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The very first building erected in today's Zagora was the monastery "Metamorphose of the Saviour", the `Sotira Monastery', which was founded in 1160 BC by Christian Emperors and was given large properties of land which supported a large population of monks. An accidental fire destroyed it in August 1887. Around the monastery the first houses were constructed by the inhabitants of old Zagora, and as it seems, it got the name Sotira-Zagora (Sav­iour-Zagora) as a statement of being a new settlement. Slowly as time passed and Zagora developed and flourished, new settlements were created and the neighbourhoods of Saint George, Saint Kyriaki and Saint Paraskevi were added to the original settlement.

The new Zagora took shape by the end of the 16th century, and soon started to develop. Agriculture and trade flourished. Zagora was essential in the silk trade (30-40 tons per year) and exported to Venice, Dalmatia, Germany and other parts of Europe. During this time smaller local indus­tries developed as well. Wool was imported from different areas of Greece (Levadia in Beotia delivered almost all of its annual production of wool to Zagora) and was mixed withlocal qualities, spun and woven in the famous "workshops". Specifically the "Zagorian Shepherd's Coats" became fa­mous all over Greece.Due to the trade of all these products, Zagora de­veloped a fleet of ships which docked in the nearby harbour of 'Horefto'. They crossed the Mediterranean Sea to all important European harbours, as well as to Constantinople and Smyrna (now Ismir). The "Zagorian Ships" were cele­brated in hundreds of verses and songs, still sung by the inhabitants of Zagora. This way the east side of Mount Pe-lion became an important industrial and trading centre.During the Turkish occupation there were two schools in Zagora. One operated in the cells of the Sotira monastery where basic steps of reading and writing were taught. It was simply called "The School" and it is not known when it was founded.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 March 2011 23:51

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