Agios Donatos Zervochoriou

A case study of a fortress in Thesprotia, Northwestern Greece.

The northwestern corner periphery of modern Greece is known as Epirus, the Mainland (Hammond 1967: 5).

It is an area bordered in modern terms by the Ionian sea in the west, Albania in the north, peripheries of Macedonia, Thessaly and Aetolia in the eastern parts and the Ambrakian Gulf in the south. One of the four prefectures of Epirus is called Thesprotia, it in turn being located between the prefectures of Nikopolis in the south, Ioannina in the east, the state border of Albania in the north and the Ionian Sea in the east.

The prefecture has been named after the Thesprotoi, one of the tribes who inhabited the area in Antiquity. In Thesprotia there are two major rivers, the Acheron in the south and the Kalamas in the north, in between which there flows the river Kokytos.
Kokytos flows roughly from north to south in a fertile valley, through the municipalities of Paramythia and Acheronta, finally confluencing into river Acheron and thence to the Ionian Sea in Phanari Bay at Ammoudhia.

Both the eastern and western sides of the Kokytos valley are bound by mountain ranges, with the high Paramythias range in the east and a nameless, lower mountain range to the west. The foothills of the Paramythias mountains are occupied by a number of fortified sites. On one of these foothill ridges near the modern village of Zervochori there stands a small chapel known as Agios Donatos Zervochoriou, named after the local patron saint Saint Donatos. Around the chapel the hillside is strewn with remains of an ancient fortress, of which nothing really is known – in the maps the ridge doesn't even have a name except that of the 17th century chapel.

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Author: Pro. Gradu, University of Helsinki

Article and Image Source:

Pro. Gradu, University of Helsinki







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