History of Parga
The old city of Parga at the time of Plutarch and Ptolemy was the ancient Toryni, which was situated at the current location of the city and was destroyed in 168 BC by Emilios Pavlos. The isles and reefs which are in the sea infront of Parga, were created when the ancient city sunk. The ancient city had been the port of Epirus in antiquity -according to Meletios- and was known by the name Elaia. Based on the findings in the area it must have prospered both economically and culturally.
From the first village Agia Kyriaki till the location of Anthousa there are scattered: walls, polygonal stones and carved tombs. In Agia Paraskevi, a region of Anthousa, there must have been an entire ancient Cemetery according to the conclusions of archeologists following the discovery of a carved tomb with manyfuneralgifts,
Due to its exquisite location the city has been under constant occupation from the Mycenaean age till its incorporation in the Hellenic State. The existence of the first city appears for the first time in 1320 AD when it had been the object of transaction between the Venetians and the Despotat of Romania. According to a Byzantine historian - possibly loannis Katakouzinos - it is mentioned in 1337 that Parga was one of the fortified cities of Epirus. It was built on the hill named Pezovolos, where today are found scattered ruins called Paleopirgi. Its first name was Paragiros of Paragea from the Slav word Prag meaning port. In its current location it was built in 1365, as was the castle which had been under the protection of the Normans. Since that time the Pargians have been trying diplomatically and heroically to achieve protection from less stringent tyrants. In 1400 AD it is deserted by the Normans and it is conquered by the Albanian-Serb-Vlach Bogoi. Since then constant predatory raids weaken its defenses and it is obliged to ask for help from the Venetians. Thus on the 21 st of March of 1401, a treaty is signed in Corfu between Baylo Azarino and a committee of citizens of Parga led by Protopappas loannis Vasilas; the treaty lasted for approximately 400 years and offered many benefits to the protected. It was ruled by a general assembly of Patricians and by a Governor-administrator who exercised both administrative and judicial authority through the support and the protection of the Venetians.
During this period of 400 years the city is in constant tumult which never lasts for long. We will mention the following events:
In 1452, Hatzi Bey with 12,000 soldiers conquers Parga along with the Venetian possessions, despite attempts of Parga to resist. Two years later, the Venetians assisted by the Corfiots re-conquer it and raise the flag of St. Mark at the fortress. During the conflict between Venetians and Turks, in Parga operated a shipyard where were built ships for the Venetians. In 1475 a second attack by the Turks is repelled with the help of the Venetians and the Corfiots.
In 1500 Vayazit the Second attacks the Venetian possessions and takes as a prisoner the son of Yannis Mikegos, afisherman of Parga, who, the legend says, became the Vizier Ibrahim Pasha by marrying the sister of Suleiman the Magnificent.
In 1537 Harientin Barbarossa takes hold of Parga, tears down the fortress and leaves the city desolate. Later Parga is rebuilt with the help of the Venetians.
In 1571 the first admiral of the High Gate, All Pasha, lays siege to Parga, sets it on fire and tears down its fortress once again. In the same year afterthe naval battle of Nafpaktos, the Venetians conquer Parga, rebuild the fortress and the city and make it the most important port in Epirus, through which will pass all commercial transport of the region and of other Hellenic cities.
From 1571 to April 15,1819, despite continuous tumult, Parga is not conquered and being afree city it prospers and evolves. The Ottomans, fearing the Pargians, fortified Margariti and built a solid fortress. Venieros - General of Venice - sent Paolo Orsino who conquers Margariti and destroys the fortress. During this period the greatest adventure of Parga happened in 1657, when Ottomans Imam Pasha and Beiko along with 4000 soldiers take possession of the mount Lithitsa and lay siege to Parga. The next year they endeavor again the siege with stronger forces - 6,000 soldiers and pickrnen - again unsuccessfully.
On July 21 st, 1718, with the Pasarovitz treaty, Parga is put under the protection of the Venetians and becomes the refuge of all fugitive Greeks, as well as a supply center for the captains of the revolution. Lambros Katsonis, Boukouvalas and Androutsos found refuge here. This infuriates Ali Pasha who attempts with all possible means to conquer Parga, but he does not succeed, because the Pargians together with the Souliotes repei all his attacks.
In 1797 with the treaty of Campo Formio, France, as the ultimate power of the time, becomes the new protector of Parga.
Ali Pasha and 6,000 soldiers launch an attack against Parga, and the Pargians askforthe protection of the Russo-Turkish navy which is under the command of the Russian Admiral Ouzakof and the Turk Kandir Bey, and they raise theflags of their countries. The Russian Admiral sends a Russo-Turkish Guard which takes charge of the city's protection.
