Gorgopotamos (formerly Tournovo) is another village that belongs to the cultural unity of the Mastorochoria of Konitsa. Built on the eastern end of the Orla peak in the Grammos Mountains and at an altitude of 940 meters, it extends until the Tournovitiko stream (Gorgopotamos) which merges with the Vourbiani stream and is then poured into Sarantaporos.
History and Information
There are two versions of the origin of the old Slavic name Tournovo:
- The one in which the toponym means a settled place which agrees with the tradition that the place once suffered subsidence.
- The second and most prevalent one is that the toponym is interpreted as a place of thorns, which is justified by the existence of the many thorns that exist in the area.
At the end of the 19th century, the settlement experienced a period of demographic and economic prosperity. In World War II and the Civil War, it experienced many disasters like all the surrounding villages. In the post-war years it began to be deserted. Only in the summer is it filled and enlivened by visitors.
Source: Γοργοπόταμος Κονίτσης, το Χωριό των Περίφημων Ξυλογλυπτών
Π. ΔΙΟΝΥΣΙΟΣ ΤΑΤΣΗΣ ΠΡΕΣΒΥΤΕΡΟΣ
Carvers and woodcarving
The development of wood carving and especially ecclesiastical carving started from the 17th century and peaked from the beginning and middle of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th century. Craftsmen from other villages of Mastorochoria were also engaged in wood carving, but the most famous are those from Gorgopotamos. The families that distinguished themselves in the practice of the art of woodcarving were the Shekhis and the Vouris. As a rule they had the saying “Let art never leave the family”. The secrets of the art stayed in the family and were passed down from generation to generation.
The woodcarvers of Gorgopotamos sought work away from their homes and undertook all kinds of woodcarving work, but mainly the decoration of temples, public buildings and mansions. But where they excelled is the construction and decoration of icons.
Their works exist in the area of Mastorochoria but also in the wider area of Epirus. A typical example of their art is the iconography of the churches of Agios Athanasios in Ioannina and Agios Charalambos in Preveza, as well as the wood carvings of the parish church of Panagia in their birthplace, the work of Vasilios Skalistis, who was also called the “emperor of art”.
Source: Ζωγραφική και ξυλογλυπτική στα Μαστοροχώρια: Χιονιάδες, Γοργοπόταμος
Πολυμέρου – Καμηλάκη, Αικατερίνη, Σκούρτης, Κωνσταντίνος
Originating from Gorgopotamos
George Papathemistokleous (31/1/1896 – Tepeleni 3/1/1941), teacher, was born here. Although a father of four children, he took part in the war of 1917 and many other battles. In 1940, although a reservist, wounded and a family man, he voluntarily left for the northern continental front, taking command of the 9th company. In a battle with this company he was killed (3/1/1941) on the heights of Tepeleni, where his lieutenant Fufoulos buried him in a ravine at 1740m. altitude. His bust is at the entrance of the village.
The village itself is surrounded by the high peaks of Grammos. Kamenik – Golio – Varjioban – Bandra. From an altitude above, the alpine landscape with its steep rock formations is breathtaking. Black pine and beech cover the lower altitudes and autumn, the most beautiful season of the mountain, is the dominance of colors.
The surrounding area is suitable for road trips to the nearby villages of Pyrsogianni, Vourbiani, Asimochori, Oxya, Plikati, Hioniades. Mountaineering routes of difficult category start from Plikati on the surrounding peaks of Grammos. Road crossing with 4X4 towards Aetomilitsa. There are many routes in general for hikers and climbers.
The view from many peaks is spectacular!
What to see in Gorgopotamos
Agios Nikolaos: At the entrance of the village, inside the cemetery.
Assumption of Mary (Church of the Mother of God) (1915): Central church on top of the neighborhood. It was built in the place of another church that was destroyed. It has a wonderful walled wooden icon screen, work and offer by the famous local Vassilis Taliadouros or Skalisti (1886-1943).
August 15th (Assumption of the Virgin). Feast of Panagia, which has been going on since 1940.