founded the monastery, together with the Virgin Mary Pantanassa monastery, as a sign of remorse for the adultery he committed and the exile of his wife, Theodora. The latter became later a saint and is now the patron saint of Arta. The despot Michael II is indicated as the Ktetor (founder) of the monastery by subsequent memoirs (short texts by anonymous authors referring to chronologies and important events) and a later inscription on the lintel of the northern entrance.
According to historical testimonies, the Nativity of the Virgin monastery’s foundation coincided with the Despotate of Epirus’ heyday and operated continuously over time. Seraphim Xenopoulos, Metropolitan of Arta in the 19th century, states that in the 15th century Sultan Bayezid II (1447-1512) was hosted in the monastery and ratified with a firman its property. In the 16th century, Patriarch Jeremiah II annexed the declining Virgin Mary Parigoritissa monastery to Kato Panagia as a metochion. A 1578 sigillium (official document) of the Patriarch mentions the event. The same source refers to the monastery as a men’s, royal, patriarchal monastery. A little later, in 1604, a sigillium of the Patriarch Raphael II annexed the monastery of the Holy Apostles to Kato Panagia.
The monastery’s property was at times vast as it possessed entire villages, salt pans, fish hatcheries, and even a port. It became the inhabitants’ refuge during the plague epidemic in 1816-1817, along with Vlacherna and Panagia (Theotokio) monasteries. Throughout the 19th century, it spent enormous sums for schools and educational institutions in Arta and Preveza provinces.
Travelers and scholars have studied the monument since the 18th century. The architect A. Orlandos wrote the first detailed study in 1936.

Architecture: According to its current form, the building complex of the Kato Panagia monastery, built on rocky sloping ground, is surrounded by a powerful enclosure and includes the katholikon, Saint Anna chapel, the cells and auxiliary buildings that frame the church, mainly on the southwest and north side.
The rectangular katholikon, dimensions 11.45×15.10m., belongs to the type of three-aisled, cross-roofed basilica with a dome. The aisles are divided by colonnades in the interior, and the sanctuary is three-parted (transverse walls with arched openings define the spaces). The sanctuary niches are three-sided, and their shape is distinct outside. The chancel’s central niche is larger with blunt sides, while the deaconry and Prothesis’ side niches are rectangular and lower.
Along the west side, an elongated narthex is not clearly separated from the main temple, apart from two pilasters protruding from the side walls. It is testified that there was also an exonarthex (the outer narthex of a church) in the past. The Russian traveler V. Grigorovich Barskij created the church’s first drawings in 1745, while A. Orlandos created his drawings in 1911, 1936. An excavation conducted in 2015 revealed the paved floor of the exonarthex and other architectural elements.
The temple is housed with arches. The central arch of the middle aisle intersects with the transverse and higher arch of the sanctuary. A rectangular dome rises at the point where they join. Externally, the housing creates many levels giving an image of variety.
The main entrance of the temple is in the southwest corner.
Masonry exterior decoration: The masonry was created by the Byzantine, Cloisonné technique when a series of plinths frame carved tufa stones and ancient material. The walls are decorated with rich ceramic decoration on the exterior, including brick inscriptions.
Interior decoration:
Sculptures: The colonnades that separate the aisles bear capitals and bases of the late Roman period, probably originating from buildings of Amvrakia. Many have been placed in reverse order, obviously following the aesthetic trends of the time.
Frescoes: The frescoes that cover the temple entirely are separated into three main phases.
The frescoes of the first phase date back to the church’s foundation in the 13th century. They are preserved in the deaconry and include iconographic themes such as Ancient of days, Christ in the temple at twelve years old, the bust of Christ, and full-body saints. The background of the scenes is deep blue, and the inscriptions are in capital letters. The representations of the deaconry belong to the rare groups of frescoes that date back to the time of the Despotate’s prosperity, which is why they are especially important.
Most of the iconographic program belongs to the second phase and dates back to 1715, according to an inscription that was on the exonathex’s entrance. We have the Ascension of Christ represented on the dome, and Christ depicted as “”Angel of the Great Counsel”” and “”in His Glory”” to the arch’s left and right. Saints in full-body and medals and scenes from the Dodecaort decorate the walls. Christ in the form of Emmanuel, High Priest, and Pantocrator, and scenes from the Divine Passion, the resurrection of Lazarus, Palm Sunday, etc., are also depicted.
According to an inscription, the third painting phase, dated in 1857, lies in the sanctuary’s niche, where Platytera (Our Lady of the Sign), angels in medals, and the Apostles’ society are depicted in tree zones.
Restoration, maintenance, and excavation work on the katholikon of Panagia monastery have occurred in various phases since the middle of the 20th century to this day.
Since 1956, Kato Panagia has been an active nunnery with remarkable community action.

