The history of Pelion


The history of Pelion

According to geologists, one hundred and forty million years ago, when the planet earth had the form of a "panthalassa", the Pelagonian mountain range rose out of the water. It was a narrow strip of land that started from northern Macedonia, passed through Mount Olympus, Ossa and Pelion, and ended in northern Evia. The Himalayas, the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Pindus mountain range emerged after one hundred and fifteen million years. 

The rich history of Pelion, the folk muse from ancient times created traditions and legends. 

The oldest inhabitants were the Centaurs, the Lapiths and the Magnetes. At its highest peak, lived the famous Centaur Chiron who fed on the flesh of lions. During the giant battles, the giants tried to detach Pelion and place it above Ossa in order to reach the height of Olympus and dethrone the Olympian Gods. On its top, the weddings of Peleus and Thetis took place and with its wood the Argonauts built the famous "Argo".

Pelion was mainly known for Medicine and the Centaurs. The reason for the development of Medicine was the wealth of herbs in the region. The famous Centaurs are confused, caught between legends, myths and history. Mythology says that they were creatures with the lower half belonging to a horse, while in place of the horse's neck was the torso of a man from the waist up. 

From Lakeria, north of Pelion is the origin of Asclepius according to Hesiod and Pindar. Asclepius grew up in Pelion near the centaur Chiron and was taught the treatment of all wounds either with poultices or emollient herbs or surgery. The name Asklepios comes from the words "askelis" meaning hard and "mild" because he made people's pains mild. Because Asclepius used for healing a very wide variety of plants, herbs, roots, etc. he himself was considered as the representative or personification of the healing powers of nature.

In the Trojan campaign, the inhabitants of Pelion, "those about Pinion and Pelion Einosiphyllon na jeskon", took part with Philoctetes, Eumelus and Prothos.

No major political events were recorded in Byzantine times. Inside Pagasitikos there was the city of Dimitrias and from the 13th century Lechonia. To the east, the city of Zagora was created and Lafkos is also mentioned in the last period of the Byzantine era. the whole of Thessaly experienced the invasions of foreign peoples, Goths, Slavs, in the 10th century the Vlachs.

The Frankish merchants concluded a special treaty so that they could carry out their international commercial transactions freely and preferentially. The 13th and 14th centuries saw marauding raids by Saracens, Catalans and Albanians. From 1423 the area experienced the Turkish occupation. Since then, the establishment and development of today's villages of Pelion began. On the maps of the medieval era there are monasteries marked in the region of Pelion.

These monasteries were the residential cores of the most important villages. Because they ensured relative protection and independence, they slowly gathered fugitives from the rest of Thessaly, Evia and the Aegean islands.

Timidly at first, soon the characteristic Pelionian tower houses began to be built around each monastery. At the beginning of the 17th century, many settlements were already created that evolved into the current 24 villages of Pelion. They acquired privileges especially from the Turks and in the 18th and 19th centuries they developed an important economic and cultural activity. The 14 villages were characterized as "waqfs" i.e. dedicated to charitable institutions and the other "hasis" i.e. properties of the Sultan. The first ones included Makrynitsa, Drakeia, Ag. Lavrentios, Karabassi, Pinakates, Byzitsa, Argalasti, Sykia, Lafkos, Promyri, Anilio, Kissos, Mouresi and Makryrachi. The others were Zagora, Ano Volos, Portaria, Katihori, Milies, Neohori, Tsagarada, etc.

In the Revolution of 1821, the pioneer was Anthimos Gazis, priest and scholar from Milies. The revolution, however, did not progress, the interests of the Kojabasis of the area did not allow it, as a result of which all efforts were drowned in blood in their birth. The movement of 1854 also failed and in 1878, after battles and the mediation of the English, the Congress took place of Berlin, so Thessaly and part of Epirus were liberated. The annexation took place in August 1881.

A mountain for all seasons

Spring comes to Pelion somewhat late. And when it reaches the foothills and the coasts, it begins to climb towards the peaks little by little. Many times the rose bushes in the lower areas have bloomed while the snow has not yet melted in the higher areas. It usually comes in April and early May. Then there is an explosion of rebirth, an orgasm of creation. It would not be an exaggeration to say that one can literally watch the buds turn into flowers and the flowers into leaves and fruits. The mountain is again clothed in green and decorated with countless flowers.

