KATOUNA: A BEAUTIFUL TRADITIONAL
FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE PRESENT
Katouna was, until recently, the mother-town of tobacco and cultivated the best tobacco in
, as Tsebelia. A subtask of the residents was the stock raising and other crops, which failed, however, to replace the income, brought about bytobacco. Greece
Agrinio- Amfilochia Highway
, after the bridge of Amvrakia Lake there is an intersection called Samari, there turning left and within 10 kilometers, you arrive in the small town of Katouna. Katouna is built on a hill among the at an altitude of about Arcanian Mountains 350 meters.
In the penultimate census, the Katouna had 2.331 inhabitants, while in the last of 2011, has far fewer. This gorgeous town of
Xiromero along with the settlements of Agios Nikolaos, Ahyra, Loutraki created since 1986 the . In 1998 after the Kapodistrian law, was the seat of the Municipality of Katouna . Medeon Municipality
Katouna was, until recently, the mother-town of tobacco and cultivated the best tobacco in
, as Tsebelia. A subtask of the residents was the stock raising and other crops, which failed, however, to replace the income, brought about by tobacco. Greece
Today, in Katouna someone can admire the beautiful
in the central square and the one of St. Paraskevi in Katomerisia. Also the beautiful rattan (located in the Katouna’s square) with a wonderful view, where you can see the sea of Amvrakikos in Loutraki to the oppositeside of the Amvrakia lake, while in front you can see the mountains and Veloras and Petala. church of St. Athanasios
Katouna has many services such as County Court, Police Department,
Citizens Service Center, the program “help at home”, Agricultural Bank, Post Office, Telecommunication, , a regular service bus, a daily nursery, two kindergartens, Primary School, High School and Lyceum. There are also cooperatives and union’s warehouse, supermarkets, grocery stores, three pharmacies, three stations for fuel. Finally, the town has many restaurants, taverns with beautiful local delicacies, coffee shops, a fact that proves that rural people, while in summer they were working hard in tobacco, during the winter they had more free time to continue the tradition and revitalize our village. Moreover, permanent residents nowadays maintain many cafes which have existed for manyyears. Twice every year festivals take place in the town where the whole village roasts lamps and people shell fairs, the one on May 15th under the old diary of St. Athanasios and the other on October 10th. Regional Hospital
ANCIENT MEDEON OR MEDION
Medeon or Medion. Fortified town of
, south of Amvrakikos on the road for Stratos (Thuc. C, 106, Polybius. B, 2,3.4). Acarnania
It was one of the most ancient cities of Acarnania. From existing datawe believe that the Medion or Medeon was built shortly before theTrojan War, or at its duration.
2 km east of the entrance of Katouna, at the junction of theplantations, on two hills, one of them is the current prophet Ilias.
According to the English Dictionary for the Ancient Greek Language the term should be “Μedion” from the ancient verb “medionizo” which means “to rule, to govern, to protect”. But also with the letter –e the verb “medo” has the same meaning. However there are other interpretations for the city’s name.
During the Peloponnesian war Medion had been Athenian’s ally.
The residents of Medion and all the people of the Acarnanian cities in general were in constant war with the Aetolians. Medion was one of the oldest cities of Acarnania in the 5th and 6th century. Around 350-300 b.c Mediona mints its own coins. The emblem of the ex-municipality of Medion has been inspired by those ancient coins.
Findings have been transferred to the
. Museum of Agrinio
Only few parts of the ancient walls that use to protect the city remain visible today from the modern central road.
PHILIP, THE AKARNAN
Philip the Acarnan came from Medion and he was Alexander’s the Great personal doctor during his campaign in
Asia. Alexander had confidence to Philip, a fact demonstrated by the following: “When Parmenion’ s general wrote a letter to Alexander saying that Philip was planning to poison him, Alexander did not believe him. And intending to prove his confidence to Philip he showed him the letter while he was drinking the medicine. Thus, Alexander was drinking the alleged poison as long as Philip was reading Parmenion’ s letter. Philip shoed no surprise proving that the drug was harmless. He merely pleased Alexander to follow his instructions correctly in order to save himself. The drug was effective, Alexander was cured and this way he proved to Philip and to his other followers his confidence and friendship and the fact that he was fearless of death”. (see Arrian, Alexander Anabasis, book II, chapter 4)
Lysimachus the Akarnan
He was Alexander’s tutor and friend during his childhood, with possible roots from (Encyclopedia Helios, volum IVI)
Akarnania at the (ΡΙ. IV. 1 2. 5). Possibly at an hour distance from the city of Gulf of Amvrakikos . (Xen. Greek VI, 2,37) Thyrreios
In 1840 the
consisted of the following villages: Katouna (the center of the municipality) Tryfou, Alevra, Voustri, Achyra, Kompoti, Aetos, Gardi, Konopina, Papadatou, Machalas, Mpampini. The municipality was named after the ancient town of municipality of Echinos . In 1837 major was I. Mavromatis. In 1840 the municipality was counting 3.901 citizens and in 1851 4.043 citizens. Echinos
The name-the found-the history
Different but similar interpretations have been made for tha name of Katouna. The word “katouna” means “tent, canopy”. The verb “katounevo” means to camp. In Slavic languages means “castle” .The Byzantines used this word for the entrenched camp.
