Margariti is located in Greece
Location within the regional unit
DE Margaritiou.svg
Coordinates: 39°22′N 20°25′E / 39.367°N 20.417°E / 39.367; 20.417Coordinates: 39°22′N 20°25′E / 39.367°N 20.417°E / 39.367; 20.417
Administrative regionEpirus
Regional unitThesprotia
 • Municipal unit149.2 km2 (57.6 sq mi)
 • Municipal unit
 • Municipal unit density17/km2 (43/sq mi)
 • Population783 (2011)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Vehicle registrationΗΝ

Margariti (Greek: Μαργαρίτι; Albanian: Margëlliç) is a village and a former municipality in Thesprotia, Epirus, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Igoumenitsa, of which it is a municipal unit.[2] The municipal unit has an area of 149.223 km2.[3] Population 2,491 (2011).


The toponym Margariti (Greek: Μαργαρίτι) is though to came from Margaritos, a pirate of the Emirate of Sicily to whom the Crusader Normans surrendered their holdings on the Ionian coast in the 12th century.[4] The toponym is of uncertain origin and is attested for the first time during the 16th century.[5] In the formerly local Albanian speech it is known as Margëlliç[6] and in Ottoman Turkish as Margliç.[7] This form is attested since 1611, when Gjon Mekuli from Parga reports to the Venetians that Marghelici had been affected by the plague.[8] Historical documents almost always use the form Margariti.[8]


Various ancient sites have been located in the vicinity of the modern settlement. There is a possibility that Margariti was founded before the 16th century.[5]

The Ottoman fort of Margariti was built in the first half of the 16th century.[9] Margariti was the administrative center of the nahiye of Mazaraki which in 1551 was renamed to Margariti. It had 38 and 35 villages in 1551 and 1613 respectively.[10] Margariti itself had 17 and 20 households in 1551 and 1613 respectively. It was located on the Venetian-Ottoman borderlands of the time. The locals of the areas of Paramythia, Parakalamos and Margariti were specifically harassed by the Venetians and the inhabitants of Venetian Corfu in violation of the Ottoman-Venetian treaty of 1540.[11] In 1570, the Venetian commander Girolamo Zane unsucccesfuly attacked the fort of Margariti.[12] In 1571, a group of Albanians from Margariti traveled to Corfu and asked for assistance to take the fort of Margariti from the Ottomans. The Venetian governor of Corfu initially assessed that the force of the group was too small (200-250 men) for the attack.[13] After the Battle of Lepanto crucial support was provided by Greek armed units during the second siege of Margaritio (November 10–14, 1571); revolutionary leader Petros Lantzas became a key figure by organizing the military movements and securing the cooperation of the population in the surrounding region.[14] As such, a larger force which also included local groups from Parga and Paramythia under the Venetian commander Sebastiano Venier was assembled and attacked the fort of Margariti, which was seized and burnt after a four-day siege.[13] The fall of Margariti had a profound impact in the Christian states of the West as well as among the Greek population of Epirus that lived under Ottoman rule.[15] Venice commissioned a painting for Doge's Palace to commemorate the destruction of the fort of Margariti. This was one of the last acts of Venetian incursions in Ottoman territory and in the following decades, the region stoppen being a battleground district.[16]

Local Muslim converts appear in Margariti as early as 1613. A century later, when Evliya Çelebi passed through Margariti he noted that within the citadel of Margariti were 200 houses and another 1,200 were located in the town which had developed around it.[16] The local Albanian family of Çapari emerged in this era. By the end of the 18th century, Hasan Çapari the leading figure of the family owned the entire plain of Fanari (to the south of Margariti).[17] Cham Albanian landlords of Margariti and Paramythia were in conflict with Ali Pasha of Yannina during much of the Pashalik of Yanina era.[18]

In February 1913, Margariti was taken by the Greek army and joined Greece following the Treaty of London. During that period all village elders of the region gathered and declared that they would resist the incorporation of the area into Greece,[19] while some local beys were ready to accept Greek control.[20] At that time the town had a mixed population of Greeks and Cham Albanians.[citation needed] Chams were expelled from the town by ELAS as a result of the Cham collaboration with the Axis occupation forces. 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 Margariti in the 1920s.[21] During the interwar period, Margariti was among the important towns of the Cham Albanian community located in the coastal region of the Greek part of Chameria and a centre of the Albanian speaking area.[22][23]

