Dilofo

Photo of Dilofo C. Zagoriou

Dilofo is a mountainvillage in the region of Ioannina and belongs to the so called Zagoriavillages in the provence of Epirus, in the northwest area of Greece. Located at an altitude of 900 meters on the slopes of Mount Timfis, Dilofo belongs to the municipality of central Zagori and counts according to the last census of 2001 39 inhabitants who are predominantly engaged in farming and tourism.

Dilofo is situated 32 kilometers north of Ioannina and is easy to be found as long as one pays attention to the signposting since the village is not visible from the road. The fact that it is prohibited for cars to enter the village makes Dilofo stand out from other picturesque villages of Zagori since the original character has been preserved. The whole village has been characterized as a protected monument where only restoration of existing buildings and alleys is allowed.

The original name of the village until 1920 was Sopotseli, this name comes from the Slavonic and means "place rich in water". The current form of the village was created during the 18th century, and was formed by five small estates (machalades) which over the course of time were combined.

Sights include the picturesque alleys, small churches and mansions including the highest building of the Zagoria villages, 13.5 meters high. According to legend, the son of a rich inhabitant of the village built this house for his wife from the nearby village of Koukouli who was homesick. In this way she could see from her window her own village. Only a few of the mansions are now inhabited. Other buildings which distinguish themselves are the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary at Assumption built in 1850. Here candles were bearnt for family who moved abroad to wish them a save return home. There are also various chapels and monasteries such as the monastery of the Virgin Mary, Savior, the holy Paraskevi and others. The old municipal school is situated next to the village square. The stone walls along the cobbled streets made sure that prying eyes of outsiders could not reach the courtyards of the houses.

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