The name Zagori derives from the Slavic intent "Za" that means behind and the accusative of the noun "gora" that means mountain. So that name means "area behind the mountain". It is a translation of the ancient name of region, «Paroraia», meaning «behind the mountain», from Slavic tribes who fell in the 6th century.
Zagorohoria constitute a unique residential, historical and cultural unity of 46 villages north of the basin of Ioannina, in the north-western edge of Pindos. The physical boundaries are mountain Mitsikeli on the south side, river Aoos on north, the mountains of Ligou on the east and the mountain Timfi on the west.
Zagori, geographically, is divided into three sections: the Central, West and East Zagori with twenty, ten and sixteen villages respectively.
Today Zagorohoria maintains their cultural heritage in an effort to continue the traditions and customs of the region. The particular architecture, the traditional music, the natural beauty, the wild beauty of the mountains and rich flora and fauna of the region are those characteristics that distinguish it.
In the region of Zagori is developed a unique architecture, based on the abundance of stone and wood. The architecture of Zagori is a good example of imitation of the nature by human. The habitants of Zagori had to face the harshness of the climate and space. A constant struggle characterized the relations between human and the area. So, the houses are very tied to the landscape, the mentality and lifestyle of local residents.
The house of Zagori has a defensive nature of the adverse weather conditions and of the strikes - robberies. It is mainly two-storey or three, with a simple shape without any special decoration on the external surfaces. The roof stones have the same texture and colour as the walls stones.
All villages in the area of Zagori are self-centered. The Mesochori (or square) of the village is the center of the village. It is the threshold that separates the village to the up and down neighbourhood. Usually near the square there is the central church of the village, the cafes and the village's school. All streets and all the stone paths lead there.
In each square there is a tree, and that is a rule for every village in Zagorohoria. Under its cool shade take place all cultural events culminating during the feast of the village.
The rough area in conjunction with the many rivers and streams, especially during the winter months, made obligatory the construction of bridges. The golden age of Zagori allowed wealthy families to finance expensive and sometimes unsuccessful ventures connecting villages. Today, some 60 bridges survive in very good condition but there are reports of one hundred others who have been destroyed.
The monasteries and churches in Zagori follow their architecture and are built with materials of the region, as stone and wood. The buildings travel us back in time, since they are chronologically earlier than the common houses or mansions which are met in the villages. Characteristic common feature of temples is shed abroad in large arches, forming a kind of antecedent to protect the faithful people from the winter weather. In many churches of monasteries, the door is too short and it is an often structure in order to prevent the invaders from the profane to enter the sacred area with their horse, as usual.
The National Park of Vikos - Aoos founded in 1973 to protect the rich wildlife that stretches from the gorge of Vikos up to the gorge of the river Aoos and the mountainous area of the mountain Tymfi.
Within the limits of the park are some of the main villages of Zagorochoria with a rich history and cultural tradition. These are Monodendri, Vikos and Megalo (big) and Mikro (small) Papingo. Perimeter of the Park there are six other villages of Zagoria as Aristi, Agios Minas, Vitsa, Kapesovo, Vradeto and Vrisohori and other villages that does not belong to Zagorochoria as Konitsa, Kallithea and Klidonia.
The Park is one of the most impressive geological formations in Greece, with five caves, with the second largest in the world, chasm of Provatina (ewes) with 407 m depth.
The rich fauna of the Park today include ten amphibian species. Twenty species of reptiles, one hundred and thirty species of birds and twenty-four species of mammals, with the largest brown bear (Ursus Arctos), the wild boar (Sus Scrofa), the deer (Apreolus Capreolus), the wolf (Canis Lupus), the wild goat (Rupicarpa Balanika) and the otter (Lutra Lutra).
The Park is important, as well, for its flora. With the arrival of spring forests, streams, alpine meadows and rocks fill with wildflowers, beautiful aromas colours. In the forest there are over 1700 species and subspecies of plants. Among them are five endemic species, 19 endemic species of Greece and a large number of plants that are rare, protected or with a special scientific importance.
Also, there are three gorges: the gorge of Vikos with 12 km length, in some areas the vertical height is up to 900 meters, the gorge of Vikaki and of Aoos, which is located between the mountains Trapezitsa and Gamila and have 10 km length.