By the term “katoun” we mean a small agricultural settlement formed by one or more houses or sheds. At first, the settlements were based on cattle but later on they evolved to agricultural and cattle teams and they form a former step of organised community, composed by more families.
There are other setllements before and around Katouna, such as the one of Mpoikos (Agia Paraskevi), Agios Prokopios, Sotiras, Palaionikolades, Spanochori, Katsoni, Paliokastro, Chakliro, Paliochori etc. This is where the first families of the people of Katouna used to live before they were joined to create the current beautiful town of the central mountainous Xiromeri one can see nowadays.
During the roman era the roman road towards Loutraki passed through Katouna.
At the beginning of the Revolution the village offered to the Struggle 5000 gurus, amount much larger than the ones of Xiromeri. When the Revolution started in Vonitsa many residents of Katouna under the leadership of Epaminondas Mavromatis went to fight there. From Katouna passed many heroic chieftains such as Karaiskakis, Varnakiotis etc.
On August 1822 Karaiskakis reached Katouna where he fought against the Turks and led them to flee
In 1823 during the raid of Omer Vryonis the people of Katouna found a shelter at the
where we find the toponym “Katouniotika” . island of Lesini
In the years of Ali Pasha terrible destructions happened in Xiromeri (William Martin Leake): “Machalas, Katouna, Zavitsa, Tragamesti, Katochi and Stamna turned to be infamous villages , while all of them used to be thriving towns at the age of Court Pasha. Katouna used to be the most beautiful and refined one. Many people from these places migrated to the islands.
After his loss at Peta, Varnakiotis crossed the
and came to Katounawhere he wrote to all the province for the men to join and face Kioutachis. He sent 100 men from Xiromeri to Loutraki, who when they saw that the Turks had occupied the seashore, they returned to Salaoura. Later on the Turks burned Katouna and Papadatou. From Kattouna they took wheat, barley and grapes to feed themselves. Makrinoros Mountain
In 1642 Katouna is included in a catalogue of villages found in the Turkish archives of
forming the “kazas” of Xiromeri. The town was a settlement of Xiromeri counting 6 families and was named Mpoikos. In the beginning of 1800 there were 130 families according to Pouquevill. Istanbul
The English traveler William Martin Leake visited
in secret mission from 1804 till 1810. On the 17th of March 1807 he passed through Katouna and he describes that from a total of 110 houses 70 of them had been abandoned since their householders could no longer feed the passing Albanians. Greece
As far as the war of 1940, the brave men of Katounia rose their heroic stature against the Italian and German conqueror. Katouna paid with blood its participation in the Civil War. Among the victims were nine children of Katounia who werearrested and shot along with other 120 persons in Agia Triada Agriniou.
One of the most famous and important guerillas of the IV century was Panos Meintanis. He was born around
1640 in Katouna and died fighting heroically in the battle of Gardiki in Trikala around 1715. He was the first thieves who joint the arms and became a guerilla in Aspropotamos around 1650-1700. He took part in the Venetian-Turkish war with Morosini. When he was captured by the Venetians, along with Angelis Soumilas (Vlachos) and little Chourmopoulos from Agrafa, at the coast of Vonitsa they managed to free themselves and to occupy an Algerian pirate ship an act that made Venetians not only to release them but also to honor them. Meintanis was totally committed to the idea of nation’s freedom and he did not hesitate to face the Venetians whenever he realized the interests of were threatened. When the Venetians after the conquest of Greece Peloponnese paid no attention to the Greeks, Meintanis with Spathogiannis alone continued to struggle against the Turks.
