Our last visit to Tristeno was in October. After all, this is the month that photographic excursions are a real treat.
Tristeno is a mountain settlement built on the western slopes of the central mountain range of Pindos at an altitude of 940 meters. It is located 42 km NE of Ioannina and it is accessible either from the old National Road to Metsovo with an exit at Balduma or from the Egnatia Road with an exit at the Arachthos-Zagorio junction. It is a very beautiful village with lots of water, gardens, vines and fruit trees.
It is unknown when the original settlement was created. However, for the first time it is mentioned in a chrysobulus (official public document) of 1319 of Andronikos II addressed to a Byzantine lord governor of Ioannina, named Drestenikos. Apparently from the name of this Byzantine governor, the village of Drestenikou was named and later Dresteniko.
Tristeno is the village with its restrained silent beauty, because it is located on the eastern mountainside of Greveniti. You have to notice it and look for it. And if you get to know it, you will be dazzled by the exquisite sight that unfolds before you.
The mountain above the village, divided into three saddles, allows all that diverse treasure of greenery to descend with it, which pours out together with its crystal waters and overwhelms the village with a rapid and joyful triumph. Tristeno hid in the deep foliage of the trees and breathes the coolness of the water listening to its eternal lullaby. Only the three peaks of the mountain, placed in a row, stand and stare at our road…
The Zagori of 1957, Yannis Saralis
The village is on the map of the Network of Martyrdom Towns and Villages. In 1943 the inhabitants experienced the German atrocity. Residents were killed, houses were set on fire and the village lost its architectural character.
According to the Museum of the Kalavrita Holocaust, on October 17 1943, the 22nd mountain army corps of the German occupying forces in Epirus, took over the management of the “Panther” operation.
The “Panther” plan foresaw the invasion of the continental massif of Pindos, from four points. The German forces moved towards the mountainous villages of our region starting from Konitsa, Ioannina, from the region of Arta and from the eastern side of the Metsovo pass.
In the early morning hours of October 18, 1943, Nazi troops began their purges.The Germans burned 138 of the 150 houses, the school and two churches and executed five inhabitants.
What to see in Tristeno
There are few buildings that preserve the classic Zagorian architecture since, like the rest of the villages of Eastern Zagori, Tristeno also experienced terrible destruction from the German bombings in 1943. So most of the houses have the characteristic red tin roof from the financing of Marshall Plan after the war
The large square with the typical plane tree and the cafe is very beautiful. In the square is also the church of Agios Georgios (1793), an impressive building of Zagorian architecture.
A stone-paved path that starts from the square leads to the traditional stone watermill which is also the reference point of the settlement. The water mill was built in 1835 and was initially double with two production units and had the ability to grind 100 okadas of cereal per hour. In recent years it has been renovated and is operating again. It is one of the last watermills in the country that is in operation and has been classified as a historical preserved monument. Right next to it is the wooden watermill and a small stone bridge.
At the other end of the village is the church of Agia Paraskevi. A beautiful old church built in 1872 as evidenced by the carving above the door.
The village is located in the peripheral zone of the protected area of the National. N. Pindos Park. Therefore, interesting destinations are the neighboring villages (Miliotades, Greveniti, Flambourari, Vovousa, etc.).
Without a doubt, Tristeno is a beautiful village. After all, with its picturesque stone streets, running water, melon fields and gardens and a beautiful square with a huge plane tree you will not be disappointed.
The Bridge at Burnoi
It is located on the edge of the village on the road to Chrysovitsa at the Burnoi position and bridges the Valia Ballia stream. It is 8.20 m long and 2.50 m wide and according to the stone carving the year of construction is 1839.
According to Lambridis, the sponsor of this bridge is G.A. Garagounis, who must be the father of the financier of the Tsipianis and Gouras (or Legas) bridges, Anastasios Garagounis also called Paspaliaris.
The bridge of Water mill in Tristeno
It is located inside the village also in the Valia Ballia stream a little below the previous bridge and bridges the stream joining the two parts of the village.
It got its name from the adjacent water mill. Opposite there was a two-story inn that was burned by the Germans.
It is single-arched with a passageway of 9.50 m and a useful width of 1.80 m. According to Lampridis, the sponsor of the bridge is I.Hatzis (1845) who was carrying out his father-in-law’s order.
The Bridge of Goura or Lega
It is located below the village of Tristeno, in the Lega position, on the pit of Goura. It served a now-abandoned path that led to Ioannina. The inn of Tasoulis or Blatsa operated near it. It has a large arch, and a smaller auxiliary one. Its total length reaches 26.70 meters, the useful width is 2 meters and some voussoirs in the second section function as arkades (vertical stones). The most impressive element of the bridge, however, is the built-in faucet near the beginning of the large left arch. Under the currently empty alcove for the founding plaque, a second one has been constructed at the base of which there is a small faucet with a trough where passers-by used to quench their thirst.
The sponsor of the bridge was Anastasios Paspaliaris, the lord of the village as he was called in Tristeno. It is said that he was murdered along with his wife in order for his killers to find pounds.
Finally, you can visit the cafe at the square of the village.