Villages are waking up from their winter slumber. The houses open wide to the scented air and life-giving sunlight. Movement, action and life everywhere. The inhabitants take care of their gardens and orchards and prepare for Easter, the biggest celebration of Christianity, the celebration of rebirth and life. Locals and visitors eat and drink and make merry, and the mountain vibrates and resounds with dance and song.

Easter also marks the beginning of the tourist season, despite the fact that Pelion receives visitors almost every weekend. End of April, May, June[along with September and October are the best times especially for walking tourism. The weather is ideal for short, medium and long walks and marches. The stone-built cobblestones and countless paths of Pelion are living temptations that promise exercise, good physical condition, and health. The mountain and the sea with their well-known and hidden beauties are irresistible sirens whose call is answered by Greek and foreign nature lovers, devotees of spring holidays and fanatical hikers, for whom walking has become a way of life.

In summer, heaven descends on Pelion. Nature is full of life and creation: all dense vegetation and beautiful, fragrant wild flowers, fruit on the trees, festive gardens, endless dances of bees on the aromatic herbs and blooming honeysuckle, nightingales serenading the full moon that rises huge and mysterious from the sea. Mountain and sea generously offer their graces and beauties in a beauty contest with the prize of the visitors' preference, most of whom, however, distribute their favor fairly to both contestants with walks on the paths of the shady slopes and dives in the emerald waters of the beautiful beaches .

For those who want an organized tour, there are many programs through which they can discover the famous beauties of Pelion. They can participate in organized walks on its cobblestones and hidden paths, visit the Hidden School, enjoy a day cruise in Pagasitikos , to go around Pelion, to see old monasteries and churches, to take a ride on the old railway, and to reach even further to the monastic rock forest of Meteora. They can also attend various cultural events, folk dances, musical evenings, fairs and local festivals.

In the evening, guests can continue their fun in taverns, restaurants, cafes, discos, take a lazy moonlight walk on the beach or simply sit on the balcony, garden or terrace of their hotel and enjoy the magical evening leaving the their senses to be intoxicated with the music of gardenias and nightshades.

The beginning of autumn has its own beauty. The foliage of the trees sings its swan song in colorful and harmonious notes. The mountain changes appearance, leaving the green and wearing the colors of the rainbow. It's chestnut and walnut season.. And if anyone doesn't notice that, the squirrels will remind them as they get busy in the trees above. 

For lovers of post-summer walking holidays, the period from mid-September to mid-October is the best time as the temperature is pleasant and the sea clean and cool. Throughout Pelion there is a more peaceful and relaxed atmosphere thanks to the fact that most visitors have already returned to their homes in the urban centers, leaving Pelion to the autumn tourists.

The weather at the end of October is usually sweet and the days sunny and alluring. November is sometimes rainy and relatively cold, but quite often rivals October in sunshine and sweetness. Greek and foreign fanatical friends of Pelion return on weekends and holidays for yet another encounter with the purity and majesty of the mountain and the beauty of the sea, as well as to stock up on apples, walnuts and chestnuts for the coming winter. Fireplaces are in full glory with steaks and chestnuts simmering in the embers and friends sitting around making plans for winter vacations and skiing. 

Winter is the time when the villages of Pelion come out of their green hiding places and become visible - beautiful and proud and always undaunted by the often adverse weather conditions, which however vary according to the altitude and the general barometric system in the wider area area. There are long periods of rain and snow but there are also frequent periods of sunshine and mild for the season temperatures. Many times as the visitor travels along the peninsula or changes altitudinal zone, he can be lucky to have the unique experience of rapidly changing weather conditions since in Pelion it is not unusual for the phenomenon of the simultaneous coexistence of sunshine with rain, fog and even hail or snow.

But even with difficult weather conditions, the visitor has many choices of activities that will make his stay pleasant. For example, during a walk, excursion, mountain walk or even when looking out of his window he can admire unique views, such as snowy slopes and peaks, the vast Aegean with its foamy waves galloping like all-white horses of Poseidon, dense clouds of fog rising from deep ravines, ivy and honeysuckle hugging the bare trees, Christmas-dressed liopursa shiny in the sun. Truly amazing views that often co-exist simultaneously in the same space and time to leave an indelible image on the visitor's being.

