Tsepelovo is located 50km away from Ioannina and it is built at an altitude of 1,080 m. on the southern slopes of Mount Tymfi or else known as Gamila (2497 m.). The first image of the village that a visitor sees coming from Ioannina is striking, with the snowy peak of Tsuka Rossa on the top.
With 260 permanent residents Tsepelovo is considered to be crowded compared to other villages of Zagori. In the past, the municipality of Tymfi had its base here, housed in a traditional building in the central square.
As the administrative center of Zagori from the 18th century, Tsepelovo flourished during the Ottoman years particularly due to the timber trade. In 1700 they opened the first school of the village.
Tsepelovo is the birthplace of Constantinos Rados. He who was initiator of the Society of Friends (Filiki Eteria) founding idea. It is also the birthplace of national benefactors Anastasios Tsouflis, John Dumas and George Bikas. Moreover, it is the birthplace of Dimitrios and Marika Kotopouli.
It has been characterized as a traditional settlement. Today it is a popular tourist destination and a favorite village among naturalists and walkers.
Mountains, canyons, alpine lakes, rare vegetation and animal shelters characterize the natural environment of the village. Tsepelovo has a significantly developed tourist infrastructure with many options and choices in accommodation, food and entertainment.
The little stone paths lead to the reference point of the village, its square with the great tree. On the right of the church once can find the Tsoufleio pharmacy and the tomb of the poet Ioannis Vilaras.
In the village it is the Church of St. Nicholas that really stands out. It was built in the 18th century as a basilica with a dome and it was decorated in 1786 by master painters from Kapesovo. The hexagonal bell tower of 16 meters is dominating. There is a rich color variety spreading to 12 domes, 16 arches and the walls of the temple.
What to see near Tsepelovo
Two kilometers outside the village, above the gorge called “Vikaki” you can find the stone monastery of Rogovos. It was built in the years 1028-1034 and it was renovated in 1745. The well-preserved frescoes and woodwork of the church were gradually created in the 18th and 19th century.
Neophytos Doukas – a cleric and a scholar, one of the most important figures of the Enlightenment – wanted to establish a higher education institution (“Higher School”) in the monastery, but his vision was never completed because of the upheavals in the fall of Ali Pasha.
In October 2016 we visited the monastery and the restoration works were at an end. The view of the interior and the exterior was truly impressive. We were informed that the work was about to finish and soon the monastery would be open to the public.