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"Aous" redirects here. For other uses, see Aous (disambiguation).
Αώος (Aoos)
Vjosa bei Tepelena.jpg
Aoös near Tepelenë
Origin Pindus, Greece
Mouth Adriatic Sea
40°38′34″N 19°19′2″E / 40.64278°N 19.31722°E / 40.64278; 19.31722Coordinates: 40°38′34″N 19°19′2″E / 40.64278°N 19.31722°E / 40.64278; 19.31722
Basin countries Albania, Greece
Length 272 kilometres (169 mi)
Mouth elevation 0 m
Avg. discharge 204 m3/s
Basin area 6706 km2

Aoös or Vjosë (Greek: Αώος, for other forms of the name see below) is a river in northwestern Greece and southwestern Albania.

Its total length is about 272 kilometres (169 mi), of which the first 80 kilometres (50 mi) are in Greece, and the remaining 192 kilometres (119 mi) are in Albania. Vjosë is fed by two secondary branches, both in Albania, the Drino river and the Shushicë.

Its source is in Greece, specifically in the Pindus mountains in Epirus,[1][2] near the village of Vovousa. An artificial lake has been constructed at an altitude of 1350[3] metres, and there is a hydroelectric dam in place since 1987. It flows through the Vikos–Aoös National Park, where it forms impressive canyons. It flows through Konitsa, and enters Albania near Çarshovë. It continues northwest through Përmet, Këlcyrë, Tepelenë, Memaliaj, Selenicë and Novoselë. It flows into the Adriatic Sea, northwest of Vlorë.


The river is known by a number of different names. In antiquity it was called Aoös (Ἄωος, Ἀῶος, Ἀῷος) in Greek, and Aous in Latin. In Albania it is called Vjosë or Vjosa, while in Greece it is known by its ancient name (Αώος in modern orthography), as well as Vovousa (Βοβούσα)[4] or Aias (Αίας, Αἴας).[4]

Human history[edit]

The old bridge of Konitsa over the Aoos river, just before the Vikos–Aoös National Park

In Greek mythology,[5] Aous is an epithet or name[6] of Adonis. Aous was also the name of the first king of Cyprus. A river and a mountain[7] in Cyprus were also named Aous.[8]

Hecataeus (550–476 BC) refers to the river as Aias (Greek: Αἴας), the name Anios (Greek: Ἄνιος) is used by Plutarch in Caesar,[9] while Polybius, Livy and Strabo use the term Aoös. The Thesprotian tribe of Parauaioi received their name from the river, as those living beside it. Pausanias writes of "sharks"[10] (Greek: θηρία) in the river, as it flows through Thesprotia. It is mentioned as Avos (Greek: Αύος) by Stephanus of Byzantium[11] in the 6th century AD.

In 274 BC Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated Antigonus II Gonatas near the river's banks. In 198 BC, Philip V of Macedon and the Roman Titus Quinctius Flamininus, clashed in the Battle of the Aous. In 170 BC[12] a plot to kidnap Aulus Hostilius Mancinus was foiled by Molossians by mistake. There are some indications that a river harbour[13] may have existed in Vjosë. In antiquity the river passed more to the north[citation needed], towards where Fier nowadays lies. Owing to an earthquake[citation needed] in the 4th century, it changed to the present course. This earthquake and river change were the main reasons that led to the decline of the ancient Greek city of Apollonia.


The Vikos–Aoös National Park (Greek: Εθνικός Δρυμός Βίκου–Αώου Ethnikós Drymós Víkou–Aóou), founded in 1973 is a national park in the region of Epirus in northwestern Greece. The national park encompasses 126 square kilometres (31,135 acres) of mountainous terrain, with numerous rivers, lakes, caves, deep canyons and dense coniferous and deciduous forest. The core of the park (3400 hectares)[14] is the Vikos Gorge, carved by the Voidomatis river, while Aoos gorge, mount Tymfi, with its highest peak Gamila 2,497 metres (8,192 ft) and a number of traditionally preserved settlements form the park's peripheral zone.


The Vjosë upstream from Tepelenë

Since a decade or so, a 90 MW power plant at Kalivaç is under construction, but with no progress lately. The hydropower additional potential of the river is being studied by the Albanian Government. Seven additional hydroelectric power plants along the Albanian part of the river would have 400 MW total capacity (2,155 GWh/year). The feasibility of the project is being studied.[15] In February 2005 The Albanian Government approved a law, making the Vjose-Narte wetlands a protected area. This legislation followed Albania's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in December 2004.[16] The river is known for its apport to the important irrigation canal Vjosë-Levan-Fier, a canal that was built in the 1950s for the irrigation of the Myzeqe low plains.[17]

Vjosa is a common female Albanian given name.[18][19][20]



The area in yellow represents the drainage basin of Vjosë and its main affluent, Drino; the red line delineates the border between Albania and Greece.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Acta hydrochimica et hydrobiologica
  2. ^ Epirus Vetus: the archaeology of a late antique province
  3. ^ Egnatia Municipality
  4. ^ a b Λαμπρίδης Ιωάννης "Ζαγοριακά", Τυπογραφείον Αυγής, Αθήνα, 1870
  5. ^ Parthenius of Nicaea
  6. ^ Greek and Egyptian Mythologies
  7. ^ Orion: the myth of the hunter and the huntress
  8. ^ Parthenius of Nicaea
  9. ^ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854)
  10. ^ Paus. 4.34,"But the rivers of Greece contain no terrors from wild beasts, for the sharks of the Aous, which flows through Thesprotia, are not river beasts but migrants from the sea."
  11. ^ Ethnica Epitome,"Παρά τον Αύον ποταμόν"
  12. ^ A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C by Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Frank William Walbank, 1988, ISBN 0198148151, page 520
  13. ^ An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis: An Investigation Conducted by The Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation by Mogens Herman Hansen, 2005, page 329
  14. ^ Trakolis: p. 3
  15. ^ Project from Energy Community not-for-profit
  16. ^ UN Environment Programme's website last retrieved 3/4/2010
  17. ^ [1] View from Geonames website.
  18. ^ From 20000 names babynames website
  19. ^ From Aboutnames babynames website
  20. ^ Albanian names website

External links[edit]