And if going out is not possible, it's time for tsipouro and wine with delicious appetizers, chestnuts on the fire, and good company with friends and family. It is the time to enjoy the company of a good book, an opportunity to tell stories and fairy tales to the children or to abandon ourselves in the arms of Morpheus. And when Apollo's chariot leaves Pelion behind and the fog and night begin to spread, perhaps one can discern in the shadows some Dryads and elements preparing to retire to the forest for the night.

The Thessalian Mountain of Pelion stretches between the Aegean and the Pagasitic Gulf, from Keramydi to the Trikeri promontory. The rich vegetation against the background of the endless blue make up a mythical landscape, a fact recognized since ancient times. The titan battles took place here and the sacred cave of 'Extreme Zeus' was located here.

In this cave, people used to climb, to beg Zeus to send rain on the hottest day of the year, July. In these laias, Peleus married his second wife, Nereida Thetis, and they had Achilles. Centaurs lived in the dense forests of Pelion, the most famous among them being Chiron. Some of their students were Herakles, Achilles, Jason and Asclepius. Asclepius even developed so much in medicine that he surpassed his teacher. He created the symbol of the snake, which had some therapeutic significance and laid the foundations of Medical Science. With wood from the forests of Pelion, the Argonauts also built the 'Argo' dedicated to Poseidon, and were the first to discover the way to those unknown lands, spreading Hellenism. You have inhabited the green mountain of Pelion for many years. Systematic settlements seem to have started in the 12th century and were mainly for monks.

The 24 villages of Pelion began to take their current form and flourish during the period of the Turkish occupation. At that time, many inhabitants of the surrounding areas, in an attempt to escape from the suffocating slavery, fled to the mountain of Pelion. These villages had been granted special privileges and thus they were able to organize themselves very well, create crafts and businesses and experience prosperity and economic growth. This happened because the region of Pelion belonged to Sultan Valide-khanum's mother and had autonomy. They were divided into the 'vaqufias', whose capitals were Argalasti and Makrynitsa, and the 'hassias', which were governed by the pasha of Larissa. Their economic development reached such a point that they exported products abroad.

Whole caravans of mules, mainly with textiles and shoes, started from the villages of Pelion bound for the Black Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean, Vienna and other European capitals. Along with the economic boom, many schools and libraries were established. Many intellectuals of the time sought refuge in Pelion, which at the time enjoyed a regime of relative freedom. Thus, many schools with pan-Hellenic prominence operated there and Pelion emerged as a propylaion of the Neo-Hellenic Enlightenment. The great teacher of Genus Rigas Feraios was first taught in Zagora Pelion. All this contributed to the creation of the rich Peliorite tradition, both in arts and letters as well as in manners and customs, a tradition that remains alive and can be experienced when one ascends to the slopes of Pelion.

Some of the most important pages of Greek mythology are dedicated to the region of Magnesia. The ruler of the region was Magnis, son of Aeolos, who settled in Pelion. In Pelion lived the Centaurs, monstrous beings, who came from the poetic union of Ixion and Nepheli. Its legends, myths and traditions excite the imagination and add their own touch to its natural beauty, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the ancient world of the land of the Centaurs. According to mythology, Pelion is the home of the Centaurs (horse-bodied from the waist down and human-bodied from the waist up). Better known, the wise Centaur Chiron, teacher of Iolkos-Iason. 

The wealth of the mountain in healing herbs from ancient times until today is combined with the myth of the Centaur Chiron - son of Saturn - who teaches Asclepius the medical art. Herakles, Achilles and Jason studied near him, who began to bring the Golden Fleece with the Argo made from the centuries-old trees of Pelion from distant Colchis. On this mountain, Paris gave the most beautiful the apple of strife, which became the reason for the Trojan War and here again the marriage of mortal and goddess, King Peleus with the goddess Thetis took place, which Homer and Pindar sang to them and they feasted company on the twelfth with common people. Chiron interceded for the marriage of Peleus with Thetis, which took place in Pelion. During the wedding and because of the apple of strife, the Trojan War was caused. The wise centaur Chiron was apprenticed to Asclepius, the father of medicine, as well as Achilles.

