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Dodoni

Dodoni (or Dodona) is a historical area of Greece, southwest of Ioannina, on the foothills of Tomaros Mountain, in Epirus. Dodoni is of enormous archaeological significance and an inextricable part of Greek civilization. The ancient theatre and oracle revealed during archaeological excavations in the area were of such historical importance that they made Dodoni famous again.

The first citations of Dodoni are encountered in the Homeric epics (circa 750 BCE) and then again in the writings of Herodotus who placed the foundation of the oracle in the 2nd millennium BCE and in the works of Aristotle who considered the area the origins of the Hellenes. The first to control the Oracle of Dodoni were the Thesprotians from 1900-1600 BCE up to the 4th century BCE when it passed to the Molossians. The Molossians made it the center of their religious practices and built imposing edifices with the most important ones being the temple of Zeus Dodonaeus, the Prytanaeum, the Bouleuterion, and the ancient theater of Dodoni. In 219 BCE, the Aetolians invaded the temple and burned it to the ground, but it was rebuilt later by King Philip V of Macedon. In 168 BCE, the splendid temple and the remaining buildings were destroyed by the Romans only to be rebuilt by Emperor Augustus in 31 BCE. In the 1st century CE, the Romans converted the theater into an arena for wild animal fights. Once Christianity had spread, the buildings were razed to the ground. For many a century Dodoni remained deserted. During the invasion by barbaric tribes, the inhabitants fled the area which fell under Turkish rule until 1913 when it was liberated with the rest of Epirus. However, archaeological excavations in Dodoni had started as early as 1874, revealing the light that once was Dodoni and keeping it alive until today. The Municipality of Dodoni was formed in 1998, comprises 11 villages whose architecture is the traditional one of Epirus, and is characterized by breathtaking, enchanting vistas.