Church of Aghios Dimitrios “Katsouri”

Saint Dimitrios Katsouris church lies in the plain of Arta, in the village of Plisioi, 5 km SW of the city, next to the small town of Kostakii.
It dates back to the first half of the 9th century and is the oldest mid-Byzantine monument of Arta.
Written reports-dating: An important written reference to the monument comes from a 1229 synodal letter of Ioannis Apokafkos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos. The hierarch informs us that the church was a famous monastery’s Katholikon (central church building), which was under his jurisdiction along with some other monasteries in the area. With the synodal decision, he gave their ownership to the bishop of Arta. The Patriarch Germanos II himself granted the Agios Dimitrios monastery since it was Stauropegic, subordinated to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate.
It is unknown from where the nickname “”Katsouri”” comes. It characterized, however, the monastery, at least from the beginning of the 13th century, when it was mentioned in the Apokafkos’ synodal letter. It seems that in the 13th century, the Agios Dimitrios monastic community enjoyed financial power, something that agrees with the prosperity of the Despotate at the same time. At the beginning of the 13th century, the church was frescoed for the first time.
There is not much information for later years. The monastery survived, probably until the 18th century, when it was dismantled. The temple underwent building interventions in the 19th and early 20th century and today is a churchyard.

Architecture: Agios Dimitrios Katsouris church is built in a rare variant of the cruciform inscribed type. At the intersection of the antennas of the cross rises a wide, cylindrical dome with a conical roof. The sanctuary’s eastern wall is covered by three semi-cylindrical niches, with the central one opening to the entire width of the sanctuary and occupying most of its height. Similarly, the side niches cut through most of the wall, following the smaller dimensions of the prosthesis and the deaconry. Double and single-pitched roofs cover the arches forming the temple’s roofs in the exterior.
D. Pallis characterized this church type as dromic, cruciform, inscribed, while P. Vokotopoulos named it an octagonal cruciform.
The narthex on the west side was added much later, in 1868, while the bell tower was built in 1911.

The temple’s dome rests on four massive, irregularly shaped columns in the interior. Bifora windows with marble columns in the center lie east and west between the dome’s pillars and the temple’s walls, another morphological peculiarity of this architectural type. The arc created inside emphasizes the church’s longitudinal axis and gives us the impression that the building is a basilica. This is why, after all, D. Pallis characterized it as dromic.
A trifora window used to open in the sanctuary’s arch, which is sealed today.
The temple was entered by three openings on the west side, of which the central one was downsized during the Turkish occupation, and the side openings became windows opening to the later narthex.
The irregular morphological elements of the monument are due to the remains of an older church, located in the same place, which the mid-Byzantine church incorporated.

Masonry-exterior decoration: The temple’s masonry consists of irregular stones inserted between scattered plinths. It is simple, without ceramic decoration, except for the jagged bands that adorn the dome’s perimeter, the central arch, and the upper parts of the walls under the roof.

Interior design:
Sculptural decoration: The colonnades of the bifora windows belong to the temple’s sculptural decoration. They are grooveless, except for the Ionian colonnade in the northwest window, and reused Ionic capitals dating to the Roman period lie on top of them. All capitals have unadorned imposts. Part of a marble architrave, which lies on the west wall above the northeast window, is dated at the same period.
The temple’s contemporary imposts on the arch’s trifora window are adorned with a cross with flattened edges. Similarly, the temple’s modern Ionic inherent impost-capital located on the south wall is a simplification of the type that dominated the 6th century. The simple decoration in the era of the temple’s foundation is probably due to Iconoclasm, which was then in its second and hardest phase.
The sculpted interior decoration also includes two later marble parapets with rich embossed decoration. They are adapted to the west side of the east pillars and must be related to the iconostasis’ phases after the 11th century. The first (0.94X0.63X0.18m) to the left of the Great Gate dates to the 11th century and bears a chained cross in a circle, surrounded by dense floral decoration. A reused part of a beveled cornice, coming from an architrave, is supported at the top of the parapet. There is another part of the same cornice above the lintel of the west entrance.
The second parapet (1.17X0.95X0.18m), to the right of the Great Gate, is even more interesting. It dates back to the beginning of the 13th century, the first phase of the church’s illustration, in the heyday of the Despotate. It is carved, according to the well-known Byzantine flat-carving technique, in which the figures are formed by carving the background. It depicts in the center an eagle holding a hare at its feet. The scene is placed inside a rhombus and surrounded by a richly decorated band. Traces of a mixture of wax, marble dust, and red color that decorated the scene can be found on the relief. The parapet has an attached cornice with a flowery waved band and a cross in the center.
The iconostasis of the temple was initially made of marble, and it was later built and then made of wood. Today, the iconostasis is built where the Prothesis and the deaconry are and wooden where the Chancel is.