The Argonautic expedition also started from Magnesia, which is historically related to the beginning of the technical processing of gold in the Greek area. The myth says that when Jason decides to bring the golden fleece he invites all the brave men of his time to accompany him and take part in the great adventure. He sends heralds everywhere to stir them up and thus begins the myth of the Argonautic expedition. The Argo set out with Jason and the rest of the brave Argonauts from Pelion to reach the remote shores of the Black Sea in search of the "Golden Fleece".  One of the results of this campaign was to strengthen the maritime commercial empire of the Minoan region, the other was to expand the maritime horizons of the time. The area of ​​Volos, ancient Magnesia, is one of the oldest inhabited areas of the Greek area. The first known settlements date back to the 7th millennium BC. while the cultural presence in the area continues without gaps. The ship was built with the help of Athena. Its maker was Argos, from whom it got its name "Argo", but at the same time "Argo" also meant fast. The wood from which the Argo was built was from the pine of Pelion and from the speaking Oak of Dodoni, which is why the ship had the gift of speech.


The area gathers some of the most important Neolithic sites, by the standards of the Balkans. Until now, archaeological research has brought to light approximately 40 Neolithic settlements (7th-8th millennium BC), several of which continued their activities during the Bronze Age (3000-1500 BC). The most important Neolithic settlements are Sesklos and Dimini, where the research revealed characteristically written ceramics, bone and stone tools, as well as objects made of obsidian, which came from Milos. Important Mycenaean sites in the area are on the hill of Agioi Theodoros, in the current district of Volos Palia, and Pefkakia.

The foundation of Iolkos, an important economic and spiritual center of the region, which is directly linked to the well-known myth of the Argonautic expedition, dates back to the Mycenaean period. The latest archaeological finds in Dimini substantiate the opinion that the seat of the kings of Iolkos was in Dimini. There was the center of economic activities based on agriculture and animal husbandry, while activities related to the sea were practiced from the port in Pefkakia. In the classical period (6th century BC), Pagases flourished, which was the port of the Feros.

In 293/92 BC the king of Macedonia Demetrius the Besieger founded Demetriada, after he co-inhabited the neighboring komas. Dimitriada was a strong military station and stronghold of the Macedonians. At the same time, it developed into an important commercial center with a period of prosperity in 217-168 BC. In 197 BC Demetriada is occupied by the Romans. The city was built according to the hippodamian system and was surrounded by a strong wall. The palace was located in the eastern part of the city, the market in the south and the theater (3rd century BC) in the west.  The most important findings of the period are the written tombstones, which provide interesting information about the economy, society and art of the time. In the Byzantine period, the first monasteries were founded in Pelion (12th century) and then around them the small settlements, which most later evolved into the famous 24 villages of Pelion. The Turks had given them certain privileges, dividing them into two categories: the Hasias, which belonged directly to the sultan (Portaria, Zagora, Tsagarada) and the Vakufias, which belonged to various institutions (Makrynitsa, Mouresi, Argalasti). The most important attempt to liberate Pelion was made in 1821 by the friendly Meliote Anthimos Gazis, in Milies.


In 1886, the railway connection of Volos with Larissa and Kalambaka was completed. Also in 1895, the Volos-Lechonia railway line began its operation, which was extended to Milies in 1904. At the same time, in 1892, the works to shape the port began, which continued even after the First World War, since the needs of the traffic of of goods are constantly increasing.

It should be noted that in 1919 the port of Volos was the first port for tobacco exports in Greece with an export rate of 30%. Gathering all the conditions - capital, labor force, expanded internal market, access to raw materials - Volos developed before the war into an important industrial centre. The main branches of industry were food, metal, tobacco, textiles and tanning. Alongside the economic boom, significant cultural and social activity developed.

In 1894 the Municipal Theater was founded, in 1896 the Gymnastic Association was founded, in 1908, the Higher Municipal Girls' School, field of application of the modernizing educational concepts of the director of Al. Delmouzo and the Labor Center of Volos, the first in Greece. The Second World War temporarily interrupted the development of the city. In the period 1941-44, Volos was tested at all levels by the German occupation. After the war, Volos developed into one of the most important urban complexes in Greece from an economic and demographic point of view, consisting of the municipalities of Volos and N. Ionia and smaller peri-urban communities .

The earthquakes of 1955 changed the aesthetics of the city. The modern city, utilizing the artisan know-how of Pelion, the workforce of Thessaly and private investments, evolved into an important craft and industrial center, with the third largest port in the country. Its economy city ​​is based on industry, trade, crafts, services and tourism. Having a new and modern university, a vibrant artistic and intellectual life, a remarkable cultural infrastructure, but also a perspective of substantial development, Volos is developing into a dynamic center of the Greek region and of Europe.

