Aristi is built at an altitude of 650 m on the northern slopes of the Grabala Hill or for the locals “Roynikos“, on the opposite side of the impressive rocks of Astraka. The village is located at the boundary of the Vikos – Aoos National Park and it is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori.
Aristi is surrounded by mountains so it is visible to the visitors only when they approach enough.
It is located 48 km from the capital of the prefecture, Ioannina, while the nearest other village is Agios Minas at a distance of 2.5 km. It also has easy communication with Papigo and Vikos.
Its old name, Arsista, of Albanian origin, refers to a kind of grass, shrub or tree.
History and Information
Aristi was one of the largest settlements in the region, especially between the 17th and 19th centuries, with the substantial economic contribution of dozens of local immigrants from Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Of the 800 people who lived in the village in the beginning of the previous century, today there are about 80. The war has contributed to the devastation of this village as well other villages of Zagori.
In the recent years, however, the tourism recovery has resulted in the heirs of the old mansions returning and operating the large mansions as traditional hotels.
In the square of the village, you will be impressed by the imposing church of the Dormition of the Virgin with its high bell tower, the old fountain and the stone-built cobblestone streets that you will walk on.
Its beauty, along with its very good tourist infrastructure, as well as the easy access to many of the area’s attractions have made Aristi to one of the most popular destinations in Zagori.
It is a large single-arched bridge built in 1853 by Mishios, funded by Balkiz Chanoum, the wife of Malik Pasha, who donated 37,000 pots. It is a monotone with successive united arcades for parasols and it joins the two banks of the river Voidomatis, from where it acquired its second name. It is considered to be of excellent construction. Previously the inhabitants moved from western Zagori to Konitsa via the bridge.
At this point of the river, there was an older bridge from the Byzantine years that was connected to a murder that took place between two families in the area and resulted in the abandonment of an entire village. Two large and rich families collided for a price issue on the bridge.
The bridge has been declared a historic listed monument. In the area of the bridge there are activities such as rafting, kayaking, hiking and climbing.