In 1800 with the treaty between Russia and Turkey, with which the Ionian Islands are declared free, Parga also is declared afree state. This treaty is acknowledged by the treaty of Amiens in 1802, as well as by England that guarantees its validity, Ali Pasha accepts to sign the treaty as well, on the condition that they give him Parga. The governor of Corfu Abdoulah Bey and his representative Ali Aga refuse to satisfy |the demands of All Pasha concerning the delivery of Parga to his rule.
During the Russo-Turkish War in 1806, Ali Pasha sends his son Ali to Parga with tempting propos tions, and asks the Pargians to surrender the city to him, but they proudly recline his offers. In 1807, tr infuriated Ali Pasha and 20.000 Albanians lay siege to Parga, but he does not succeed in conquering because with the treaty of Tilsit, the Ionian Islands and Parga are put under the protection of France. / Pasha asks for the consent of the Governor of Corfu, General Caesar Bertiet - a Frenchman - who turn notifies accordingly Napoleon and asks him to refuse the demands of Ali Pasha. Napoleon tf Great refuses the demands of Ali Pasha and his reply can be read on an inscription at Mikro Kastra "Defence tie la patrie".
Following the defeat of Napoleon the Great during the expedition to Russia in 1812, Ali Pasha senc his son Muhtar, Omer Vryonis and Agos Vasiaris and 6000 Albanians to lay siege to Agia, they conqui it, they destroy it and they build a fortress high up over Anthousa in order to use it as a base of open tions against Parga.
Ali Pasha lays siege to Parga by land and by sea - with afleet coming from Preveza - but the Pargiar - as other Maniates - crush the invader and deliver a hard blow to his fame.
The French, having lost from the English, cede their possessions in the Ionian Islands and the coa of Epirus to the English. Thus in 1815, the English rule the Ionian Islands, apart from Corfu, whic remains in the possession of the French. Ali Pasha promises to help the English if they cede to hii Lefkada and Parga.
In 1816 a treaty is signed between England and Russia with which the English become rulers of tr Ionian Islands. Ali Pasha accuses Parga to the Sultan and to the English, saying that it is a nest i malefactors and that the Pargians and the Souliotes are a danger for the High Gate. The accusations i Ali Pasha are supported by the English Governor of Corfu Thomas Mightland, whom due to his pn Turk policy they called Sultan Thomas.
On May 17,1817 at loannina, is signed a treaty between the English, represented by the EngliE Consul of Morias, John Cartright, and the Turks, represented by the Vizier Hamit Bey, with which Pare is ceded to the Turks and Turkey rests its claims in the Ionian Islands. According to the treaty, Ali PasF would guarantee the life, the security and the property of the Pargians. Each Pargian who leaves Pare would receive a compensation that was set by the treaty atthe amount of 150,000 pounds. On April 1! 1819 the Pargians leave their home and take to the sea in search for a new land. IVlightland received tf compensation of 620 thousand talira and 20 thousand gold Rubiedes and left with the sh "Ganymides" for Corfu without ever giving the money to the Pargians. Their conduct, in respect 1 Parga was condemned by the English themselves. Lord Lanter Dalet and General Richard Georc wrote: "It was a crime to sell the Pargians to the Turks", The famous Italian poet Tyrteos glorified tF fugitives and condemned the actions of the English in his poem "the refugees of Parga". The authi lieutenant Krapsitis from Epirus wrote: "A people who made an immortal symbol out of bravery an patriotism is sold by the English to the Turks", The popular muse deplores the selling of Parga.
Following the beheading of Ali Pasha in 1821, in the beginning of July, 250 Pargians with Captair Dimoulitsas, Desyllas and Tsoukos and Commander Riniassas Peraivos, assisted by 50 Souliote; disembarked at Pagonia, secretly ascended to Agia Eleni - Makrynoros - and early in the mornir entered into the city without encountering any resistance. The Turks laid siege to the city by land and t sea and would have slaughtered them, if 200 Souliotes with Captains Fotomaras, Zervas and Dagl hadn't launched a surprise attackallowing the others to escape to Corfu.
The Maniates were moved by the desperate fight of the few Pargians. Kyriakoulis Mavromihalis ar approximately 800 warriors disembarked at Splantza in order to connect with the Souliotes and attac the Turks by the rear. In one of the attacks on the hill of Agia Eleni, Kyriakoulis was killed - June 1822 and the friendly and kind action of the Maniatesfailed.
In 1831 Resit Mehmet Pasha invited the Pargians back to their homeland, but only 100 familic-came back and so, he relocated ottoman families from the surrounding regions.
In 1847 Parga was sold to Resit Pasha and Refat Pasha and they leased the land at a high price I the Pargians.
In 1913 Tselio Moulazimi - the Turkish Governor of Parga - delivers the city to Lieutenant Angelc Fetsis,onthe22March.
In 1930 with the escort of the entire Hellenic Navy the holy relics, the bones of the ancestors and th flag of Parga are returned to the city from Corfu.