Magnesia is a place that combines Legends with beauty and history. It got its name from the ancient Magnites and quickly became famous. From here Jason started his journey to distant Colchis with Argo in search of the golden fleece. In old Pelion, as Shakespeare calls it, lived the Centaurs and the wise Chiron who, in the age of myth, became the teacher of all demigods and heroes and taught Asclepius the art of medicine. Magnesia, with unsurpassed advantages in its history, its culture, its hospitality and its tourist infrastructure, is unbeatable. Pelion, the fishing villages of Pagasitikos, the hometown of Riga Feraios, its dozens of beaches, its Ski Center, the possibilities for sea and winter sports and the alternative forms of tourism make it a destination for tens of thousands of visitors every year.

In Magnesia the tourist season lasts 12 months a year. The visitor has the opportunity to do winter sports on the snowy slopes of Pelion or in the summer to dive on the beaches of the Aegean and Pagasitikos. All sea and mountain sports have their due in Magnesia. Playing with the snow in Agriolefkes, the descent of Pelion, mountaineering, hiking on the paths and cobblestones, horse riding on the green slopes of Pelion, are just some of the activities offered to visitors. And all kinds of water sports follow. Diving, surfing, water skiing, but also flying make up for those who love the sea.

Its location, in the center of Greece, makes it easy and convenient for visitors to access it by all means of transportation. The airport of Nea Anchialos is the gateway that connects Magnesia with the whole world. At the same time, the port of Volos connects Europe and the Balkans with Asia and North Africa.


The capital is Volos, a city rained by Pagasitikos and overshadowed by Pelion with its beautiful villages. A large, modern and dynamic Greek city that is fortunate to be located in one of the most beautiful corners of Greece. Its urban complex, with the third port of Greece, is developing dynamically and is one of the most beautiful cities in Greece, which charms the visitor from the first moment. Economic development meets cultural flourishing and intellectual creation, in a modern city that has been fortunate to match the neoclassical with the modern and to face the future while respecting the past.

In Volos, there are the important Neolithic settlements of Dimini and Sesklos, where we find the first traces of permanent human habitation in the area. OBolos has one of the most important Archaeological Museums in the country, as well as the Folklore Center of Kitso Makris, the house of the painter X. Zogia in Anakasia, the Kontos house (Theofilos Museum) and the Museum of Folk Art and History of Pelion (former Topali mansion) in Makrinitsa.

The journey to Magnesia starts from Volos, which every year enchants thousands of visitors, who find everything they ask for: many comfortable hotels, nightlife and many opportunities to taste the famous tsipouro and selected seafood.


Pelion, the Mountain of the Centaurs, had been chosen by the twelve Gods of Olympus as their summer residence. Today tens of thousands of tourists choose it all 12 months of the year. The Mountain becomes synonymous with days of rest and fun. All forms of alternative tourism are offered: horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, diving, sailing and fishing. The Mountain of the Centaurs is equally beautiful and enchanting in all seasons of the year. Here the visitor will taste the famous spoon sweets, taste the wonderful fruits, apples, pears and cherries, and will be enchanted by the scent of the gardenia.

Villages of unique architecture adorn the slopes of Pelion. They are built in an area densely wooded and overgrown with a diverse flora, with rich waters gushing from everywhere. Access to the villages of Pelion is easy through the good road network, as well as paths and cobblestones, a real delight for lovers of walking tourism. Luxurious guesthouses and rooms for rent with all the comforts invite you for unforgettable days. The Ski Center of Pelion becomes a place of pure white holidays, a few kilometers away from the waters of the Aegean and Pagasitikos.

Two main roads lead the visitor from the city of Volos, to the massif of Pelion. Eastward and, after crossing the coastal villages of Pagasitikos, it climbs to southern Pelion to end up in Trikeri. The same road branches off near Neohori to head towards eastern Pelion with Puri as the last station.

Northeast direction from Volos, it leads to Chania (1200 meters altitude) and from there continues to eastern Pelion. In Western Pelion we find most of the villages: Agios Onufrios, Anakasia, Alli Meria, Stagiates, Katochori, Portaria, Makrinitsa, Agria, Drakeia, Chania, Agios Lavrentios, Kato Lechonia, Ano Lechonia, Agios Vlasis, Agios Georgios, Pinakates, Kala Nera, Vizitsa, Milies, Afetes, and Neohori. In South Pelion we find Siki, Argalasti, Iynorysis, Metohi, Lafko, Promyri, Platanias, Lyris, Kastri, Katigiorgis, Milina and Trikeri.

