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Epirus (Greek: Ήπειρος, Ípeiros), formally the Epirus Region (Περιφέρεια Ηπείρου, Periféria Ipeírou), is a geographical and administrative region in northwestern Greece.[1] It borders the regions of West Macedonia and Thessaly to the east, West Greece to the south, the Ionian Sea and the Ionian Islands to the west and the country of Albania to the north. The region has an area of about 9,200 km2 (3,600 sq mi). It is part of the wider historical region of Epirus, which overlaps modern Albania and Greece but mostly lies in modern Greek territory.

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Geography and ecology
Forest in Pindus Mountain, Epirus.

Greek Epirus, like the region as a whole, is rugged and mountainous.It comprises the land of the ancient Molossians and Thesprotians[2] and a small part of the land of the Chaonians the greater part being in Southern Albania. It is largely made up of mountainous ridges, part of the Dinaric Alps. The region's highest spot is on Mount Smolikas, at an altitude of 2.637 metres above sea level. In the east, the Pindus Mountains that form the spine of mainland Greece separate Epirus from Macedonia and Thessaly. Most of Epirus lies on the windward side of the Pindus. The winds from the Ionian Sea offer the region more rainfall than any other part of Greece.

The Vikos-Aoos and Pindus National Parks are situated in the Ioannina Prefecture of the region. Both areas have imposing landscapes of dazzling beauty as well as a wide range of fauna and flora. The climate of Epirus is mainly alpine. The vegetation is made up mainly of coniferous species. The animal life is especially rich in this area and includes, among other species, bears, wolves, foxes, deer and lynxes.
Government

Epirus is divided into four regional units (formerly prefectures, nomoi), which are further subdivided into municipalities (dimoi). The regional units are: Thesprotia, Ioannina, Arta and Preveza.
The administrative division of the Epirus region in municipalities. In shades of yellow, the regional unit of Thesprotia, in red, Ioannina, in blue, Preveza and in green, Arta

From January 2011, according to the reform introduced by the Kallikratis Programme (Act 3852/2010) the prefectures were abolished and replaced by regional units. The former municipalities and communities were re-structured to form only 18 new municipalities.
Municipality Population Seat
Ioannina 97,657 Ioannina
Konitsa 9,294 Konitsa
Pogoni 11,092 Kalpaki
Zagori 6,032 Asprangeli
Metsovo 7,835 Metsovo
Zitsa 17,293 Eleousa
North Tzoumerka 7,097 Pramanta
Dodoni 13,939 Agia Kyriaki
Arta 41,814 Arta
Central Tzoumerka 12,069 Vourgareli
Nikolaos Skoufas 15,235 Peta
Georgios Karaiskakis 9,016 Ano Kalentini
Preveza 27,684 Preveza
Ziros 16,494 Filippiada
Parga 12,944 Kanallaki
Igoumenitsa 24,692 Igoumenitsa
Souli 10,951 Paramythia
Filiates 10,448 Filiates

The region's governor is, since 1 January 2011, Alexandros Kachrimanis, who was elected in the November 2010 local administration elections for the New Democracy and Popular Orthodox Rally parties.
Cities

Arta
Igoumenitsa
Ioannina
Konitsa
Metsovo
Paramythia
Parga
Preveza
Syvota
Economy

Epirus has few resources and its rugged terrain makes agriculture difficult. Sheep and goat pastoralism have always been an important activity in the region (Epirus provides more than 45% of meat to the Greek market) but there seems to be a decline in recent years. Tobacco is grown around Ioannina, and there is also some farming and fishing, but most of the area's food must be imported from more fertile regions of Greece. Epirus is home to a number of the country's most famous dairy products' brands, which produce feta cheese among others. An important area of the economy is also tourism, especially eco-tourism. The natural beauty of the area, as well as the picturesque villages, have made Epirus a strong tourist attraction.
Demographics

Around 350,000 people live in Epirus. According to the 2001 census, it has the lowest population of the 13 regions of Greece. This is partly due to the impact of repeated wars in the 20th century as well as mass emigration due to adverse economic conditions. The capital and largest city of the region is Ioannina, where nearly a third of the population lives. The great majority of the population are Greeks, including Aromanians.

According to research conducted by a Romanian ethnographer in 1994, native Albanian is dying fast, and attempts to find Albanian-speakers in the region proved unsuccessful.[3]

The delineation of the border between Greece and Albania in 1913 left a number of Albanian-populated villages on the Greek side of the border (and the Greek-populated villages and cities in the region called Northern Epirus on the Albanian). Coastal parts of the region in Thesprotia were populated in the past by an Albanian minority (Cham Albanians) along with the majority of ethnic Greeks.
References

^ Π.Δ. 51/87 “Καθορισμός των Περιφερειών της Χώρας για το σχεδιασμό κ.λ.π. της Περιφερειακής Ανάπτυξης” (Determination of the Regions of the Country for the planning etc. of the development of the regions, Efimeris tis Kyverniseos ΦΕΚ A 26/06.03.1987
^ Winnifrith, T.J. Badlands-Borderland: A History of Southern Albania/Northern Epirus. London: Duckworth Publishers, 2003, ISBN 0715632019, p. 8. "The Thesprotians lived in the western part of what is now Greek Epirus, the Molossians in the rest of Greek Epirus, and the Chaonians in the southern section of Southern Albania..."
^ Winnifrith, Tom J. "Southern Albania, Northern Epirus: Survey of a Disputed Ethnological Boundary" (Society Farsarotul Home).

External links

Official site Region of Epirus
Preveza Weather Station SV6GMQ - Live Weather Conditions (in English and Greek)

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