A road is a way of transferring and connecting people, tradesware, art and ideas
Via Egnatia Foundation
The Via Egnatia Foundation promotes cross border cooperation and contacts in the region of the Via Egnatia in the fields of culture, science, sustainable tourism and (peace) education.
You can help the VEF to achieve its goals in various ways.
Donations for the VEF and several projects it undertakes are welcome. But you can also help our cause by walking on Via Egnatia, join the band, etc. Read more...!
The Via Egnatia has been such a road par excellence, being the connection between the western and eastern part of the Roman Empire. Built in the 3rd century BC (under consul Egnatius) as an extension of the Via Appia, it runs through the Balkans from Durrës (Dyrrachium) in Albania, through FYRoMacedonia and Northern Greece all the way to Istanbul (Byzantium) in Turkey.
Originally a military road, it served economic and social functions for more than two millenia. After the decline of the Roman Empire the Byzantines used and protected the road. After them came the Ottomans, who send their taxcollectors and trade-karavans along its trail.
Used by soldiers and later by crusaders, preachers and bandits, merchants and peasants on their way to the local market, tax collectors, karavans with up to twohundred mules and donkeys, loaded with skins, wines, wood and sulphur, the road served local as well as interlocal purposes. Many different ethnic groups made use of the Via Egnatia, and met each other along its trails, in its karavan-serails: Greeks and Jews, Vlachs and Pomaks, Turks, Venetians, Egyptians and Roma. Also modern migrants travelled along it, for example the Evros-Greeks who left their country in the sixties and (many of them) came back in the last decade. So the Via Egnatia - with intervals due to political or geografical trouble - has been a real trans-Balkan highway.
Via Egnatia cooking
We cooperate with Engin Akin who, with Mirsini Lambraki, has written a unique and twice awarded book about about Turkish and Greek (= Yunan in Turkish) cuisine. She will write a multinational recipe book which covers Rome to Istanbul and includes Via Egnatia. Cooking sessings will be held in Greece in collaboration with local people this summer. Saturday May 12 2012 she was in Peqin, Albania in the Cultural Centre to meet the local women and Sunday 13 in Librazhd in Restaurant Natural, see our cooking page. A short impression of cooking in Peqin in YouTube. You can learn more about Engin on her website.
Mapping the road for walking
For years now we stimulate walking along Via Egnatia.
After preliminay surveys in 2007 and 2008 we organised caravan tours in 2009, 2010 and 2011: we have walked most of Via Egnatia. During the 2011 walk we have marked the trail in Albania, established new contacts and gathered details for a description of the route. You can find reports here. Photos are provided in the top menu under Photo Galleries and links to YouTube films under Publicity.
For the near future we only will have other surveying missions (see Agenda).
If you want to hike, it is up to you. You could use our Guide for Albania or you could contact us for other advice. After our surveying mission in May we hope to complete a guide from Dürres/Apollonia in Albania, though FYRoMacedonia, to Florina - Greece. (Order guide)