The Dance of Zalongo - flight over the rocks
On this day, 214 years ago, about 50 women, 13 men and children committed suicide jumping off a rock near the town of Zalongo.
On 12 December, an agreement was signed between the local population and Ali Pasha, in which one part concerned the safe evacuation of women and children from Souli.
Given that Ali Pasha failed to comply with the agreement but ordered the execution of Souli people, women and children split into two groups and escaped. One group headed towards Parga and the other to the Zalongo mountain.
The group that went to Zalongo, was soon surrounded by Albanians. Without wanting to fall into prison and being subjected to torture, women first threw their children down the cliff, and then jumped off themselves holding hands and singing.
Ali Pasha’s officer, Suleyman Aga, was the eyewitness of this event and was the first to paraphrase the event to the Islamic mercenary Ibrahim Mansur Efendi, who included this testimony in his book published in Paris in 1828. According to his testimony, women grabbed their hands and started dancing, and in the end they screamed so loud and sharp that it echoed down the abyss in which they threw themselves after their children.
At the place where women jumped off, a large monument was erected, which is visited by a large number of tourists every year, and as a memory of that event, the Dance of Zalongo song remained, which is still performed today. The Albanians have their own song that describes the same event.
To reach the monument, you arrive in a winding way through the interesting traditional Greek villages to the monastery of Saint Dimitri, which you can also visit. You can park your car next to the monastery and walk to the monument climbing about 400 stairs. The monument is 13 meters high. From here you can enjoy the enchanting view of the sea and Lefkada, Preveza and Parga, and on a clear day Ithaca, Cephalonia, Corfu, Paxos and Antipaxos are visible too.
Listen to the song