Enhancing the values of the cultural landscape of Aristi, Zagori, NW Greece 

Last May, a dedicated group led by Dr. Faidon Moudopoulos-Athanasiou undertook a remarkable project in the village of Aristi, NW Greece. Comprising international volunteers and local residents, they worked tirelessly for a week, focusing on enhancing the cultural landscape of the area. 

Clearing the path from Hagios Minas village to the river Voidomatis

Clearing Pathways and Enhancing the Cultural Landscape 
Their efforts centered on two vital aspects: clearing the culturally significant pathways surrounding the village and assisting with the local archiving project. Through their hard work and determination, the team revitalized the pathways, ensuring they remained accessible and inviting to both residents and visitors. This restoration work allows individuals to wander freely and appreciate the culturally significant sites scattered throughout the village. 

Preserving Aristi’s Tangible Cultural Heritage 
Furthermore, the volunteers actively contributed to the archiving project, recognizing the importance of preserving the tangible cultural heritage of Aristi. By meticulously organizing books, historical documents and photographs, they took significant steps towards proper archiving. This guarantees the safeguarding of Aristi’s rich heritage for future generations, fostering a deeper connection to the village’s history. 

Classifying old journals
At the ‘old hut’ at Paliokalyva

Capturing the Project’s Impact 
Photographs and videos captured by Niall Stopford, a BBC videographer and dedicated project volunteer, stand as a testament to the importance of their work. These visual records not only showcase the progress made but also inspire others to engage in similar endeavors, emphasizing the power of volunteerism in shaping and preserving cultural landscapes. 

A collaborative effort 
The success of this project would not have been possible without the collaboration and support of local stakeholders. The cooperative “The High Mountains,” the Aristi Youth Club, the Ioannis Saralis Foundation, local businesses, and individuals all played integral roles in its completion.

The path from Aristi village to the river Voidomatis
By the river, under the old plane trees

Leaving an Indelible Mark on Aristi’s Future 
By enhancing the values of the cultural landscape in Aristi, this dedicated group has left an indelible mark on the village and its future. Their commitment serves as an inspiration, encouraging other communities to recognize the power of collaboration and volunteerism in preserving and promoting their own cultural treasures. Through their work, the tangible heritage of Zagori now stands one step closer to proper archiving, securing its legacy for generations to come. 

Dr. Faidon Moudopoulos-Athanasiou is a postdoctoral fellow with the project Heritage under young forests: recording and interpreting the cultureal heritage underneath the afforested Zagori (NW Greece). Juan de la Cierva (FJC2021-047943-I), funded by the the Agencia Estatal de Investigación of the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, the European Union-NextGenerationEU in the context of the Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia.

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