#218 Church of Saint George (Vourgareli)

Location

It is located surrounded by a dense fir forest in the north of the village and is the crown of Vourgareli, as well as one of the major attractions of Tzoumerka.

(http://www.peartas.gov.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=71:2011-06-15-09-59-47&catid=24:2011-06-10-06-29-15&Itemid=27)

 

Construction Data

It is a single-aisled vaulted basilica with an octagonal dome and a vaulted narthex that it is very similar to the architectural characteristics with the Chrysospiliotissa church of Gouriana.

Internally the church is full of frescoes of 1714, as evidenced by the inscription written above the door of the nave leading to the narthex. The most important of the heirlooms of the monastery, is the 1859 silver reliquary with relics of many saints.

The frescoes that adorn the temple are estimated to date from 1714, while the cells are probably later constructions.


Historical Data

The monastery has its roots back to the 18th century and its present condition is characterized as excellent because it was preserved almost intact over the centuries. Possible date of foundation is considered to be in 1690 or a little later.



The monastery flourished in the mid-19th century. The determining factor was the humanitarian work of the monastery, since it is said that it had given significant amounts to schools in the area to continue their work undisrupted.

During the Turkish occupation, but also the German occupation it was the spiritual and religious centre of the whole region of Tzoumerka. The historical importance of the monastery lies in the raising of the flag of the revolution of 1821 by the chieftains of Tzoumerka and Radovizia, Georgios Karaiskakis Gogos Bakolas, Koutelidas, Iskos, Ragos, Koutsonikas and others. Thus the monastery of Agios Georgios in Vourgareli became the Agia Lavra of Epirus.

But also during the Occupation, they Vourgareli residents found refuge here when the Germans bombed and burned the village in 1943.

In 1957 it was considered a protected historical monument.

Additional information of historical, cultural and tourism interest

The "proud Tzoumerka" as mentions characteristically the folk music tradition, generously offer visitors wealth of pictures and colors. They usually are haracterized by the changes in the landscape and the towering snow-capped mountains. They have unspoilt natural environment and rich cultural tradition, a variety of historical monuments (archaeological sites, oracles) and museums. The traditional villages, the manners and customs, the hospitality, the traditional music and gastronomy, meet the requirements of even the most demanding visitor. The region of Central Tzoumerka has common historical, social, economic and cultural characteristics, but each village gives its own touch, its own distinctive feature, thus completing the fantastic mosaic called Tzoumerka.

In the villages one can find antiquities (remains of city walls, tombs etc.), Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments (monasteries, churches), stone bridges (Bridge of Plaka, Bridge in Chatzigiannaiika (Athamanio), Neraidogefyro (in Voulgareli) etc, houses (ie. the Koulies in Theodoriana) and pre-industrial buildings, eg. Watermill (property of Kafkas) in the settlement of Potamia, Watermill - Nerotrivi - Mantania in Agnanta etc. From the monasteries-churches indicative are mentioned the following: The Red Church, the Church of Faneromeni, the Ascension Church and the Church of Panagia in Agnanta, the Church of Saint Michael and Gabriel in Mikrospilia, Church of St. John in Vatatsi settlement, while there are many more remarkable churches-monasteries to visit.



Regarding the museum collections, there are in Central Tzoumerka the Agricultural Museum in Perama (in Distrato), the "Folk Art and Life Museum", life work of Pantelis Karalis (in Kipseli), the stone built Folklore Museum (former school building) and a photography exhibition in Tetrakomo.

Tzoumerka, besides the historical and cultural interest, have gained in recent years a loyal tourism audience, visiting the area and the multitude of sports, outdoor activities offered. Hiking, Cycling trails, rafting and Kayak (in Arachthos and in the artificial lake Pournari, respectively), riding (next to Arachtos or Voulgareli) are just some of the activities in which lovers of alternative tourism can indulge.



Also, of the most adventurous mountain activities is certainly paragliding, parapente, while there is also a Moto-Cross track in Filothei of Arta, where sometimes competitions are organized.

Finally, the area of Tzoumerka has many shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels and rooms to let, traditional market, shops selling local products and handicrafts, thereby satisfying the requirements of the most demanding visitor.