The remote Zagori Cultural Landscape has joined the esteemed UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The first Greek landscape to be recognised for its ‘modern-era heritage’ in the list and the only Greek addition since 1999, this welcomed decision follows years of anticipation and was announced at the annual UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The Zagori Cultural Landscape’s joining of the UNESCO World Heritage list is an outstanding achievement for a region with a rich cultural heritage, a unique rugged landscape and more than its fair share of natural beauty. The UNESCO list contains just 19 Greek landmarks, which include the Acropolis in Athens, Old Town in Corfu, and now the Zagori Cultural Landscape.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites are recognised as places of cultural, historical, scientific, or natural significance and are protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The sites are celebrated for their outstanding universal value and are important landmarks that contribute to the collective heritage of humanity.
UNESCO’s website notes that Zagori’s collection of stone villages showcases traditional architecture adapted to the mountain topography. Additional new destinations include an Ethiopian national park, a tea plantation in China, a Roman temple in France and a collection of Turkish mosques.
A mountain paradise nestled in the northwestern corner of Greece, Zagori, Epirus, is home to 46 stone-built villages. With an average of four inhabitants per square kilometre, the region is proud to showcase a different side to Greece, one which invites thrilling adventure and deep exploration.
The plunging Gorge of Vikos (the deepest in the world in proportion to its width as noted in Guinness World Records) and the enchanting Towers of Astraka are punctuated by the crystal clear waters of the Voidomatis River and the Pindus mountain range – with the world Zagori translating to ‘beyond the mountains’.
Visitors can explore ancient monasteries, cross picturesque stone bridges that date back to the 18th century and enjoy the delicious local cuisine.
Hardly on the tourist radar, Aristi is one of the villages welcoming visitors with open arms as a result of Vasilis Iosifidis’s vision to create a luxury mountain retreat. Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas has 26 rooms, suites, and villas, each perfectly located across the resort to offer sweeping views and designed to encourage visitors to explore the region with curiosity and respect.
Guests have exclusive access to all of the incredible amenities on offer, such as the open-air spa and high-end restaurant, Salvia – both perfect spots to relax and rejuvenate after a day of exploring the region.
The team at Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas is obviously delighted by the announcement. Its founder and owner, Vasilis Iosifidis, said, “We are honoured that the Zagori Cultural Landscape has joined the UNESCO World Heritage List and is receiving the recognition it deserves. Still an undiscovered region, Zagori is a special part of Greece with an important history that feeds into the local culture today.
Our guests receive unique experiences that encourage them to explore and understand the striking surrounding landscapes and learn about the heritage of the area. At our resort, sustainability is at the heart of all we do and celebrating the area’s cultural significance and natural beauty is of paramount importance.”
Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas is a member of Beyond Green (Preferred Hotels Sustainability Accreditation) and a proud member of the Zagori Excellence Network (ZEN), an initiative run by a group of outstanding tourism that protects the region’s environment, biodiversity, human geography and traditional economic activities and ways of life. This is achieved through systematic preservation efforts, digitisation of records, the promotion of sustainable practices and well-balanced economic growth initiatives.
The resort was built with a green ethos in mind as it was built from the ground up, and its “green story” begins with its very architecture, as environmental factors were considered from its inception. The resort is built in complete harmony with the surrounding landscape and the local architectural style.
Only local materials, stone and wood decorate the inner and outer parts of the buildings. The operational needs of the buildings are both environmentally sustainable and have a very low impact on nature.
Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas offers nightly rates in a double standard room on a B&B basis from £122 based on two people sharing. Villas are available from £463 per night for two people sharing on a B&B basis.
For more information on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, please visit https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1695.
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