A House and a Door at the “Place of Bears”

High in the Pindos Mountains lies the village of Metsovo – a name possibly derived from a Slav word meaning “bear-place”. Yes, brown bear inhabit the woods in the surrounding mountains – in the past as well as the present. 

Bronze statue of bears in Metsovo’s centre square.

Many of the old traditional houses, built on narrow cobbled streets, are substantial, almost fortress-like, made of stone and wood. They were built to withstand those long cold mountain winters and protect the inhabitants from predators. The ground floor with its small high windows would have housed animals while the humans lived above.

Naturally, strong doors guard their entrances, large enough for livestock to enter.

Chunky iron studs and rugged door furniture adorn them – suitable for the place of bears.


Check out Norm’s Thursday Doors for many more posts on fascinating buildings and their doors.

6 comments

    • I loved this house the moment we saw it. Very substantial and solid. Admittedly, it was the door that first made me stop and really look at the building. A devil to photograph on such a narrow cobbled street with buildings on both sides.

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    • I really loved this door – very chunky and substantial. A slightly larger house built along similar lines just down the street now is the historical museum. The earliest parts of the museum date to the 16th century. So, I would assume this house I photographed could date anytime from 16th to 19th centuries. I assume the door is from a later phase of the house (i.e. 19th century). So…it is old.

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    • I agree, it is a fine bear-proof door. Whenever I encounter etymological claims, I try to use words like “possibly” or “probably” and sometime I blame it on anonymous “they” as in “they say…”. Covers all bases! Though, in this case, it is “probably” true and the word shares a root with Slav words. In the distant past, there were Slavic incursions into this area of Northern Greece.

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