Arts & Tradition

A large part of the identity of Epirus is preserved today in its traditions, manners and customs. Characteristic folkloric and traditional elements can be discerned in the architecture of the traditional settlements which differs from region to region, in the churches, the schools,and the monasteries, but also in the arts of gold and silversmithing, woodcarving, and weaving. The clear influences of folklore can be seen in literary writings and artworks, in the way of life of the inhabitants, and events that include feasts and festivals with folk music and, of course, traditional delicacies made with locally-sourced produce. Efforts to maintain these traditions have been made by people from the region who, with deep affection for their homeland and their various talents, are able to keep the history of the place alive.

There are historical museums such as the Museum of the Pre-Revolutionary Period, as well as the Agapios Tolis, Foinikio and Tsamanta Folklore Museums, and modern museums and galleries. They are all well-known for the exceptional collections they offer the visitor. A few of note are the Paul Vrellis Greek History Museum, a museum housing a collection of wax sculptures depicting scenes from Epirote history and the traditional way of life in the region, and the Theodoros Papagiannis Museum of Contemporary Art, with modern works referencing Epirus and its history.

The Folk Art Museum of Metsovo in the Averof-Tositsas manor house, housing an extensive collection of objects which reflect everyday life in Metsovo is also popular with visitors, as is the Averoff Museum of Neohellenic Art, which contains more than 200 works by great Greek painters of the 19th and 20th centuries. Similar collections which portray the life of the people of Ioannina and Epirus in general, are those of the Municipal Ethnographic Museum of Ioannina and the Kostas Frontzos Museum of Epirus Folk Art. Also noteworthy are the Skoufas and the Tzoumerka folklore museums, the exhibits of which recreate scenes from the daily life and activities of inhabitants from each region. The Lazaridis Folklore Museum is also of interest because of its collection of rare flora from the Vikos area. Noteworthy, too, is the Rizario Exhibition Centre in Monodendri, whose activities are focused not only on Greece, but also the wider region of the Balkans. With the events and exhibits it has hosted so far, it is gradually evolving into a centre for conservation of the photographic heritage and tradition.

Evidence of the culture of Epirus is to be found in its traditional arts and crafts, in the silver and goldsmithing, weaving and woodcarving, all of which are still actively pursued today, as well as in the music and words of its traditional songs, the belle lettres describing the beauty, nature and history of the region, the oft-told myths, legends, and fantastical stories that fascinate visitors.

 

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