Gorgopotamos
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Gorgopotamos

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ABOUT GORGOPOTAMOS

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.

There is no evidence either of the date of the creation of the settlement or of the origin of the name Tournovo.

HISTORY AND INFORMATION

Between the village and the riverbed there is the plain of the village. The plain is at an altitude of 910 meters. Due to its slope, it is structured on terraces that were created by stone walls, separating properties as well. Large and smaller grooves create a watering network of the fields with the waters of the nearby river. In the past years the fertile plain was cultivated from one side to the other. However, due to the small size and the great need for food, there were many fields in different places in the surrounding mountains.

The population cultivated a multitude of cereals such as wheat, corn, oats, rye for themselves and their animals. Also, any kind of vegetables and potatoes. In fact, they had two watermills, with the water of which they watered the fields where they cultivated small and big beans.

The area is characterized by intense and interesting geological relief with areas of dense forests of deciduous trees (oaks, beeches), and conifers (firs, blacksmiths). The oaks have been and still are of great utility in the lives of the inhabitants on the one hand because the wood is used to heat the houses during the winter season and on the other hand because the foliage is the main food of the animals in the winter months. Also, the wild fauna of the area is rich with large mammals (bears, wolves, wild boars, deer, etc.) that dominate in high altitudes, as well as smaller mammals (foxes, hares, beetles, squirrels, amphibians and reptiles).

Today’s name Gorgopotamos is due to the river that runs next to the village and has the same name. When in 1935 (according to others in 1929) the locals were asked to replace the Slavic name (Tournovo) with another name of Greek origin, a public consultation took place. The elderly decided that since the fast and rapid river is a predominant factor and a decisive element of the area, the river and village should have the same name, Gorgopotamos.

In the 18th and 19th c., the village gained a great reputation as one of the great Mastorochoria of Konitsa and Sarantaporos, and especially for its sculptors, known as Tournovites Taliadoroi. There is, of course, the tradition that wood carving in Tournovo was initiated by families of Metsovo (eg Skalisti family) or by others who have fled here by persecution of Turkish-Albanians. No matter who they were before, they excelled and became world-renowned here. And not just individuals, but whole families who usually worked together, and their art was continued by their children. Other great families were Vouris or Taliadoros, better known as carpenters than wood sculptors, the family of Roumeli, the family of wood sculptors of Papageorgiou. Certainly sculptors came out of other Mastorochoria as well, but these were individual people while the Tournovites were whole families with tradition. As a rule they had the saying “Do not let the art leave from the family”. The secrets of art remained in the family and were transmitted from generation to generation.

During the last war, the village experienced many disasters and the inhabitants suffered hardships, as in all the surrounding villages, and in the post-war years began to show a desolation image, as in all the outlying villages that have only been left with the elderly and retired and only in the summer they get some vitality from the visitors.

SIGHTS

Agios Nikolaos: At the entrance of the village, inside the cemetery. It is a simple, one-sided, one-storied church with a loggia that rests on wooden beams, with a narthex. It is located in the cemetery enclosure. According to testimonies, the first temple was built in the 17th century. Since then, additions and refurbishments have been made, altering its original form, creating the present oblong Temple.

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). It is the church where wedding ceremonies and christenings are held. Every August 15th, the village celebrates the Feast of the Virgin Mary with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Previously, half of the families of the village had the Virgin Mary as the patron, while the rest had St. Paraskevi.

Agios Athanasios: The chapel is within the cemetery. It was built in the late 1960s, at the site of an older temple that existed at the site.

At the entrance there is the bust that honors the Archbishop Georgios Papathimistokleous. Georgios Papathemistocleous, born in Gorgopotamos, a pupil and father of four children, was killed on 3/1/1941 at the Tepeleni Hill, where his lieutenant Foufoulos buried him in a ravine at 1740m. altitude.

Also interesting are the restored threshing floors: One at the entrance of the village, where the weddings were celebrated and the second in the center of the village, under the Holy Temple of the Assumption of the Virgin where traditionally, the afternoon after the Second Resurrection on Sunday Easter, the women and the girls of the village gathered, celebrated the Resurrection, sang and danced.

Events: July 26 (Paraskevi Holy Martyr) / August 15 (Assumption of the Virgin). Feast of Panagia, which has been going on since 1940.

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