Drosopigi. The Greek village that was built three times in 100 years
The martyr village of Drosopigi lies at an altitude of 900m in Mt. Vitsi, in Western Macedonia Region, Northern Greece . The nearest city Florina, is only 13 km away. The road that leads to the village is actually a mountain pass connecting Florina and Kastoria. Due to its rare beauty with wonderful landscapes changes, makes it a must destination for bikers and cyclists. Drosopigi is the place where everyone stops to drink a coffee or eat something in the main square.
The settlement was formerly called Belkameni or Velkameni and was located at a higher point of the mountain a few kilometers away. The first inhabitants came mainly from Plikati, Konitsa. In 1843 they bought a large area of the mountain and in 1844 they started the construction of their houses, the roads and the church. Over the next years, other residents from Grammousta, Linotopi and other Vlach villages settled in Drosopigi.
Most of the residents where famous stone masons while other worked for Monasteries in Mount Athos, Chalkidiki.
Exceptional examples of their art as craftsmen of stone are the old mansions of Nymphaio, the Nikeios School, several churches inside and outside Greece.
At Mount Athos they were mainly active as lumberjacks, but several villagers learned from the monks the art of hagiography where they excelled.
Due to its location, Belkameni was a base and refuge both in the Macedonian Struggle and in the Resistance. After the liberation, the village had 1,800 inhabitants.
The chronicle of the catastrophe in 1944.
During the German occupation in WWII, the village performed the exact same mission. Rebel care, missions and espionage network. Eventually it became a target of the German Army. On 4th April of 1944 the German Forces burned the village, fortunately with only four dead citizens. Fortunately, because the Germans were not informed that the guerrillas had abducted and killed 5 German soldiers the day before. The inhabitants of the village, after taking care of the burial of the Germans in places that could not be discovered, decided to evacuate the village and take refuge in the mountains.
When 4.4.44 dawned, the Germans surrounded the village and then set it on fire. When the inhabitants returned, they found that only a few houses and the bell tower remained standing. With the meager means and adverse conditions they started to rebuild the village, and life started to roll again. All this, however, until 1947 when the village was evacuated due to the civil war and the strong presence of the guerrillas. The inhabitants were ordered to be transferred to the neighbour villages of Skopia and Idrousa until 1952. The construction of the new settlement had already begun in 1951, with the construction of new roads, buildings and a church in the new lower location that is today. Thus, in around 100 years the inhabitants built the village 3 times. Drosopigi is recognized by presidential decree as a martyr village and is one of the 14 Martyr Villages of Western Macedonia.
In addition to the 4 dead of the German occupation, another 10 guerrillas from the village lost their lives during the civil war.
The watermill “MYLOS TOU STYLO” is located about one kilometer outside the village in the direction to Kastoria. Even today, the traditional washing of carpets, clothes and blankets takes place in this old water mill.
In Drosopigi you will find two old stone bridges. The largest one was built in 1852 by local craftsmen. The Drosopigiotiko stream flows below it and if you follow the path you will be led to the old village. This point is part of the E4 path, which starts in Florina, continues to Drosopigi, goes up to the abandoned settlement of old Drosopigi and then continues to Nymfaio. A second smaller bridge is located 200 meters after the watermill.
A point of reference for the history and characteristics of the village and its inhabitants is the Historical and Folklore Museum of Drosopigi, where visitors can see traditional costumes, farm tools, antique furniture, icons, and books about the area.
- Old photos from citizens, weddings, the old village but mainly samples of art from mansions, buildings (Nikeios School of Nymphaio) but also churches in Greece and other countries.
- Letters from the period of the Macedonian Struggle
- Holy Gospels (some of which were printed in a Greek printing house in Venice in 1860)
- Religious items and icons from a nearby village settlement that was not completely destroyed by fire
Days / Hours of operation
There is temporarily no specific schedule. You can make a short stop for a coffee in the square, and one of the hospitable residents will be very happy to contact the person in charge of the Museum to open it and give you a short tour.
“Martyr villages and cities” are Greek villages or cities which have suffered tremendous destructions from foreign invaders or conquerors during military operations in wartime. This designation is granted officially by presidential decree. It usually refers to villages/cities which have suffered destructions during the Axis Occupation (1941-1944).