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Southern Epirus (Ipiros) Page 3


village of pargaParga is about 50km south of Igoumenitsa, and is one of the most visited coastal resorts on the Ipirot coast, and for good reason.

A Venetian kastro sits up above the slope covered with houses, and the beaches below the town are beautiful, along with rocky islets offshore, the largest of which is a 200 meter swim from the shore.

From the 14th to 18th centuries Parga was the only Venetian holding in Ipiros, though the Venetians controlled the Ionian islands across the water. A community of Jews here exported citron fruit (large pale fruit that resembles lemons, but which have little juice) to western Europe for liturgical use.

area mapThe town was also under the French thumb during Napoleonic times, but only for a short time. During the early 19th century, Parga was independent for a time, and thrived from the export of olives, was later acquired by the British who sold it to Ali Pasha, upon which the locals, knowing all about this rather barbaric character, removed themselves to the Ionian islands.

Muslims took their place there, but were forced to leave in 1923, with the compulsory 'population exchange', upon which Orthodox Greeks from Constantinople were settled in Parga.

Predictably, this place has gotten too popular, and concrete apartments have spread around the edges of this idyllic once-simple fishing village, this during the last decade and a half.

The neighboring village of Anthoussa has also been victim to tourism. This town has many tavernas and rooms, as well as a castle of its own, though smaller than the one in Parga, and illuminated at night to please the tourists. Needless to say, these villages get packed to the gills during peak season.

One place to escape the crowds is up top at the kastro, which is open all day (no admission). A long flight of steps leads up to it, and there are wonderful views from there, as one might expect, as wellas some cypress trees. The beaches are along three bays, which all fill up in high season.

From a long ramp that leads from the kastro gate, one can walk to Valtos beach, which is more than a kilometerlong and which ends up eventually at the village of the same name. In the other direction (southeast), is another very big beach, Lykhnos, which can be reached via a shortcut through the olive orchards.

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