At the beginning of the Axis occupation as soon as the town was occupied by Fascist Italian troops (1941), armed Cham Albanian groups under J. Sadik committed a number of atrocities and massacres.[24] Almost all Cham Albanian monuments of Margariti were destroyed during World War II.[25] During the end of World War II most Muslim families of the region were relocated north of Ioannina under Nazi German instructions.[26] The region of Margariti together with Mazaraki, was among the first to produce resistance units in Thepsrotia in order to deal with the activity of Muslim Cham Albanian groups.[27]


The province of Margariti (Greek: Επαρχία Μαργαριτίου) was one of the provinces of the Thesprotia Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipal units Margariti and Perdika.[28] It was abolished in 2006.

Notable residents


  1. ^ a b "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
  2. ^ "ΦΕΚ B 1292/2010, Kallikratis reform municipalities" (in Greek). Government Gazette.
  3. ^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-21.
  4. ^ Balta, Oğuz & Yaşar 2011, p. 363:The name of the Margariti citadel is thought to refer to ‘Margaritos’, a pirate and emir of the Sicilian fleet, known from late twelfth-century chronicles for his involvement in the affairs of the Crusader state in Jerusalem. The Normans surrendered their territories in the Ionian Sea to him in the twelfth century.
  5. ^ a b Σμύρης, Γεώργιος (1 January 2000). "Network of Fortifications in the Pashaliki of Ioannina": 179. doi:10.12681/eadd/12426. Retrieved 18 August 2022. Στην περιοχή εντοπίζονται πολλές αρχαίες θέσεις που μαρτυρούν την συνεχή κατοίκηση του χώρου. Το όνομα Μαργαρίτι αναφέρεται μόλις τον 16ο αι. χωρίς να μπορούμε να αποκλείσουμε την παλαιότερη ύπαρξη οικισμού. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ Kretsi, Georgia (2002). "The "Secret" Past of the Greek-Albanian Borderlands: Cham Muslims Albanians: Perspectives on a Conflict Over Historical Accountability and Current Rights". Ethnologia Balkanica: Journal for Southeast European Anthropology. 6 (171). OCLC 717134456.
  7. ^ Balta, Oğuz & Yaşar 2011, p. 349.
  8. ^ a b Xhufi., Pëllumb (2017). Arbërit e Jonit (eng: The Albanians of the Ionian Sea). Onufri. p. 183.
  9. ^ Balta, Oğuz & Yaşar 2011, p. 348.
  10. ^ Balta, Oğuz & Yaşar 2011, p. 362.
  11. ^ Balta, Oğuz & Yaşar 2011, p. 355.
  12. ^ Malcolm 2015, p. 135.
  13. ^ a b Malcolm 2015, p. 171:The only stronghold to be seized from the Ottomans would be Margariti, after a four-day siege by Sebastiano Venier
  14. ^ Χασιωτης, Ιωαννης Κ (1970). Οι Ελληνες στις παραμονες της ναυμαχιας της Ναυπακτου: Εκκλησεις, επαναστατικες κινησεις και εξεγερσεις στην Ελληνικη χερσονησο απο τις παραμονες ως το τελος του Κυπριακου πολεμου (1568-1571) (in Greek). Hetaireia Makedonikōn Spoudōn. p. 152. Retrieved 2 November 2020. Αλλωστε οι Έλληνες εκλήθηκαν και πάλι να συνεργαστούν με τους Βενετους στην πραγματοποίηση της δεύτερης πολιορκίας του Μαργαριτιού, που έγινε αμέσως μετά τη ναυμαχία της Ναυπάκτου (στις 10-14 Νοεμβρίου 1571)". Πριν από την έναρξη των επιχειρήσεων ο δραστήριος Πέτρος Λάντζας ανέλαβε και πάλι πρωτοβουλία: Συνόδεψε τον Paolo στην περιοχή του φρουρίου - για να σχεδιάση το κάστρο και την τοποθεσία του -, επισήμανε τα περάσματα των πεζών, ... και εξασφάλισε τη συνεργασία των κατοίκων των γειτονικών χωριών