Painting decoration: Although they are blackened, the church’s frescoes are extremely interesting for their artistic perfection and the way the iconographic composition of the first phase of the frescoes was created.

Phase A: The first frescoes date to the beginning of the 13th century, when the church was still under the Metropolis of Nafpaktos’ jurisdiction.
Part of the sanctuary’s painted decoration, the four evangelists on the dome’s pendentives, the representations of the Nativity and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple to the south of the main church, and all of the dome’s frescoes are preserved from this phase.
The iconography of the sanctuary that belongs to the first phase comprises five saints on the central niche wall (Epiphanios, Nikiforos, Vlasios, Modestos, Polykarpos) and the Society of the Apostles, which is largely covered by the same representation of the second phase. Representations in the area of the Deaconry most probably belong to the first phase, although it has been considered that it is either the work of a different painter or a different phase. Some of them are the sacrifice of Abraham, Panagia the Burning Bush, the three angels with the inscription “”Abraham’s Hospitality”” etc.
The iconography of the dome is of great interest. Christ the Pantocrator, whose form is partially preserved, is depicted in its center. Perimetric zones depicting angels and full-length prophets with scrolls follow. Among the angels, there is the inscription: “” ΚΕ ΠΡΟCΚΥΝΥCΑΤΩΣΑΝ ΑΥΤΟΝ ΠΑΝΤΕC ΑΓΚΕΛΥ Θ(Ε)ΟΥ””, which means that all of God’s angels kneeled before Him. However, the inscriptions on the scrolls kept by the prophets are of particular interest, which exudes a symbolic character combined with the iconographic composition. According to this view, the dome’s iconographic program contains symbolism that artistically depicts the vision of the despots of Epirus to recapture Constantinople from the Franks, due to whose occupation, in 1204, they had abandoned it. It is considered, in fact, that behind the inspiration for such an iconographic composition, we should imagine a personality of great spiritual caliber, perhaps Ioannis Apokafkos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos who at that time still had the monastery under his jurisdiction.

Phase B: The frescoes of the second phase date to the end of the 13th century and are the work of an important artist, as it introduces elements of the early Palaeologan Renaissance, which is a breakthrough in Byzantine painting. The figures are monumental and acquire volume. The folds of the fabrics are depicted more naturalistically, and the faces with greater expressiveness. The praying Mother of God with Christ in the sanctuary’s niche and the Society of the Apostles placed above the initial representation, Abraham’s hospitality in the deaconry, where the same representation of the previous painting phase is located, and other themes such as Palm Sunday, the Descent into Hell, the Annunciation, Christ “”in Another Form””, after the Resurrection, etc. are all scenes from the iconographic program of the second phase.

The frescoes of Agios Dimitrios Katsouris are of great value as they testify to the high artistic quality in both main phases and radiate the aura of the Despotate’s prosperity.

Church of Aghios Nikolaos of “Rodia”

The Byzantine church of “”Saint Nikolaos of Rodia”” is located 4 km away from the city of Arta, in the Kirkizates village. The temple’s nickname “”of Rodia”” had remained from the period it became the metochion (dependency) of Panagia Rodia or Rodon the Amaranton (Everlasting rose in Greek) monastery, which lied near Vigla village.
Research and dating: The historical evidence for the monument is sparse. The earliest reference was found in the 1884 “”Historical Essay on Arta and Preveza”” by Seraphim Xenopoulos, Metropolitan of Arta, in the 19th century. According to the research data, the temple’s foundation dates back to the beginning of the 13th century, and according to the excavations, it was founded on an older temple of the 9th or 10th century, as is the case with many other monuments in the area.
Until 1959, the monument was embedded for the most part, which contributed to its preservation. The church was thoroughly dealt with by the architect, Anastasios Orlandos, who gave the first design representation in 1936 and, after its excavation, proceeded with the restoration works. A new 2020 excavation outside the monument revealed the space between the temple and the perimeter to be a burial site.