On the route of eastern Pelion we will find ourselves in Kalamaki, Labinou, Xurihti, Tsagarada, Mouresi, Kissos, Agios Dimitrios, Anilio, Makryrachi, Zagora and Puri, while in North Pelion we meet Glafyres, Kato Kerasia, Ano Kerasia, Kanalia, Veneto and Keramidi. 

A train taken out of history, the Pelion train, crosses one of the most beautiful regions of Europe. starting from Lechonia, it climbs through the lion trees struggling and whistling as it used to. It passes through the stations of Ano Gatzea, Agia Triada, Agios Athanasios Pinakatons, the village of Argyraiika Vyzitsa and ends in Milies. The Pelion Railway for 76 years, from 1895 to 1971, climbed Pelion carrying people and goods and contributed decisively to the rapid development of the area. Its builder was the Italian engineer Evaristo De Chirico, father of the famous painter Giorgio De Chirico.

The West Side of Magnesia

On the western side of Magnesia, an area with a rich history lost over the centuries, we find Velestino, Nea Aghialos, Almyros, Amaliapoli, Pteleos and Achilleio. Velestino, the hometown of Rigas Feraios, located a short distance from Volos, is one of the most important municipalities of Magnesia. Site of the ancient Pherae, a city that took part in the Trojan War. One of the most beautiful towns of Magnesia is Nea Aghialos, built on the site where Homeric Pyrasos once flourished. It has important findings from the Neolithic period (6,000 - 5,000 BC). With a very good tourist infrastructure, it is one of the tourist destinations of Magnesia. 

It is also famous for the fine wine from the famous winery of the N. Anchialos Cooperative under the brand name "Dimitra". About thirty-five kilometers from Volos, in the center of a rich plain and in the shadow of Othrios, is Almyros. It is an area with a rich spiritual tradition and an important Archaeological Museum, which exhibits archaeological treasures from Phthiotides Thebes, Pyrasos, Alos and other locations in the province of Almyros. The rich plain, the ancient Krokio field and the Athamantian field are full of traces of an important ancient civilization. At the foot of Othryos, we meet Pteleos with its medieval castle on Pigadi beach. In a picturesque bay of Pagasitikos south of Almyros, is the picturesque Amaliapolis or Nea Mitzela, built by refugees from the destroyed old Mitzela of Pelion. It took its name from the first Queen of Greece, Amalia, who had her country tower there.


The vegetation of Pelion touches the waves of the Aegean seas and crowns wonderful beaches, which offer many opportunities for water sports, and for a nightlife that does not allow boredom. Among them are Horefto, Agioi Saranda, Puri, Ai Giannis, Papa Nero, Fakistra, Mylopotamos, Labinou, Potistika, Paltsi, Katigiorgis, Platanias. The blue waters and dark green vegetation are the perfect combination for an enjoyable vacation. Calm sea, the sea of ​​Pagasitikos gulf, is suitable for family holidays. Agria, Malaki, Kato Gatzea, Kala Nera, Koropi, Afissos, Lefokastro, Kalamos, Horto, Milina, and to the west Nea Aghialos, Mitzela, Nies, Achillio, are golden beaches which have a wide variety of hotels and rooms for rent. On the shores of Pagasitikos, the picturesque fish taverns are a magnet for lovers of good food.

Places of worship

Next to the old imposing mansions there are many churches, chapels and monasteries, which invite the visitor to light a candle but also to admire the magnificent architecture. The uphill paths and cobblestones of the mountain lead to places of worship, Churches taken from another era, and old monasteries with excellent icons, with precious relics and with priceless post-Byzantine icons. In the churches of Pelion, in the imposing light of the candles, the world changes its face, loses its ordinary earthly physiognomy and is exalted.

The linguistic idiom of Pelion

As is well known, the villages of Pelion were created during the years of the Turkish rule by "leaving the tyranny of the Turks" ragiades, who took refuge in the "mountain of Zagora", because this was then almost "uninhabited" and fiscally indifferent to the Turks. In fact, the concentration of fugitives in Pelion became even greater during the 18th century, when the privileges that managed to wrest the mountain of the Centaurs from its Ottoman conquerors became known throughout the country. In these years, the new villages of Pelion are overwhelmed by thousands of fugitives coming from almost all the departments of the enslaved country. And of course all of them (Epirotians, Macedonians, Roumeliotians, and Islanders) are natural for their cultural origins, among which naturally, first and best, their linguistic peculiarities are included.

