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Photographer's Note

Pindos is the biggest mountain range of Greece, stretching from the Greek-Albanian borders (NW) to the northern Peloponnese (SE). It is roughly 160 km long (100 miles) and is considered the backbone of mainland Greece.

The small town of Metsovo and other villages are also home to the Wallachian people. The Vlachs, or Wallachians are related to the Romanians, speaking a similar language. In the case of Metsovo and this area of Greece they are called Aromanians. Their language is a mix of mostly Latin, with a bit of Greek, Bulgarian, Albanian, Macedonian and some other Balkan dialects. Some Scholars believe they are the descendants of Roman legionnaires.

During the Ottoman rule the Vlachs were mostly shepherds and in return for guarding the mountain passes were given special privileges including a reduction in taxes. This enabled the people of Metsovo to amass more property and capital than other towns under the Ottomans, as well as be more self-governing which led to social and economic growth, a higher degree of education and a successful merchant class that put money back into the community. Businessmen from Metsovo had trading companies and agents in many of the important commercial centers of the Balkans, Russia and in particular Alexandria, Egypt. Nowadays you can't tell the Vlachs from the Greeks as the younger generations have been educated in the Greek system and intermarriage has diluted the Vlach blood in the local population.

Geologically speaking, the Pindos mountains are the extension of the European Alps on Greek grounds, as the formation of this volcanic mountain range dates to 65.000.000 years ago. The beautiful mountains of Pindos are morphologically enriched with steep slopes and deep canyons, while four long rivers stem from them (Arachthos, Aoos, Acheloos, Pinios). The Pinios river, flowing by the region of Meteora, is the third longest river of Greece (216 km).

The highest peak of the Pindos mountain range is called Smolikas and its elevation is 2637 m (8651ft). The mountains of Pindos allow for the formation of vast ecological zones such as the Valia Calda National Park, which is a protection zone for rare species of mammals, brown bears, wolves and deers. Vegetation-wise, they are forested with oak, fir, beech and pine.

partial quote: https://www.greecetravel.com/ipiros/metsovo/index.htm

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Additional Photos by Alex Fan Moniz (LondonBoy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 91 W: 0 N: 566] (2368)
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