On an expansive mountain plain of mountain Zalongo, on a 550 m. altitude and with unique panoramic view to the Ionian Sea, stand the remains of the famous Hellenistic city of Kassope. This ancient city was founded in the first half of the 4th c. BC through uniting of the villages in the wider area, at a naturally fortified strategic position from which it controlled the roads crossing the region along a North-South axis, and those joining the mountainous inland with the seacoast. The city was organized as a “city-state”, and was the Kassopean administrative, political, religious and economic centre. Immediately after being founded, it issued its own coinage and its trade and economic connections soon extended to the entire eastern Mediterranean, as the coins from other regions found during the excavations of Kassope testify.
In a short distance, near the top of Zalongo mountain, dominates the monument of women from Souli. It can be seen above the village of Kamarina, not far away from the archaeological site of Kassope. At this sacred place, 63 Souliotes women with their children danced their way to their death, falling off the cliff, in 1803, because they did not want to be captured by the troops of Ali Pasha, when Souli finally surrendered after years of siege.
In honour of these heroines, who chose death over disgrace and misery, a memorial was erected at the top of this cliff. This monument was placed there in 1961, a work by sculptor Georgios Zongolopoulos and architect Patroklos Karantinos. The renowned sculptor managed to articulate the dance which was connected with salvation, love of freedom, and struggle for life. Holding hands as they did in dance, the female figures gradually grow in size, becoming gigantic at the edge of the cliff, thus becoming huge, heroic figures, eternal symbols of sacrifice and love of freedom, a love for which they did not hesitate to sacrifice not only their own life but also the life of their children. The monument, 18 m long and 13m high, is on a stone base on top of which the six gigantic abstract female figures of the Souliot women have been placed.
Access to the top of the cliff is by a stone-paved path of about 400 steps, which starts at the Monastery of Agios Dimitrios, near the archaeological site of ancient Kassope. At the foot of the mountain lies the picturesque monastery dedicated to Saint Demetrius.
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