These are the years when, with the dynamic presence of these fugitives, the first well-organized aggregations of residents were created on the heights of Pelion, forming the new type of Pelionian villages in place of the earlier miserable colligian settlements, which, as a rule, belonged to counted medieval feudal lords or in the richest of the many monasteries of the place.

It is in the same years that a new, also dynamic, administrative, economic and cultural reality takes shape in both the privately owned (hassia) and the democratically self-governing (vakufia) villages of Pelion, villages whose population increases rapidly mainly during the 18th century, with the arrival of new fugitives from almost every corner of the enslaved Greek land.

But despite this population heterogeneity of its inhabitants, Pelion does not become, as one might expect, the Babel of the Greek space. And this is because in shaping the linguistic identity of the place, personally at least I believe that the main role was played by the assimilative capacity of the most dynamic of all those idioms that were found to combine these decisive years for the establishment of a single linguistic reality in the Peliorite area.

And it was this northern - to use the special terminology - linguistic idiom. The one whose main carriers were the fugitives from Epirus, who were also overwhelmingly the majority in Pelion, with the main origin being the region of Ioannina, Zagori, Katsanochoria, Dodonochoria, etc. Evidence for this is the similarities and the obvious analogies that still exist today between Pelioreitiko and the idiom of these regions.

So e.g. as there, in a similar way and in Pelion, the unstressed o and e are respectively converted into u and i (molyv', libidia), while the also unstressed i and u are usually not pronounced at all (spit', k'lur'). The same reason also explains the phonetic similarity of hundreds of idiomatic words of Pelion and those regions of Epirus, as well as hundreds of other linguistic monuments, such as our proverbs and folk songs. And of course the matter would be simplified to a great extent if the northern idiom had a universal spread in the villages of Pelion. But this is not the case, because in addition to these basic characteristics that I pointed out above, there are also some others among the secondary ones, which are assimilated origins from other idioms. Taxes that were also transplanted to Pelion during the years of the Turkish occupation and that to a certain extent were imposed by their expatriate but not Epirote representatives.

However, apart from these heterogeneous linguistic groups, which took root in the Pelioreite area, we also have in Pelion a multitude of foreign language loanwords known throughout the country and unknown, from those that were bequeathed to our language by foreign invaders from time to time, nomads and mainly conquerors of Greek territory, which in the case of Thessalomagnesia were in order the Goths, the Huns, the Slavs, the Saracens, the Bulgarians, the Vlachs, the Franks, the Catalans, the Venetians, the Serbs, the Arvanites and above all of course the Turks.

Such foreign linguistic remnants (words or even phrases) exist innumerable in the Pelionian local dialect as well. Apart from those that we meet more or less in all the other local dialects of our country, there are also some - and here I am only referring to words - that denote family and mainly professional names, as well as characteristic toponyms, where a Slavic linguistic element predominates, since, as it is established, we had group settlements of Slavic nomads in Pelion from the early years of Byzantium. And even though these foreign races were in most cases assimilated by the local population, their toponymic findings remained a legacy in the place, such as e.g. it is Zagora, Goritsa, Lestiani, Stagiates, and perhaps Volos - a corruption of the old "Golo", to remind us that even this unwritten corner of our homeland "changed many masters, but not a soul". 


Mark Ottoway, The most beautiful villages of Greece, Athens: Vasdekis, 2000

Liapis Kostas, "Myth and History", Seven Days - Kathimerini, volume IX, Athens: Kathimerini, 1996

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Ζαγοριν - Αγροτικός Συνεταιρισμός Ζαγοράς Πηλίου


Information about Pelio

Pelio, Magnesia, Thessaly, Greece

ΤΗΛ. ++306947819381

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Agios Ioannis


Useful Phone Numbers

Volos Hospital-24213-51000
Volos Fire Service-24210-76850
Zagora Health Center-24260-22222
Kissos Regional Clinic-2426031210
Tsagarada Regional Clinic-2426049208
Portaria Regional Clinic-2421099106
Police Volos-24210-76995
Zagora Police-2426022529