When Topal Pasha went to
Peloponnese to fight against the Venetians, and many guerillas took part just to get a share of the looting, Meintanis was among the few who did not participate or allied by any way the Turks. He was a forerunner of the national revolution whose ethic and heroism preserved and elevated the revolutionary spirit of the Greeks.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sathas K. “Turkish-occupied
Greece”, 1869 Athens
Archontides A. "The Venetian in the West Greece 1684-1699",
SAINT ATHANASIUS - THE PATRON SAINT OF KATOUNA
The patron saint of Katouna is St. Athanasius, whose temple is the hallmark of Katouna. From either side the visitor enters Katouna, what stands out, what fascinates most is the imposing
. Its story starts before 1758 when Turkish documents for repairing the temple witness its existence. The town celebrates its patron saint on January 18th. temple of St. Athanasius
The settlement and the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos
This is how is called the settlement existing
5 km outside Katouna between Aetos and Konopina. The settlement is called “the refugees” because it is inhabited by refugees. They left their homeland, the area of Pontus in Asia Minor and settled here in 1922 after indescribable sufferings. The Greek state according to its abilities restored them at the decade 1922-1932. Till 1932 they were homeless. They preferred these areas in order to protect their faith from the Turks, the Orthodoxy.
The name of course comes from the monastery of Agios Nikolaos, this historic monastery that rendered invaluable services to the edge of the revolutionary period against the Turks. He who built the monastery is said to have been Eugene Giannakopoulos and according to the inscription within the church, the monastery was founded in 1692 under Patriarch Kallinikos Second the Acarnanian. The monastery is surrounded by walls and has one gate. The wall and the cells have been restored with the efforts of the settlement’s inhabitants. Initially about 70 families had arrived here but only 16 remained, living in a poor way. Over time their lives were improved through cultivation of land and cattle breading. Nowadays nearly 50 people reside here, in 30 houses.
Loutraki is located
11 km NE from Katouna, and the settlement is located in the . It is an enviable seaside summer resort where many locals their cottages for their families to spend their holidays while some of them also have their agricultural work there. Bay of Amvrakikos
In Loutraki of Katouna a tomb has been found along with the foundations of houses and two vaulted tombs, which indicate the presence of Mycenaean influence. The last penetrated from the valley of river Achelous.
From Loutraki the Turks under the leadership of Kioutachis begun to occupy Mesologi but they were defeated in the great battle of Agios Elias (Aetos) on 9th of August 1822.
Here are some of the folk songs of our land referred to Katouna and to its residents.
In Katouna are the blonde ones,
In Katochi are the white ones
In poor Xiromero you find
the scarlet and black-eyed ones.
(P. Veis ,Arcadian linguistic monuments, DIEE, F. p. 242).
May Arta* turn to stone and swamp to sink inside
But the poor Xiromero may the God protect it
Cause has the wine sweet and the girls full of beauty
In Machala the beautiful and in Katouna the white ones
And at the villages of Mpoikos the blonde and the black-eyed ones.
*Arta=city of Epirus
(Passow, “Romeika” songs, Athens 1860, p. 430)
The captain asks and asks again, the master asks and asks:
-My Lord, what happened to Nicholos of Yiannos.
He who was known to Istanbul, in Venice very famous?
And in Xiromero he was a wonderful cypress?
-He had a gathering in Machala, sharing the necklace,
Tzantilas in Katochi, Koutras in Ktouna and in Xiromero
That in the middle stands he, Nicholos is its eagle.
(Papantonopoulos D. , Fiftieth Anniversary of the Greek Revolution in the year 1821. Athens, 1879, p. 83)
Is snow in the mountains, whether to be stretched sails
Is Angelis that who comes, Angelis and Meintanis
And little Chormopoulos who is coming from Agrafa.
With rags open in red and white.
In Arta go and sit, in Vonitsa they catch them
A skirt was seemed ………………………………………………..
FAMILY OF MAVROMATI
In the swamp, in Xiromero, in Vonitsa’s castles,
The family of Mavromati is famous, the family of Grivas makes the captains
They worship of Gogos Bakolas the fear of Chalastra,
the army is not armored and the Turks are coming close
(Athanas Georgios by "The songs of the mountains")
The municipality was created in 1998 by the Kapodistrian law and included the villages: Katounawith its settlements, of Aetos, Komboti, Konopina andTryfos, and was one of 29 municipalities in our prefecture. It is situated
320 km far from Athens and is a place that combines wonderfully nature, history and the tradition of Xiromero.
The former City Hall was housed in a beautiful traditional stone building at the headquarters of the former municipality in Katouna.
MUNICIPALITY OF AKTIO - VONITSA
In 2011 with the law of Kallikratis, despite the reactions of the residents of the former Medeon City and our Association, the following Municipalities were united into one: Medeon, Anaktorio and Palero, creating the City of Aktion Vonitsa, with the base in Vonitsa. This new extended municipality center includes all the villages and the settlements of the three former municipalities.
