The mythical river of Epirus……where all one’s senses awake in awe and amazement……is a place worth to symbolise life!
The triumph of Love over Death: Orpheus, son of the muse Calliope, was devastated by the death of his wife Eurudice. With his weeping lyre he achieved to move the king and queen of the dead, Hades and Persephone, and won himself a chance to claim the blossom of his heart back from the Kingdom of Silence. To do so, he had to cross the Acheron River, the watery border between Life and Death.
The river springs from the area known by the name of the village Glyki at an altitude of 1.600 metres in the mountains of Souli and discharges in the area of Ammoudia on the Ionian coast. On its way, it passes through wonderful gorges, proud and audacious precipices, endless landscapes of peace and handsomeness, and it forms some ponds and lakes here and there; and all that under the surveillance of age-old plane trees. And, of course, the habitat of such a unique place is a member of the Natura 2000 network.
Plane trees bending over gurgling fountains seem to be begging for water, exhausted as they are by the load of climbing plants that endure eternity by clinging to the trees’ trunks. Snow white limestone rocks lie on the bed of the river, where thick ferns lounge around. Dominated by nuances of green, exciting paths stretch along the river; at times they cross it, as they tread on arched rocky bridges. At a certain point the river narrows between green-clad steep high cliffs that seem to be forming an enormous gate through which the water of the river rushes fiercely; no wonder the legendary name of the spot is “The Gate to the Underworld”. Two of the most impressive and stirring trails are Glyki-Skala Tzavelenas and Skala Tzavelenas- the Souli plateau.
Alternative tourism goes mythical
• Horse-riding at Piges
• Paragliding at Paramythia
• Rafting, kayak, canoe-kayak at Stena(=where the river narrows)
• Mountain-bike along the river
• Canyoning at Stena
• A caique mini cruise at the Acheron estuary
• Swimming in the cold waters of the river
• Scuba-diving and water sports in Ammoudia
Nearby treasures to be discovered
• The historical villages of Souli
• The cosmopolitan but scenic Parga
• The necromantic oracle of Acheron
• The remains and the Museum of the Ancient Nikopolis
• The Ancient Kassiope
• The Ancient Theatre of Dodoni
• The town of Preveza
Getting there – Accommodation
The area is accessible by car through motorways. Once you get there, enjoy the hospitality of the people of Glyki, Paramythia and Ammoudia. Parga and Syvota are the optimum choices for the summer.
Acheron – the river of woe
Its springs are located in Ioannina, on the mount Tomaros at an altitude of 1600 m. The river runs through Preveza and Thesprotia and flows into the Ionian sea, in the village Ammoudia. Its name comes from the Greek word “achos”, which means grief indicating death.
Acheron – Mythology
In ancient Greek mythology, Hermes Necropompos was fulfilling his important function of conducting the shades of the dead from the upper to the lower world. Each soul had to pay a coin for passage and those who could not pay the fee, or those whose bodies were left unburied, had to wander the shores for one hundred years.
At the meeting point of the rivers Acheron, Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus was located the ancient oracle of Acheron, where the faithful came to talk with their dead ancestors. Acheron, Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus were the rivers of the Greek underworld (Acheron = sorrow/woe, Pyriphlegethon = flaming, Cocytus = lamentation) and symbolized the grief and mourning of death.
During Titanomachy, titans drank water from river Acheron, which caused the rage of Zeus who blackened and embittered the waters.
According to folklore tradition, the water of the river was getting bitterer as a ghost (monster), which lived in its springs, poisoned its water.
St. Donatus, Bishop of Evorea, identifiable with Paramythia in Epirus, killed the monster and its water became sweetIt has been characterized as “an area of special beauty” and a source of significant information and knowledge on environmental education.
The river narrows, the springs and the broader area belong to the European Network of Protected Areas NATURA 2000.