The impressive single-arch bridge of Aoos, built in 1871 by the stone master Ziogas Frontzos from Pirsogianni. It is only 500 meters from the Ioannina – Kozani National Highway. From the base of the stone arch begins the path that unfolds in a direction parallel to the river, amidst a feast of vegetation.
Starting from the large stone bridge of Konitsa on the Aoos river, you follow a dirt road on the right river bank which in about 2 km ends at a small concrete dam on the river bed.
From there, a wide path that alternates at intervals with a narrow road, continues for about 40 minutes, parallel to the right bank of the river, and then climbs to the monastery of Stomio through a beautiful forest (50 minutes). The path is well trodden, marked and does not hide any dangers.
Along the way you will encounter mountain vegetation of all kinds, you will pass the small cascades of the Gravos mountain stream that originates below Drakolimni in the Tymfi highlands and you will end up at the Stomio Monastery. The monastery (located at a height of 650 m) was built in 1774 while in 1943 it was set on fire by the Germans. Its position is unique, as it overlooks from above the narrowest (Stomio) and most beautiful part of the Aoos gorge.
Alternatively, in about 30 minutes from the concrete dam, one can follow the old trail to the right of the road which offers a more vivid sense of the wild beauty of the landscape and the unique vegetation of the gorge.
Difficulty level: low. Travel time: 2 hours. Marking: Good marking Altitude: 450m- 650m.
Points of interest: Konitsa bridge (1870), Stomio Monastery (1774), the view of the gorge of Aoos and Tymfi.
The gorge of Aoos is part of the Vikos-Aoos National Geopark which was established in 2010 and it is a world natural heritage monument recognized by UNESCO.
Konitsa Bridge: It was built in 1870-71 by a crew of 50 craftsmen led by master craftsman Ziogas Frontzos from Pyrsogianni.
The bridge was built with donations from the residents of the city and especially from Ioannis Loulis from Ioannina city, who allocated about half of the 120,000 piaster that it cost to be built. In the same place, a wooden bridge had been built earlier, in 1823, but which did not withstand the rush of the river and it was destroyed very soon. The current stone bridge has dimensions of 36 meters span and 20 meters height. Under its arch you can see the small bell that it was meant to warn passers-by not to cross the bridge when a strong wind was blowing from inside the gorge because there was a risk of being swept away and falling.
Monastery of Stomio In one of the most impressive locations of our country, in the gorge of Aoos, between the steep slopes of Tymfi (altitude 2497 m) and Trapezitsa (altitude 2024 m) there is the Monastery of Stomio. The original site of the monastery (founded in 1442) is on the opposite slopes of Trapezitsa where the name “Paliomonastiro” is preserved. It was moved to its current location by Abbot Konstantinos in 1774. From the almost total destruction of the Monastery by the German army in 1943, only the temple was saved.
Stomio Monastery is today an active men’s monastery. It has 11 newly built monastic cells with auxiliary spaces and a small cruciform catholicon with a dome. Of interest is the iconostasis with several Byzantine icons and the relics of many saints, which were brought to the monastery from Paleomonastiro. The monastery can only be visited after a 2-hour hike from the Konitsa bridge. The monastery celebrates on September 8, where hundreds of pilgrims flock from Konitsa and the wider area.