Historic Plaka Bridge in Epirus ‘Up and Standing’
The historic single-arch bridge of Plaka, in the northern Greece region of Epirus, which collapsed due to torrential rains in 2015, is up and standing after extensive repair, restoration and reinforcement works.
Located in Epirus’ famed Zagori region, the 18th century bridge was reconstructed with local stone and mud using the building technique of the master craftsmen who first erected it.
The infrastructure ministry had announced that it would be allocating 4,750,000 euros for the restoration of the monument, 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. It is located some 50km from Ioannina.
Former infrastructure minister Christos Spirtzis had pledged last year that the restoration of the Plaka Bridge would 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.
It should be noted that for the restoration of the Plaka bridge, research and planning were carried out jointly by the ministries of the economy, culture and infrastructure, the Epirus Region, the National Technical University of Athens, the Technical Chamber of Greece and the Tzoumerka Municipality.
Works were overseen by architects Christos Iliopoulos and Alexander Papakostopoulos.