Southern Pelion. Hiking and cruising in one. Trikeri of the mountain and the sea
The other Pelion. Trikeri, the island that ascended the mountain
Our hiking group, as always under the guidance of Kostas, started off for the discovery of Southern Pelion. We started with a short visit to Volos. After seeing the very interesting Archaeological Museum, we took the road that runs round the Pagasitikos Gulf.
The more we were going to the South, the less the landscape was reminiscent of the classic image of Pelion: here we were seeing low hills and olive trees. And a light more Mediterranean than in the “classic” Pelion.
And as we were approaching the tip of the peninsula, the vegetation was getting thinner and becoming bushy. We had entered another world: Trikeri.
In the extremity of Magnesia, until very recently Trikeri was only accessible by sea. A real island on the mountain.
And not by accident. Trikeri was indeed an island that once climbed the mountain. The original settlement was on the island of Palia (old) Trikeri. But the pirate raids forced the inhabitants to climb the mountain towards the end of the 16th century.
Because of its isolation, Trikeri particularly developed shipping. At the time of the Revolution, it had one of the largest merchant fleets. It participated in the Revolution of 1821 offering ships and sailors. After the suppression of the revolution in Pelion, the latter continued in the region of Trikeri.
Trikeri today. Past glories
Witnesses of bygone glory of Trikeri are its mansions. Most of them dilapidated, they are patiently waiting for their revival.
I left the group and wandered in the village for photos, not meeting anyone. Until I saw some old women sitting in front of their homes. I asked which way was the church of the Holy Trinity and they showed me. But since they saw me going elsewhere, they cried that I was going wrong. I replied that on my way I wanted to photograph the old houses. And then one says to the others:
-How about that? The shacks…
Obviously here we are far from the mansions – goldmines of “classic” Pelion, which from “shacks” became sought-after and luxurious guesthouses. But who knows what the future holds? Some day also Trikeri will be discovered and Trikeri and the “shacks” will be called “mansions”. For good; For bad?
One of the “shacks” of Trikeri: Koutmani mansion
Defensive tower incorporated into a house. From the time of piracy
Descending to Aghia Kyriaki
From Trikeri we descended on foot to Aghia Kyriaki. It’s a picturesque fishing village, the port of Trikeri.
Trikeri as it appears when descending to Aghia Kyriaki
Lafkos. The flowery village
The next day, our first destination was Lafkos, a village full of flowery gardens.
Here we saw the homonymous traditional bakery, set in a very nice building.
The traditional bakery “Lafkos” in the homonymous village
Promyri. Balcony to the Aegean
Then, the program had a visit to Promyri, another beautiful village, with wonderful views of the Aegean and Skiathos.
Promyri. The church of the Assumption
Church on the Aegean coast under Promyri
Cruise in the Pagasitikos Gulf. The insular Pelion
The day of the cruise started with a drizzle. But we were determined to do the cruise in Pagasitikos even so. Fortunately, the weather soon got better and we enjoyed the cruise, seeing the gulf’s many islands.
From Milina to Lafkos
Another very nice hiking trail we made that evening was from coastal Milina to mountainous Lafkos. Dinner in the lovely square of Lafkos compensated us for our fatigue.
Mansion in Milina
Lafkos at dusk, when reaching it from Milina
Argalasti. In the bygone capital of Pelion
The next day, our next stop was Argalasti. Argalasti was once the capital of the Vakıf villages of Pelion and headquarters of the Turkish voivode (governor).
Since 1615 the villages of Pelion are divided into Vakif and Hass.
In the Hass power directly belonged to the Sultan. He gave them to members of the Royal family or senior officials of the State. Their privileges were restricted, taxes were higher and they were administered by emissaries of the Pasha of Larisa. So they hadn’t the safety and the administrative freedom of the Vakif.
The Vakif were the areas whose income covered the financial needs of sacred institutions. They were owned by the Crown and dependencies of the Sultan’s mother. She named the voivode (her representative), who collaborated with the notables.
The Vakif essentially depended directly from the capital. They built churches freely and had light taxation. That permitted them a particular development of community life, which will lead to the economic and cultural development and by extension to the Revolution.
Argalasti: the steeple of the church of the Holy Apostles
Old Trikeri. On the traces of Alfons
Our trip ended with a visit to the island of Palia Trikeri. Here we saw the abandoned monastery of the Annunciation.
The church was built in 1825-1837 on the ruins of another burned by the pirates. The reason for the construction of the church was the discovery of the icon of the Virgin Mary in the root of an olive tree. The icon and part of the tree are still here.
Palia Trikeri, monastery of the Annunciation. Typical Pelion sanctuary, with stone reliefs
The entrance of the monastery of the Annunciation
The courtyard of the monastery of the Annunciation
But the monastery is also associated with the history of the legendary Alfons.
Alfons Hochhauser was Austrian. At the age of 16 he left his home and after many wanderings in the Mediterranean he ended up in Pelion. He married a Greek and in many respects became more Greek than many, doing much to protect the environment and what we now call “sustainable development” in Pelion.
He did various jobs, mostly manual, walking daily incredibly long distances. Within all this, in the 1960’s he rented the monastery and turned it into a guesthouse. The guesthouse was addressed to those who wished to rediscover their roots in nature. Soon his fame spread and many celebrities came here, like Greta Garbo.
When the guesthouse’s license was not renewed, he left for northern Pelion, continuing his incredible adventures, until his also novelesque death. But this belongs to another tour, in those parts.
About the author
Hello! I am Denis, an architect based in Athens, Greece. I teach history of art and architecture in higher education. That’s one passion of mine. The other one is hiking, in and out of town. If you follow me, I’ll share my discoveries with you.
You can find my books here
If you liked this article, share and follow my page on facebook
The blog culturehikes.com features in Alltop, the list of top sites, in the category “travel”