Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas: About the Destination

Located in Aristi, Greece

Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas is located in the Pindus Mountains, which stretch from the remote reaches of northern Greece into southern Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The range’s peaks are preserved in two national parks—Pindus and Vikos-Aoos—the latter of which is home to the Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world. Scattered throughout the foothills of the Pindus are 46 stone-and-slate towns that were once Ottoman-era trading posts, connected to one another by mule tracks and arched stone bridges. Now a network of hiking trails, the paths take visitors deep into one of the wildest and most untamed parts of Greece.

Wildlife and Natural History

The Pindus Mountains are a range of steep peaks split by deep ravines and sculpted into karst formations. Valley floors and foothills are punctuated by mirror-like alpine lakes and blanketed by beech and chestnut trees, which transition to pine forests at higher elevations. More than 4,000 plant species have been identified in the region—some of which are found on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Plants—and the rate of floral endemism exceeds 35 percent in some spots. Animal inhabitants include brown bears, wolves, and jackals, and large breeding colonies of herons, egrets, and spoonbills congregate around the mountain lakes.

People and Culture

The Zagori region was mostly uninhabited until the early 13th century, when Byzantine nobles settled here after fleeing a Crusader-conquered Constantinople. With the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, the people of Zagori were given autonomy in exchange for sending youth to Constantinople for government work. Zagori towns enjoyed prosperity during this time, but eventually declined with the fall of the empire. During World War II and the Greek Civil War, many towns were badly damaged and left deserted. But after 1949, former residents began to return, thanks to reconstruction initiatives, and the villages are once again bustling with lively Zagorians who cherish the past as they embrace the future.

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