The region

The Tzoumerka region has been inhabited since the Neolithic . At various times these towering limestone peaks and massifs have been home to cave dwellers, a barrier between warring Hellenic tribes, a refuge for revolutionaries during the Greek war of independence from the Ottomans, and a centre of resistance against invasions both ancient and modern. The extensive mountain uplands provided rich summer grazing which led to the mountain towns becoming poweful both politically and economically. The remoteness and majesty of the peaks and canyons attracted hermits and monks wishing to avoid worldly things and to be closer to God. The architecture and culture of the area reflect this history.  

Ruins of buildings, of bridges, of aqueducts, of monasteries small and large, humble or grand, unpreserved, un-signposted, largely unvisited, await the inquisitive explorer. Many chapels and monasteries are maintained and open to visitors. Recently there has been sensitive restoration of many of the attractive mountain villages which emptied out and decayed during the urbanisation period in Greece that followed WWII.

The name Tzoumerka comes from "Tzoumes" (hard stone crowns) and "erkos" (wall).

The 2000 metre range, whose highest point is Katafidi at 2400m, was a formidable barrier to travellers, traders, and kings and their armies.

 According to legend, King Athamas exiled himself to this remote fastness lying between the two River Gods Acheloos and Arachtos, pursued by the goddess Ira .

The Arachtos River was once the border between Greece and the Ottoman Empire, and the hotel takes its name from the Customs Post (Teloneio) that used to stand at the end of the graceful arch of the nearby Plaka Bridge. The Tzoumerka region was a major centre of commerce. As a consequence it was a social, artistic and political hub, and the birthplace of many renowned Greeks.

During the Second World War, the area was a base for Greek opposition organizations, and a very concrete reminder of that period is the "bump" in the smooth curve of the old bridge where a shell struck but did not destroy this lovely structure. The Treaty of Plaka was signed at the customs post in 1944 by opposing factions in the Greek civil war.

One can still see shepherds moving small flocks of sheep and goats out to the common lands in the mornings, and see over stone walls the lovingly tended gardens of the villagers; neat  rows of potatoes, and beans, tomatoes, and corn, and small fields of wheat which may still be ground into flour by a water-driven mill.

 

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.teloneio.gr/en/the-area.html#sigProGalleriabfddc2a65c