Architecture: Agios Nikolaos of Rodia church is picturesque without having imposing volume or elaborate exterior decoration due to its small size and unique architectural elements. The monument has floor plan dimensions of 5.25 x 5.67 m. and is created in the two-column cruciform inscribed with a dome type. There are other parallels of this type in Arta’s monuments, such as, for example, the Red Church.
The three-part sanctuary is divided with walls that have arched openings adjoining the three spaces. The sanctuary’s eastern arch is rectangular, and the niches of the deaconry and the Prothesis are formed within the thickness of the wall. The main church roof consists of two arches that form a cross with an octagonal, high dome rising at the intersection of their antennas. An arch also houses the narthex, and double and single-pitched roofs externally cover the ceiling elements.
The church’s floor was embanked and located at a depth of 1 meter in a recent excavation carried out by the Ephorate of Antiquities.
The temple had an ambulatory and was entered by three gates, one on each side, west, north, and south. Today only the western entrance is used, as the rest have been walled up.

Sculpture decoration and Frescoes:
Both the sculpture and the painted decoration of the church of Agios Nikolaos of Rodia church are of particular interest, as they bear more similarities with monuments of the earlier, mid-Byzantine period than with those of the late Byzantine period of the establishment of the Despotate of Epirus.
The capitals of the columns inside the church are shaped like a conical frustum. All sides are richly decorated with embossed plant and animal motifs and crosses.
The painted decoration of the church is one of the rare painting sets that have survived from the beginning of the 13th century, the early period of the Despotate. Apart from its archaic, stylistic features, the iconographic program is also exceptional since the depicted subjects are found only on Mount Athos and the Vatican. The representation of the famous miracle of Agios Nikolaos, during which he calms the turbulent sea and saves the ship with which he traveled to Jerusalem, is rare. Other depicted scenes are the enthroned Virgin and Child in the sanctuary and the community of the Apostles that extends on its north and south walls. The Ascension of Christ in a medal held by four Angels, the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, the Old Man of the Days, the Presentation of Mary, etc., are illustrated on the same area. In the main church, we can see scenes from the Passion of Christ, the Dormition of the Mother of God, full-body saints, etc. The two representations with the seven children in Ephesus and the three children in the furnace that can be seen on the sides of the temple are rare in monumental painting. The life of Saint Nicholas is depicted on the narthex, while a griffin was revealed in the recent 2014-2015 exploratory works.
The scenes are projected in the deep-blue background, the inscriptions are written in capital letters, and the tall figures are strongly outlined and make restrained gestures.

Historical Bridge of Arta

Of the Bridge at Arta

Forty-five masons and apprentices sixty
were building a bridge across Arta’s river
All day long they founded it, at night it would fall.

The bridge of Arta is one of the most important Greek bridges, known for its architectural perfection and the master builder’s legend not only in Greece and the Balkans but also in other countries.
History: The Bridge’s history begins before Roman times, probably from the time of Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus (3rd century BC). The construction of its piers with large stones in the isodomic system (composed of stones of uniform size) reinforces this view. The oldest written reference is believed to come from Pliny (1st century AD). The yearly brief excavations that take place in the riverbed when its flow is interrupted are expected to reveal evidence, both for the location of the riverbed in antiquity and for the bridge itself.
Over the centuries, the bridge of Arta has undergone various repairs and additions. The last one took place in 1612, and its current form dates back between 1602 and 1606. According to Serafeim Xenopoulos, Μetropolitan of Arta in the 19th century, also known as Byzantinos, Ioannis Thiakogiannis or Gyftofagos, a grocer from Arta, undertook the bridge’s construction. The sponsor seems to have had a personal interest in the project since he was a merchant, and the easy passage of the Arachthos River would facilitate his activities.
Description: The bridge of Arta has today a total length of 142 m. and a width of 3.75 meters. The four arches are large, semicircular, and asymmetrical. The largest arch has an opening of 24 m and a height of 11.70m. The rest have width: 15.80, 15.40, and 16.20 m. and arch height, 9.00, 9.60, and 9.30 m, respectively.
Literature and legends: The legend of the master builder, who sacrificed his wife to set the bridge’s foundations, became the subject of many folklore studies and inspired many plays, operas, paintings, and engravings.
“”Ali’s plane tree”” lies at the bridge’s eastern end, and it is said that the fighters of 1821 were hanged there by Ali – Pasha of Ioannina, who sat in the tree’s shadow and enjoyed the macabre spectacle.
A traditional folk song refers to this story: “”-What ails you, poor plane-tree? Your roots drink their fill, yet your leaves hang lifeless.
-Ali Pasha has passed this way, and I can not drink.

Click to listen highlighted text!