The Zagorohoria’s historical significance can be experienced in its exquisite Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches. After the dismemberment of Byzantium by the Latin Crusaders in 1204, and the Turkish capture of Constantinople in 1453, numerous important Greek families fled the capital for the mountain fastnesses of Epiros. The fortress-like Zagorohoria would safeguard Greek artistic and literary culture; churches in more vulnerable, low-lying parts of Greece suffered widespread damage from the Turks, who were particularly keen on gouging out the eyes of saints in frescoes.
However, the Ottomans also gave the region privileges and autonomy for guarding the mountain passes. This, together with the remittances and gifts sent from the large Epirot diaspora abroad, funded the creation of the matchless Zagori villages and their great churches, in whose lavish decorations we can appreciate what the holy shrines of Byzantium would have looked like in their prime.