- Epirus (periphery)
Infobox Peri GR
name = Epirus
name_local = Περιφέρεια Ηπείρου
prefec = Arta
population = 358698
population_as_of = 2005
area = 9203
website = [http://www.roe.gr www.roe.gr]
Epirus (Greek: Ήπειρος, "Ípiros"), is a periphery in northwestern
Greece. It borders the peripheries of West Macedoniaand Thessalyto the east, "Stereá Elláda" ( Central Greece) to the south, the Ionian Seaand the Ionian Islandsto the west and Albaniato the north. The province has an area of about 9,200 km² (3,551 square miles). It is part of the wider historical region of Epirus, which overlaps modern Albaniaand Greecebut mostly lies in Greek territory.
Geography and ecology
Greek Epirus, like the region as a whole, is rugged and mountainous.It comprises the land of the ancient
Molossiansand Thesprotians[Badlands-Borderland: A History of Southern Albania/Northern Epirus by T.J. Winnifrith,ISBN-10: 0715632019,2003,Page 8,"... The Thesprotians lived in the western part of what is now Greek Epirus, the Molossians in the rest of Greek Epirus, and the Chaonians in the southern section of Southern Albania...."] and a small part of the land of the Chaoniansthe greater part being in Southern Albania. It is largely made up of mountainous ridges, part of the Dinaric Alps. The periphery's highest spot is on Mount Smolikas, at an altitude of 2.637 metres above sea level. In the east, the Pindus Mountainsthat form the spine of mainland Greece separate Epirus from Macedonia and Thessaly. Most of Epirus lies on the windward side of the Pindus. The winds from the Ionian Sea offer the region more rainfall than any other part of Greece.
The Vikos-Aoos and Pindus National Parks are situated in the
Ioannina Prefectureof the periphery. Both areas have imposing landscapes of dazzling beauty as well as a wide range of faunaand flora.
The climate of Epirus is mainly alpine. The vegetation is made up mainly of coniferous species. The animal life is especially rich in this area and includes, among other species,
bears, wolves, foxes, deerand lynxes.
Epirus has few resources or industries and its rugged terrain makes agriculture difficult. Sheep and goat
pastoralismhave always been an important activity in the periphery (Epirus provides more than 45% of meat to the Greek market) but there seems to be a decline in recent years. Tobaccois grown around Ioannina, and there is also some farmingand fishing, but most of the area's food must be imported from more fertile regions of Greece. Epirus is home to a number of the country's most famous dairy products' brands, which produce fetacheese among others.
Around 350,000 people live in Epirus. According to the 2001 census, it has the lowest population of the 13
peripheries of Greece. This is partly due to the impact of repeated wars in the 20th century as well as mass emigrationdue to adverse economic conditions. The capital and largest city of the region is Ioannina, where nearly a third of the population lives. The great majority of the population are Greeks, but the province also includes one of Greece's largest concentrations of Aromanians, people who tend to identify with the Greek population. Greece does not officially recognize minorities other than the Greek Muslim minorityin Thrace, therefore it is difficult to estimate the size of the Aromanian populations.
According to research conducted by a Romanian ethnographer in 1994, native Albanian is dying fast, and attempts to find Albanian-speakers in the region proved unsuccessful [http://www.farsarotul.org/nl17_1.htm] . Nonetheless, there are reported to be native Albanian-speakers in Epirus who use the self-identifying term "Shqiptar" ("Albanian" in the Albanian language) [http://greekhelsinki.gr/english/reports/arvanites.html] .
The delineation of the border between Greece and Albania in 1913 left a number of Albanian-populated villages on the Greek side of the border (and the Greek-populated villages and cities in the region called
Northern Epiruson the Albanian). Some Albanians view this territory as part of a region that they call Chameria( Thesprotiain Greek), formerly parts of it were populated by a minority, the Cham Albaniansalong with the majority ethnic Greeks.
* [http://www.epirus.gov.gr Official site Region of Epirus]
* [http://www.paramythia-online.gr The historical city of Epirus]
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