|• Municipality||583.5 km2 (225.3 sq mi)|
|• Municipal unit||495.7 km2 (191.4 sq mi)|
|• Municipality density||13/km2 (34/sq mi)|
|• Municipal unit||5,970|
|• Municipal unit density||12/km2 (31/sq mi)|
|• Population||2,639 (2011)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
Filiates (Greek: Φιλιάτες) is a town and a municipality in Thesprotia, Greece. It is located in the northernmost part of the regional unit, bordering western Ioannina regional unit and southern Albania.
The region of Filiates was known as Cestrine prior to the Ottoman period. The region is named for the ancient town of Cestria, in ancient Epirus, other ancient names for which were Cammania, Ilion, Epirus, Troy, Epirus and Troia and Epirusis; the site of ancient Cestria is probably over the Albanian frontier. The modern name Filiates is the result of the conversion of a surname. In particular it applies to a certain Filios with the addition of the Greek ending -άτες or -άταις. Filiates is known as Filat in Albanian, and as Filat in Ottoman Turkish.
The present municipality Filiates was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 2 former municipalities, that became municipal units (constituent communities in brackets):
The municipality has an area of 583.530 km2, the municipal unit 495.727 km2.
The province of Filiates (Greek: Επαρχία Φιλιατών) was one of the provinces of Thesprotia. It had the same territory as the present municipality. It was abolished in 2006.
Filiates is located in a largely mountainous area. The Mourgana mountains lie to the north, on the border with Albania. Filiates is located southwest of Konitsa, west of Ioannina, northeast of Igoumenitsa and southeast of Sarandë, Albania. The Greek National Road 6 (Larissa - Ioannina - Igoumenitsa) and the Egnatia Odos motorway (Alexandroupoli - Thessaloniki - Ioannina - Igoumenitsa) pass south of the municipal unit.
The municipal unit Filiates has a land area of 495.727 km² and a population of 5,970 (2011 census). The population of the town Filiates, one of the biggest towns in the area, was 2,512 and the community population was 2,639. The largest other villages in the municipal unit are Keramítsa (pop. 149), Palaiochóri (142), Vrysélla (267), Leptokaryá (193), Trikóryfon (177), Aetos (134), Keramitsa (149), Kyparisso (111), Pigadoulia (116), Raveni (123) and Kokkiniá (130). The municipal unit has a total of 42 communities.
Because of its high altitude (~850m) location on a west-facing slope, Filiates has one of the wettest climates in Greece.
In antiquity, the area of Filiates was inhabited by the Epirot Greek tribe of the Chaonians. In antiquity the area round the city was known as Cestrine (or Kestrine) (Greek: Κεστρίνη), separated from Thesprotia by the River Thyamis. The region was named from the ancient town of Cestria, which was also known as Cammania, Cestria, Filiates, Ilion, Epirus, Troy, Epirus and Troia, Epirus. According to Pausanias (Description of Greece), Cestrine took its name from Cestrinus, the son of Helenus, having previously borne the appellation of Cammania. The site of the ancient town of Cestria probably lies over the Albanian border.
In 15th century Filiates came under Ottoman rule and became part of Sanjak of Ioannina. During 17th and 18th century Ottoman rule a significant part of the town's population converted to Islam.
In 1907, Qamil Çami also starting working as a teacher and teaching written Albanian secretly. On August 25, 1908 along with other rilindas opened the first Albanian-language school of Filiates and became its headmaster. The funds were provided by the people of Filiates, such as Musa Demi, rilindas of the area and by other notable Cham Albanians like Rasih Dino, son of Abedin Dino.
In 1911 during the period of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Albanians of Filiates formed çetes, armed guerilla groups fighting for autonomy from the Ottoman Empire. On the other hand, the local Greek population displayed tolerance towards actions by the Albanians that didn't reveal chauvinist inclinations. Population movements to the town that occurred from the middle of the 19th century weakened the Muslim elite and led to the gradual Hellenization of former Albanian-majority towns in the area such as Filiates in the 1920s. During the interwar period, Filiates was mainly an Albanian speaking small town that after 1939 increasingly became Greek speaking. In 1930, a Cham Albanian committee from Filiates requested to the Greek government for the use of Albanian in public schools, for its use to be allowed among students and for the right to open private schools in Filiates. The inhabitants of Filiates then went on and submitted their petition to the League of Nations without success.
In 1928, representatives from the Cham Albanian communities in Paramythia, Karvounari and Filiates, requested the opening of two Muslim schools which they would fund themselves. The Greek authorities officially rejected the request, fearing that these Muslim schools would serve Albanian state propaganda by promoting an anti-Greek sentiment among the Chams of Greece. Regardless, the Greek government allowed their operation unofficially because it could close them as illegal at any time, and could also claim that their function fulfilled demands for Albanian schools in Chameria.
During the Greek-Italian War the town of Filiates was burned by collaborationist Cham Albanian bands (October 28-November 14, 1940). Filiates region was until 1944, home to a Cham Albanian community. Almost the entire population of them fled during the liberation of Greece, because a large part of the community collaborated with Nazi forces. In September 1944, during the Axis withdrawal, the EDES resistance managed to quickly overcome the remaining Cham collaborator units stationed in the town. After the initial chaos and destruction that lasted for five days, the town's Cham community fled to Albania. The Cham leaders had managed to retreat together with the German troops. Almost all Cham Albanian monuments of Filiates were destroyed during World War II.
Sancaks Yanya (Kazas: Yanya, Aydonat (Paramythia), Filat (Philiates), Meçova (Metsovo), Leskovik (war kurzzeitig Sancak) und Koniçe (Konitsa)
Until the early 20th century, economic strength lay in the hands of the Muslim landowner class, many of whom were engaged in commerce and usury. This situation had been changing gradually since the mid-19th century as small numbers of individuals and later families from the province of Ioannina, settled in the principal towns of the region establishing business. By the 1920s, they were joined by local men who slowly came to constitute an elite that threatened to wrest economic control from the Muslim notables. The presence of these men led to a gradual Hellenization of formerely Albanian-majority towns, like Margariti and Filiates that was viewed with disdain by the Muslim peasantry
(..) complaints filed by a committee of Chams of Filiates. The latter claimed that Albanian should be taught in public schools, and called for the free use of the Albanian language among students. Furthermore, they asked for permission to open private schools in Filiates and other villages. (..) The complaints of the inhabitants of Filiates ended up in a petition to the League of Nation, without success once more.
On the 21st of September the German forces started to withdraw... destruction prevailed in the city.