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PRESS RELEASE Greek and Foreign Journalists Tour the Ancient Theatres of Epirus Cultural Route

Source; Region of Epirus (in Greek)

As part of its “Networking and Promoting Tourism in the Region of Epirus” project, the Region of Epirus implemented its first Combined Campaign on “Culture-Gastronomy” along the country’s first Cultural Route, which tours the Region. Focusing on the Ancient Theatres of Epirus, on October 14-16, journalists from Greece and abroad (England, Germany, Italy, Israel) visited the Small Theatre of Amvrakia, Ancient Nikopolis, the Nikopolis Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Theatre of Gitana and the Ancient Theatre of Dodona. There, they visited the region’s archaeological treasures and were informed of projects to enhance and promote them currently underway. Of particular interest was the “impromptu” visit to the Church of Panagia Paregoretissa in Arta, the city’s most significant Byzantine monument.

The presentation of this innovative project, a Cultural Route through five ancient theatres, was made by Mrs. Georgia Kitsaki and Mr Aristotelis Stagikas, representatives of Epirus SA, the route’s Destination Marketing and Management Organization. As Mr Stagikas pointed out, “this is the first organized effort at sustainable development focusing on the monuments, which aspire to be the heart of a branded destination. Connecting our cultural heritage with the environment and the region’s landscapes, gastronomy, small and large companies in the tourism sector and agri-food, allows visitors to get to know Epirus’ hidden treasures.”

The Deputy Regional Governor of the Regional Unit of Preveza, responsible for the tourist development of Epirus, Mr Stratos Ioannou, stressed that the tour for the journalists is part of the Region of Epirus’ strategic planning for the promotion of Tourism, Culture, Gastronomy and Local Products. The Region was the first to implement such a strategy on an extended nationwide level, a strategy which has now been adopted as the official policy of the Ministry of Tourism. This approach is ideally served by the Ancient Theatres of Epirus Cultural Route, which is the only one of its kind in Greece and is being implemented in close cooperation with the DIAZOMA Association.

The Deputy Regional Governor of the Regional Unit of Thesprotia, Mr Thomas Pitoulis, stated that “the Ancient Theatres of Epirus Cultural Route was the launchpad for the restoration, enhancement and promotion of archaeological sites that had lain dormant and will contribute decisively to the promotion of cultural tourism and the Regional Unit of Thesprotia”.

The Thematic Deputy Regional Governor, Ms Anastasia Simou-Tasiou, who welcomed the journalists in Arta, said: “By implementing such actions, the Region of Epirus aims to attract visitors who seek a comprehensive holiday experience in Epirus, a region that offers something for every season. Nature, culture and gastronomy based on local products are the pillars for Epirus’ tourism development.”

On this tour combining culture, tourism, and synergies with businesses producing local products, the Greek and foreign journalists visited Father Vasileios Roussas’ organic olive grove by the Ambracian Gulf. They tasted traditional dishes based on local produce in Arta and Preveza. They also learned to roll local pastry dough in Zagori to bake their own galatopita (milk pie) guided by the Gastronomy Club of Epirus, which then hosted a lunch for the journalists with Ancient Greek and Byzantine dishes.

Directorate of Lifelong Learning, Trade and Tourism of the Region of Epirus Director Ms Ioulia Markoula welcomed the journalists in Zagori and informed them about the objectives of this action implemented by the Region. As she pointed out, “the Ancient Theatres of Epirus Cultural Route, of which we are very proud, is an innovative holistic programme which connects Epirus’ monuments with local entrepreneurship and primary sector production in the region. Moreover, it will contribute to developing a new tourism product that will bring visitors from many different countries to the region.”

The Combined Campaign was a comprehensive journey through cultural and gastronomic experience, which made a great impression on the guest journalists, who did not hide their admiration for Epirus’ archaeological wealth.

The visits to the Ancient Theatres were assisted by the Ephorates of Antiquities of Ioannina, Arta, Preveza and Thesprotia.