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St Donatos

 

 Fotiki                 
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The Roman colony Fotiki stands on the today’s region of St. Donatos (Sametia), and was established in 167 BC. There, was found the sarcophagus of Pirus, the King of Epirus. You can see the sarcophagus within the Ioannina’s museum. 

There are also other cities, as Nikopolis, built during Roman period.  There was a movement of population from the surrounding region to new built Thesprotian cities. The exact placement of Fotiki (Liboni), was revealed by 2 inscriptions. The first one referred the Roman commander Pompeeo Sabino, and was found in 1890. Is written in Latin and was dated at the end of the 3rd century BC. In 1906 was found the second inscription, written in Greek. It’s content is about citizens’ of Fotiki decisions.

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There are some Latin inscriptions from 2nd and 3rd century, when the local Parliament of Fotiki was active, meanwhile it seams that the city was active also during the period after. The city was named after Fotios, the leader of Chanons. It was also the bishops quarters. Because the uncertain times, the population was moved to the castle of St. Donatos (built by Ioustinianos). In the area were found, besides the Latin inscriptions, some other ancient findings testimonial of a great cultural activity. Today, all findings are kept in the museum of Epirus, and in other museums abroad. Fotiki became Christian during 1st century. There was involvement in world and local meetings. Although the raids of different nations (Serbians, Bulgarians, Francs, Albanians etc), Epirus didn’t change its national composition. After Christian religion spread in the area, some cities were used as bishop’s quarters (Nikopolis, Dryinoupolis, Fotiki, Apollonia etc)

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The Greek tradition was so strong, that when the Byzantine Empire was concurred by Crusaders, the Komninos family established the famous Despotato of Epirus. After Byzantine Empire fall, the Despotato remained independent during the next 2 centuries, maintaining the Greek Byzantine traditions. Its influence helped the entire Greek nation during the Turkish domination. The old greatness came back when Ioustinianos built the castle, afterwards named the castle of St. Donatos. In 1796, at Liboni of Paramythia (the ancient Fotiki), were found 21 bronze sculptures made by the Lissipos School (3rd century BC). Today, we can see these sculptures in several museums in London, Russia and Constantinople.

During the Turkish domination, at Liboni were found ancient graves and inscriptions.

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In 1906 the archaeolog and doctor in Paramythia, Dimitrios Mexis, with his origin from Labovo of Northern Epirus, discover 1 inscription which had the text: “Meeting of people of Fotiki”. Despite the movements of population, from Romans and others, the traditions, the language, the writing and the Greek culture remained, and the newcomers embraced them. During the Byzantine ages, the 6th century, Ioustinianos built new houses, temples, and, for the safety of the region, in front of the city and before the mountain Koryla, a great and solid castle honoring the city’s Protector St. Donatos. In 925 Fotiki became the headquarters of Epirus’ commandment. All Epirus took the name of Fotiki. The most famous bishops are Ioannis, his son, Illarios, Florentios and Emmanuil.

Among the most known temples are: the temple of St. Foteini, the temple of Panagia the Lady, the temple of Panagia the Labovithra, the cathedral Kontina, the Palaiokklisi, the temple of St. Vasileios, St. Athanasios and St. Donatos of Fotiki.

 

 

 

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