NATURAL BEAUTIES - MONUMENTS - CULTURE OFFORMER MUNICIPALITY OF MEDEON
PALIA ACHYRA – PANAGIA ACHYRIATISSA
A charming but unfortunately ruined village is located
12 km northwest of Katouna, at the foot of the Arcanian mountains. With beautiful mudbrick homes as if descended from the mountain, many say that the founder of the village is Panagia Achyriatissa, where is rumored that she did many miracles, particularly curing the mentally sick people. The monastery of Panagia, which is very old and with the renovation is maintained in excellent condition, is celebrating the summer on August 15, and visitors come from far away. Once the village was full of life.The village of Achyra, was the refuge and base of Armatoles and thieves against the Turkish conqueror.
Today, the visitor overlooking the village of Achyra will have a nostalgia and he will think "I want to go to the village to say goodbye to the place I was born and leave my bones" but as realizes thereality wonders "why go to the village? My house is not left one, and the door is closed. "
The visitor, combining what he has read at the book "ACHYRA" and what he has seen ,he will definitely shed tears.
In Old Achyra for many years, has been manufactured the homonymous dam to irrigate the entire Xiromero, but unfortunately, has no end ...
THE NEW ACHYRA
In 1985 the Achyra were joined with Katouna called City of Katouna by unanimous decision of bothcommunities with nr. 17/85 and 41/85, according to the P.D. 267/86, Government Gazette 123/19-8-86. Today's settlement of Achyra is located in the southwestern part of Katouna at the exit towards the Municipality of Tryfos.
ARCANIAN MOUNTAINS AND THE FOREST OF BLACK ABIES
The major peaks are the high peak (
1589 meters) in Perganti and Boumstos ( 1577 meters) from the most interesting parts of Arcanian Mountains and with an important place in the history of Xiromero.
Filled valleys, plateaus, and streams full story about the battle for the famous thieves and Armatoles.
The Boumstos from one side is bare of vegetation, full of sharp rocks and stones, and on the otherside is full of vegetation, oaks, cedars, oaks and forests of black spruce up to Perganti. Arriving to the peaks of Acarnania, you live literally speechless by the sight, the rotund peaks, the mountain air,unique atmosphere and landscape of rare beauty. The sight of the giant mountain is amazing. In animpressive panorama, parade the Arcanian Mountains, the plateau Assani, the famous Black ForestAbies, old villages of Achyra, the Voustri, the valley and the river of Nyssa and finally theAmvrakikos Bay. From here we will admire, enchanted, the Mytika, Kalamos island, Meganisi, Lefkada, Ithaca, Agrinio, Panetolika mountains and all the surrounding villages of Xiromero.
The forest of black Abies (Abies cefalonika) is a rare species of Abies in Greece and is estimated about
2000 acres on the north side of Boumstou.
Nyssa River springs from the Acarnania mountains and especially fromthe region of Perganti, near to Kefalovryso. It flows into the bay of Amvrakikos at Loutraki.
Huge trees on its edges, traditional bridges, derelict mills and large waterfalls create a fantastic image, where the sound of water in conjunction with the singing of the birds cause excitement to the visitor.
In the stream of Nyssa, within the rocks stands the Chapel of Holy Mary with the nickname “Eleousa”-the one who shows mercy.
The village is situated at the foot of Perganti
13 kmnorthwest of Katouna. Around 1970 its residents moved to the village of Tryphon. The village is now deserted and only the old fountain and the church of St. Nicholas still stand up. Little further down the valley is the church of St. George where according to the legend took place the wonder of the barbarian who became a saint.
The Old Komboti or Persevos –Castle Komboti (Toryvia)
The old village was built western than the recent one, between the two peaks of Acananika Mountains. The old residents moved slowly to the new village , Kompoti, after the decade of 1950 .
The castle of Kampoti stands on the North of the new village, in a place where there are rumors about former existence of an ancient town called “Toryvia”. The prehistoric wall of the castle consists of huge boulders that cause admiration and awe.
Cave of Konopina (under exproration)
1982 in the center of Konopina, below the hill, on the foundations of a house a cave was discovered. The cave is being explored and from the first results we know that the entrance of the cave is a small opening 1x1 meters and goes in about 20 meters depth and reaches a main room 15 x 20 m. Deeper there is an interior trim with cave deposits, stalactites and stalagmites of various kinds.
All these are evident in the cavers’ maps and photos. For seismologists and geologists the scientific value of the cave may be large. As for its beauty, it is great with the golden color dominating everything.
