The Zitsa Bookgarden is the first bookshop in the 800-year history of the small, 500-person village of Zitsa in the northwest mountains of Greece, near Albania.
The idea for this new Literary & Cultural Community Center originated with the owner, Anna Ellis, an American who moved to Zitsa in Dec. 2010 to be with the love of her life (and now husband), Kostas, the village baker. Anna has been passionate about books and reading her entire life. As she settled in and made a home here in Zitsa over the past few years, she came to understand the realities of life in the village, and saw some of the difficulties and challenges the village faced, both economically and culturally. She started thinking of ways to help her adopted village, to be part of its revitalization, and expand the world of the villagers.
Anna realized she could do this by combining her passion for books with her business experience by opening a book shop that she will run as a non-profit - sales from the books will go towards organizing and hosting different groups such as reading clubs, writing groups, and craft-making groups in the bookshop.
The Bookgarden will also host regular events and seminars which will bring authors and other creative professionals to the village.
As the Bookgarden wants its activities and books to be easily accessible, it will be selling new and used books, and also doing something that is relatively new in Greece: renting books for very low cost on a per week basis. And most, if not all, of the events will be free.
The Bookgarden is located in the center of Zitsa, about 25 kilometers outside of Ioannina, the largest city in the immediate region.