Driving west from Grevena and heading to Samarina, 5 km before reaching the town, dominates this imposing monument in Annitsa, Grevena. The memorial is dedicated to the Fallen members of the Greek Armed Forces of the Prefecture of Grevena, where in the period 1940-1941 fought against the Italians.
Second world war
On October 28, 1940, the Italian Duce, Benito Mussolini, invaded northern Greece from Albania, which was at that time under Italian control. Although greatly outnumbered, within a month the Greek army had pushed the Italians back into Albania.
The Italians had penetrated until the 3rd of November in Samarina and Distrato towns, covering the left part of their main attack with 5 divisions. Against them was only a single Greek division, the 8th, in the region of Epirus (Kalpaki).
The first major victory of the Greek army that crushed the Italian Alpine division “Julia” was with the counterattack from 3rd to 7th November. The battle line was Skougza – Annitsa – Vasilitsa.
It was erected at this location and at an altitude of 1700 meters. Annitsa’s location is between the Mountain tops of Skougza and Vasilitsa, a battle line of the Second World War. In 1978 the Reserves War Association of the Prefecture of Grevena decided to built this Memorial.
Reasons for choosing this location
The location was chosen for several reasons. Among them were:
- There, at the end of the 18th century, Saint Cosmas placed a wooden cross, saying: “If an enemy ever comes here from the north, he will not pass under this cross.”
- It is the closest battle point, to the graves of more than 120 soldiers of Grevena, who are buried in Albania.
- In Annitsa, the people of Grevena transported under difficult circumstances supplies and ammunition. With their help they managed to strengthen both the retreating units, as well as the army units recruited for counterattack.
- There was a rapid gathering and formation of mostly mobilized units of the Greek Army for defense and counterattack.
- From this battle line began the final and victorious counterattack of the Greek army. The opponent was the 3rd Italian Mountain Alpine Division (JULIA), under General GIROTTI.
This Monument is a history jewel of Grevena and Greece in general. It honors our Fallen, it honors the people of Grevena, it honors the history of our place. The celebration is organised by the Associations of Wounded Warriors, Reserved Officers and War Disabled Victims of the Grevena.
“In this location there are still visible the ramparts of 1940 battle positions of the Greek Army”
Nearby it is worth visiting Samarina and Dotsiko, the village with the stone bridge in the center.
This location is also part of the Grevena-Kozani Geopark, a member of the global network of Geoparks of UNESCO.