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On Sept. 20, 1926, the Greek violinist Alexis Zoumbas recorded one of the most devastating bits of music I’ve ever encountered.

A Ioannina, une autre Grèce se révèle, verdoyante, orientale et méconnue. Capitale provinciale et ville estudiantine, c’est ici que bat le coeur de l’Epire, au bord d’un lac paisible où se mirent les montagnes toutes proches. Jadis carrefour commercial entre l’Italie, la Russie et l’empire ottoman, elle a brassé les cultures et nourri des légendes qui se racontent encore dans son architecture.

Today, the villages of the Zagori are 46 in number, shared out among Central, Western and Eastern Zagori. Vitsa, a village of the Central Zagori, officially  designated as a ‘traditional’ settlement of particular historical, architectural and ecological interest, is one of the most typical villages of the Zagori, a region unique not only in Greece but also in Europe for its history and culture, and for its natural features.

Drakolimni (Greek: Δρακολίμνη, Dragon lake) is the name of several alpine or sub-alpine lakes in northwestern Greece Epirus region: the ones in mountain Tymfi and Smolikas are the most widely known. According to local folktales the lakes used to be inhabited by dragons who fought each other by throwing pines and rocks and thus created the peculiar landscape and gave their names to the lakes

As I wound my way up a wildflower-strewn path along Greece’s dizzying Vikos gorge, I had to keep stopping, just to drink in its sheer scale. Forested mountains stretched into the distance – the craggy peaks still topped with snow – and the clear waters of the Voidomatis river whooshed by below. I hadn’t seen another soul for hours. In a country so blessed with ancient ruins, islands and beaches, people tend to forget about Greece’s mountains as a holiday option.