Pelion, the mountain of the 24 villages and dozen settlements, of the rich nature and the cultural affluence, of the culinary tradition and distinctive architecture has an important history as well that one should know before visiting. Since ancient years there have been reports of habitation in this historical mountain while in many periods of history, from ancient times till today great events occurred. Traditions, legends, captivating myths and historical battles took place in the region of Pelion while legendary creatures, warriors and mythical heroes walked or lived here. Every region and village has its own unique folk story of habitation and naming of, all of which marked important events that made it widely known.
AThis beautiful and seductive mountain of Pelion with its fine environment and mystical atmosphere, could not fail to attract the ancient Greeks as a point of reference for many events of the Greek mythology.
In Pelion lived from the early ancient years the legendary centaurs, mythical creatures that derived from the erotic union of Ixonas, king of Thessaly and Nefeli, thus the reason Pelion is widely referred as “Mountain of the Centaurs”. These creatures had weird shapes, being from their waist and up humans while the other half was a horse, they were fond of wine and women and were quite aggressive. The most important and known centaur of all, was Chiron, son of Cronus and Okeanidas Filiras, that lived in a cave in Pelion and teached medicine by using healing abilities from the mountain herbs, hunting, combat and music. He taught many Greek mythology heroes such as Achilles, Theseus, and Jason while next to him grew Asclepius, the first doctor of men who was taught by Chiron the secrets of treating diseases and wounds. Pelion is widely known in the field of medicine since many of the herbs and plants were able to cure several diseases. Unlike most other Centaurs, Chiron was righteous, wise, virtuous and friend of the human race. In the region of Milies, the cave, which is regarded as its home, is preserved till today.
The myth says that in Pelion took place a fierce battle, the Gigantomachy, during which the giants wanted to take Pelion from where it stood and place it over Mt. Ossa (Kissavos) in order to reach the Gods of the Olympus and overthrow them. Another great mythical battle was the Centauromachy that took place among the Lapiths and the centaurs for the sake of the beautiful Hippodameia.
Besides the centaurs, here happened the marriage of Peleus, king of the Myrmidons and the Nereid Thetis, parents of Achilles, hero of the Trojan War. During their wedding occurred the event that triggered the Trojan War, it was the first beauty contest with the Apple of Discord that Paris, prince of Troy and judge of the contest preferred giving it to Aphrodite, infuriating the goddesses Hera and Athena.
Pelion seemed to have be chosen by the Gods of the Olympus for their summer residence while on its peak was the ancient cave of Akraiou Dia (Zeus) where the locals went around mid July and on the hottest or driest days to urge to Zeus to send some rain.
In the region of Magnesia, refers also the legend of the Argonauts around 3500 years ago. The oracle said that King Pelias of Locris in Thessaly would loose his throne from the “single-sandal man” as Jason was called after loosing his sandal trying to cross the Anavros stream in the village of Alli Meria. As soon as Pelias saw in front of him Jason, wearing only one sandal he became afraid and to drive him away, he ordered Jason to make a long journey to Colchis and bring back the Golden Fleece, which was a symbol of wealth and prosperity, believing he would never be back. For the needs of his journey a fast and lightweight ship was built, Argo by the famous wood smith Argos using timber from Pelion. In the campaign that started from the ancient city of Iolkos, i.e. the current city of Volos took part some of the greatest heroes of ancient times like Hercules and made several stops in Pelion villages such as Argalasti and Afissos to get water supplies from their springs for their long journey.
Lastly, in Pelion was created the legend of the Dryads, who were the nymphs of trees and meadows. They were young beautiful female entities living in the wild, in caves and roamed the mountains. As long as there was water they were happy that plants, animals and humans could live, when the streams dried they would disappear.
High-Lights of Pelion
- Beaches of Eastern Pelion
- Traditional settelements and villages
- Unique Nature
- Little Train of Pelion
- Museums, Churges and Monasteries
- Traditional hotels and guest-houses
- Pelion Gastronomy and local products
eautiful landscapes, rich forested mountain slopes, villages hidden in verdure, steep gorges and cliffs, impressive mountains, melodiously flowing waters and charming beaches are just some of the features of the exquisite nature of Pelion, the mountain that is suitable for visiting all year long offering unique images of morphological transitions and contradictions that remain memorable.
It flawlessly combines the mountains green with the sea’s blue, while the rich variety of natural beauty makes it ideal for activities within nature such as horse riding, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, scuba diving, water sports and also alternative tourism.
Spring does not come simultaneously to all regions of Pelion, blossom starts in lower areas while the higher remain covered with snow. This mixture of different colors is what makes Pelion so beautiful during spring, as it progresses lush vegetation overtakes the mountain and signals the beginning of household works for Easter preparation. Nature is reborn, colored flowers fill every house and blooming moves to the higher grounds.
On summer, the mountain resembles paradise. The greenery offers breeze while the trees offer shade and rest, the wildflowers and herbs offer scent and accompany the walks while the beaches are filled offering to visitors lifetime swimming experiences. The view from above towards the distant and serene blue horizon is magical while the striking sunsets and the cool nights under the clear sky moonlight, awake the senses.
During autumn, the most dismal period of the year, the mountain has its own special beauty. The trees prepare to get rid of their leaves and the green color gives away to the colors of the rainbow. The rich chestnut and walnut trees come into picture with squirrels intensively working on top of them while the rains and the strong winds create an atmosphere of melancholy and contemplation.
Winter finally finds here the best refuge since plentiful snow leads to imposing mountain peaks like Xeforti or Pourgianos Cross at 1610 m altitude, the Aidonakia or Kotroni (1551 m), Pliasidi (1548 m) Agriolefkes (1471 m) and Schitzouravli (1451 m), are adorned in a special way. In the area of Agrioleukes, around the surviving beech and pine trees is the Ski center, which is inundated with thousands of winter sport fans. However, milder temperatures and more vegetation are present in most lowland areas of Pelion that enjoy gentler winters.
Nature’s symphony unveils as the mountain meets the sea
Springs & Creeks
Among the Pelion villages are many streams that refresh visitors and give a unique beauty and gorgeousness to the landscape. Pelion has a dense network of streams and rivers such as Krausidonas, Vrichonas (Agios Laurentios), Pneumatikos (Argalasti), Ksirorevma (Gatzea), Kakorema (Keramidi), Cholorema (Afetes), Magarema (Makrirrachi), Metallorema (Siki) and many springs used for drinking and irrigation like Mana in Portaria, Flampouro in Makrinitsa, Sklithra in Drakia and Lagonika in Pouri.
Scattered within the villages are various picturesque fountains, which cool and refresh travelers with their crystalline waters.
Many thanks to www.discoverpelio.com for article!