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Legendary Epirus Bridge Set to be Restored

The Plaka Bridge, Zagori, northern Greece. Photo Source: Ministry of Culture – copyright Athens Macedonia News Agency / STR

A historic single arch bridge dating back to the 18th century in the Zagori region of Northern Greece, which collapsed due to torrential rains in 2015, is set to be restored in the coming period after the Infrastructure Ministry named a contractor for the project.

Speaking at special ceremony marking the deal, Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis said it was a historic moment for the Epirus Region and for Tzoumerka, as it demonstrates the “unity of Greek society’s healthy forces”, which include municipal and regional authorities, local bodies as well as the culture and economy ministries, which all contributed to the effort.

Relevant parties sign the contract for the restoration of the Plaka bridge. Photo Source: Photo Sourcee: Ministry of Culture - copyright Athens Macedonia News Agency / STR

The relevant parties sign the contract for the restoration of the Plaka bridge. Photo Source: Ministry of Culture – copyright Athens Macedonia News Agency / STR

The government had previously announced that it was allocating 4,750,000 euros for the repair, restoration and reinforcement of the Plaka Bridge, which is considered to be the largest stone-built bridge in the Balkans, declared a preserved historical monument in 1972 and one of the widest in Greece, crafted by local master Kostas Bekas in 1866. The 40-meter-long bridge stood some 20 meters above of the Arachthos River, serving in the past the villagers from the Tzoumerka region.

“This moment is not only symbolic but also very substantial, as it marks the successful completion of the first phase and the beginning of the final phase for the restoration of the monument… which will serve in the future as testimony for generations to come,” said newly appointed Culture Minister Myrsini Zorba.

As a final note, Spirtzis went on to add that the successful restoration of the Plaka Bridge will pave the way for other similar projects which safeguard Greek heritage including the reconstruction of the Korakou Bridge near Konitsa. Built in 1514-1515 over the Acheloos River, the single-arched stone bridge “Korakogiofyri” was blown up in 1949 during the Greek Civil War.

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