RELIGIOUS AND HISTORICAL MONUMENTS
St . Deftera in Katouna
In St. Deftera on March 6th 1821 for the first time a whole race stood officially up and wrote its own orders with blood and fire. There, one morning, among the hymns of the Church, the cry of trumpets and songs, freedom was born.
The bells of the region with their bronze mouths cried for freedom and the Greeks all over the country responded with a wholehearted "present."
The hills of Katouna, watered with the blood of brave Greeks, now hide their precious amulets bones as symbols of victory. From that blood sprang the Miracle of St. Deftera.
There the blood of brave men firstly was tested "with fire, as gold in the crucible," and the decision was pure and genuine. The Holy Monday was consecrated by the churche’s Father Cosmas of Aetolia and will now remain immortal. And every second day of Easter [“deftera” means Monday in Greek] compatriots will celebrate both the historic event and the memory of Holy Mary.
In St. Deftera in Katouna on March 6th 1821, the captains of Acarnania, Valtos and Epirus decided to declare the revolution in Western Greece. The revolutionary notice was drafted in the May 25, 1821 by George Varnakiotis in Xiromero. The weapons ware blessed by Agapios, the abbot of the monastery, Porphyrius, the metropolitan of Arta and Lepanto and Bishop Joseph of Roges. In the Assembly of Western Terrestrial Greece Xiromero had many representatives (P. Bampinis or Babiniotis, E. Mavrommatis, P. Goulimi, F. Karapanos etc.). The formal hierarchy of the chieftains of the region at the beginning of the Revolution was: Varnakiotis, Iskos, Tray, Rangos and Dimotselios.
The Temple of St. Deftera has an aisle hall with a semicircular apse dated probably from the 18th century. In 1967 the church was dissolved. Nowadays the church has been rebuilt by the pioneer George Papadimitriou former minister and with the assistance of our fellow citizens. It is located directly behind the settlement of Nea Achira.
[Archaeological Bulletin 22: Chronicles 1967 s.334]
"Extract from the weekly newspaper “New Times” of Aitoloakarnania by Mr. Emil Koutsonikas"
Temple of the Holy Apostles in Konopina
(Peter and Paul)
It is located at the entrance of the village. Built in 1595 was demolished in 1828 and only a small part of witnesses the previous existence of a church there.
St. Efthimios in Konopina
A church built in 1650 according to a wall description found inside of the Temple. The church celebrates on 20th of January.
Crossing the street towards Tryfou in the exit of Katouna we turn left for the area of Logos where we meet the church of St. Paraskevi of Mpoikos. This used to be the name of the area which was one of the oldest selltements of Katouna. The building of the church dates from 1547 and used to be a female monastery. The first characteristics of the temple are no longer visible.
Castle of Aetos
East of the village of Aetos there is a famous castle built by Justinian. As a matter of fact there is a rumor about the existence of a tunnel connecting the castle with St. Nikolaos.
St. Dimitrios of Aetos
An old church close to the castle of Aetos. It was built at 1662 and constitutes an authentic museum of religious heritage for the whole area.
Saint Barbarian of Tryfou – Thermal Spring and hotel facilities
The history of St. barbaric started in
820 a. c. It is said that he was a real barbarian, but he found his way to God and became a saint. The church is dedicated to his memory, located outside the Tryfou on the road to Loutraki. In 1878 the antiquated temple was discovered and a new church was built at the place of the thermal springs. The last ones have a long history and they have been created from a source of gush water. The springs cure various wounds, skin diseases and stomach pains and the water offers general beneficial treatment. The first official concession of a spring use was in 1954 in an area of approximately 70 acres including old buildings, the old church of the St. Barbarian and the whole area around the spring.
By decision of the municipal council of Trifou in 1985 was created a pure community business by law 1416/84.
The business started on July 1988. The resort comprises C Class hotel with 113-bed-Bar restaurant and spa with 9 simple bathtubs, 3 whirlpools and 1 sauna. In 1991 starts the rental of the hotel to owners and lasts until now, while the City operates the Spa. People of every age come to the springs of St. Barbarian with various problems and many enjoy the lush scenery, the river of Nyssa, the beautiful trails and the modern hotel host.
This year, summer of 2011, the baths were closed and are under clearance. All local residents are waiting for the problems to be solved and the spa to reopen.
Η ιστορία της περιοχής μας στα Αγγλικά
"Ευχαριστούμε όσους μας βοήθησαν στο κείμενο αυτό και το Σύλλογο Κατουνιωτών Αθήνας για τις φωτογραφίες"