  15. ^ Vakalopoulos, Kōnstantinos Apostolou (2003). History of Epirus: From the beginning of Ottoman Rule to Present (in Greek). Hērodotos. p. 206. Retrieved 8 November 2020. Το γεγονός της άλωσης του Μαργαριτιού είχε μεγάλη απήχηση τόσο στη χριστιανική Δύση, ιδιαίτερα στη Βενετία, όσο και στον υπόδουλο ελληνισμό της Ηπείρου .
  16. ^ a b Balta, Oğuz & Yaşar 2011, p. 363:According to Evliya Çelebi, the citadel of Margariti in circa 1670 enclosed 200 houses and the town outside the walls, the varoş, had 1,200 houses.
  17. ^ Balta, Oğuz & Yaşar 2011, p. 364.
  18. ^ Malcolm 2020, p. 163.
  19. ^ Leon, George B. (1990). Greece and the First World War: from neutrality to intervention, 1917-1918. East European Monographs. p. 353. ISBN 978-0-88033-181-4. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  20. ^ Pitouli-Kitsou, Hristina (1997). Οι Ελληνοαλβανικές Σχέσεις και το βορειοηπειρωτικό ζήτημα κατά περίοδο 1907- 1914 (Thesis). National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. page 212
  21. ^ Tsoutsoumpis, Spiros (2015). "Violence, resistance and collaboration in a Greek borderland: the case of the Muslim Chams of Epirus "Qualestoria" n. 2, dicembre 2015". Qualestoria. 2: 24–25. Retrieved 16 January 2018. 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
  22. ^ Kentrotis, Kyriakos D. (1993). Der Verlauf der griechisch-albanischen Beziehungen nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg und die Frage der muslimishen Tschamen (in German). pp. 271–299. Retrieved 17 January 2018. Im griechischen Teil zählte man im Jahre 1923 20.319 Moslems albanischer Muttersprache. Als wichtigste Ortschaften des griechischen Çamëria sind Paramythia, Filiates, Parga und Margarti zu nennen.
  23. ^ Hammond, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière (1967). Epirus: the Geography, the Ancient Remains, the History and Topography of Epirus and Adjacent Areas. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 50. ISBN 9780198142539. "and it is the most southerly of the villages of Tsamouria, the Albanian speaking area of which Margariti and Paramythia are centres.", p. 76. "The canton of Margariti. This canton forms the heart of the Tsamouria, the region of Albanian-speaking villages. It is remote and rather backward territory of which Margariti is the geographical centre"
  24. ^ Sozos, Ioannis (editted by L. Baltsiotis) (2018). "Οι Τσάμηδες στην Ήπειρο (1940 - 1944)" (in Greek). Panteion University. p. 15. Retrieved 5 February 2022. Στο Μαργαρίτι λαμβάνουν χώρα τραγικά γεγονότα σφαγών, λεηλασιών και δολοφονιών από τα τμήματα του Γιασίν Σαντίκ
  25. ^ Kiel, Machiel (1990). Ottoman architecture in Albania, 1385-1912. Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture. p. 3. ISBN 978-92-9063-330-3. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  26. ^ Tsoutsoumpis, Spyros (December 2015). "Violence, resistance and collaboration in a Greek borderland: the case of the Muslim Chams of Epirus". Qualestoria: 119–138. Retrieved 14 June 2016. During the same period, most Muslim families from the areas of Igoumenitsa and Margariti were relocated north of Ioannina under German instructions
  27. ^ Γκότοβος, Αθανάσιος (2013). Ετερότητα και Σύγκρουση: Ταυτότητες στην Κατοχική Θεσπρωτία και ο Ρόλος της Μουσουλμανικής Μειονότητας. University of Ioannina, Dodoni Journal. pp. 38–39.
  28. ^ "Detailed census results 1991" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. (39 MB) (in Greek and French)
  29. ^ Vlora, Ekrem(2001) (in Albanian), Kujtime [Memories], Tirana, Albania: Shtëpia e librit & Komunikimit, ISBN 99927-661-6-6
  30. ^ Archived 2010-05-16 at the Wayback Machine