The traditional guesthouse Monopati is in Lechovo, a mountainous village in the foothills of Mount Verno. Lechovo belongs to the county of Florina and the municipality of Amyntaio, but it is also very close to the borders of Kastoria and Kozani counties. According to the 2011 census there are 1.115 residents in the village. The provincial road Kastoria-Amyntaio crosses the village offering easy access to Kastoria (36 kilometers), Ptolemaida (25 kilometers) and Nimfaio (23,5 kilometers)
Name and Foundation
The village was founded around 1600 AC by hunted combatants who participated in the revolutionary movement initiated by the archbishop Dionisios Trikis, the so-called Skilosofos (1540-1611). This initial settlement was called Kandil-Kioi, meaning “village with the vigil oil lamp”. With the gradual increasing of the population, the village was renamed as Lechovo.
Although initially the residents of Lechovo were both Greek-speaking and Arvanitic-speaking, the Arvanitic dialect gradually prevailed. During the reign of Ali Pasa there was an important growth in the local population since many residents from Epirus and Suli emigrated here. During the 1821 Revolution, many residents of Lechovo fought for the revolutionary struggle. There are two possible explanations for the origin of the place name Lechovo: either from “Lelova” in Suli, given that many families came from that region, or from the region “Lechova” in Corinth where similarly nomadic families moved from there into Lechovo. In 1951 the Greek state renamed by royal decree the “Community of Lechovo” into “Community of Heroism” in order to honor the village’s contribution to the national fights. However, the residents reacted to this renaming process, and as a result in 1953 with a new royal decree the village was named “Lechovo” once again.
The Macedonian Struggle
In order to commemorate the village’s contribution to the liberation of Macedonia historians noted that in no other village there was so much bloodshed as in Lechovo. During the years of the Macedonian struggle, Lechovo was the stronghold of Hellenism. It was considered both the shelter and the base of many Macedonian fighters who fought in the region of Western Macedonia. Some of the most famous chieftains are Pavlos Melas, Georgios Katechakis, Georgios Dikonimos-Makris , Georgios Seimenis and many others. Moreover, Lechovo was the base for many Cretan fighters, who also commemorate the hideouts of Lechovo that helped them survive from the war. The first victim of the Macedonian Struggle fighters of the region is George Seimenis from Anopolis, Sfakia, who was injured in Ostimo, was arrested by the Bulgarians, tortured and executed after treason on the 23rd or24th of July in 1903. Moreover, captain Liapis and seven guerillas were killed in Lechovo, on the 5th of November 1905 during a battle with the Turkish army at the site of the Holy Trinity. Another important local resident and Macedonian chieftain was Zisis Dimoulios, known as captain Zisis.
In the National Folklore Museum of Lehovo, many historical objects from the Macedonian Struggle are exhibited, such as uniforms, weapons, personal items, pictures and photographs of fighters, etc. A special monument has been erected in honor of the dead Macedonian Struggle fighters of Lechovo, at the courtyard of St. Minas temple.
Second World War
The fight of Klisoura
One of the last battles of the 1940-41 war, the Battle of Klisoura, was held in Lechovo on the 13th of April, 1941 between German and Greek troops. A total of 50 Greek officers and soldiers were killed in the effort to stop the German Wehrmacht. In order to commemorate them, the local community erected a monument with the information of the war heroes at the entrance of the village, next to the Prophet Elias chapel.
The residents of Lehovo actively participated in the National Resistance of 1941-44, and as a result, they underwent the retaliation of the German occupying forces. From July 23 to July 26, 1943, the Germans and co-workers of Pulu’s men, as well as the agents of Okrana, invaded the village, burned it and plundered it completely.
Papanikolaos Telkas was executed in the military camp Pavlos Melas in Thessaloniki on the 2nd of July 1943, while Petros the Pentolas was tortured there and finally surrended himself. Among the burnt buildings was the remarkable library of the settlement that was founded in 1927 and contained a total of 5,000 volumes. Thirty guerillas of EAM-ELAS (National Liberation Struggle Organization) come from Lechovo, the most famous of whom is captain Amyntas (Kosmas Spanos). Due to the holocaust that Lechovo suffered, the village was declared in 1998 a martyred village under the Presidential Decree 398/98. Lechovo is a member of the “Martyred Villages and Cities of Greece Network”. In order to honor the residents who died during the National Residence (1941-1944) a special monument has been erected in the village square with their names.
In the past, the residents of Lechovo were famous stone builders. They used to work in Thessaly, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Today, Lechovo is still one of the few villages in Western Macedonia where people are engaged with stone building. It is impressive that as early as 1914, a building association was founded in Lechovo, being one of the first ten trade unions in Greece, which continues to operate until today as the National Association of Builders and Other Professionals of Lechovo “Agios Panteleimon”. Up to 1938 it was a joint venture with the professionals from the neighboring Pentalofos (or Zoupani) of Kozani. Later, a separate trade union was founded in Pentalofos.
Apart from building, the residents of Lechovo are engaged with agriculture, livestock farming and beekeeping. The most famous local product of agriculture is a kind of beans called “gigantes”, meaning giant beans. In Lechovo also operates the agricultural cooperative “Dimitra”. Moreover, there are five furniture manufacturing industries, shops, grocery stores, supermarkets, guesthouses and recreation centers like cafes, bars and restaurants.