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The authentic winter Pilios

04 March 2012 / 16:03:38  GRReporter
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Mount Pilios has been known since ancient times both from mythology as the mountain of the Centaurs, but also as the place where the famous Argos carpenter has taken the wood from in order to build the fast and light ship "Argo" used by Jason and the Argonauts on their journey to Colchis in search of the Golden Fleece.

Today there are 24 villages in the area with unique architecture and natural beauty, both on the mountain slopes and near the sea. Many of the historic houses in the villages have been restored and now function as small family hotels. The delicious local cuisine (bean soup, cock with noodles, the local specialty "spetsofai" - sausage with tomato sauce, traditional pastry and sweets) complements the excellent hospitality.

Milies Municipality (http://bit.ly/Μilies_map) is a municipality with a rich cultural heritage and historical diversity over the centuries. Let's take a winter walk in four of its beautiful villages.

Authentic winter Pilios

Buried in dense vegetation, with well-preserved houses and cobbled streets, with stone fountains, churches, running water and ancient plane trees, the villages in the central western part of Pilios are still less affected by tourism and have preserved the traditional character and picturesqueness of the mountain of Centaurs.

Following the coastal road from Volos to the west side of Pilios, we successively pass through the villages of Agria and Lehoniya, and head towards the mountain. The sea remains to the right. First we go through Agios Georgios Nilias, the highest village in Pilios, built in the 15th century at 620 m altitude. Following we get to Pinakates, Vizitsa and finally to the historic village Milies.

The architecture of Pilios is peculiar and this can be seen in all buildings, churches, monasteries, fountains, bridges and cobblestones. It is now protected and is required for the construction of new private and public buildings.

Agios Georgios Nilias

The village of Agios Georgios Nilias is located 21 kilometers away from the city of Volos. It was built on the mountainside, with dense vegetation of apple trees, cherry trees, chestnuts and plane trees. It is surrounded by two streams and crystal clear springs. Walk around the beautiful cobbled streets, enjoy the picturesque square and the impressive stone houses, fountains, churches and cultural monuments in the village as well as the church of St. George Church and the Church Museum, the Archangels monastery, built in 1309 as well as the church of St. Athanasious built in 1795.

Pinakates

About 5 km after Agios Georgios is the village of Pinakates, another beautiful and picturesque village with stone houses and a large square with a secular plane tree, the Basilica of St. Demetrious and the marble fountain with lion heads. It is a real place for relaxation for those who want to relax away from the noisy cities and enjoy the peace of Pilios’s landscape.

Vizitsa

Vizitsa Village is located about 30 kilometers away from the city of Volos, just between Pinakates and Milies. It was built 500 meters above sea level. This is one of the most beautiful and picturesque villages of Pilios and it has been declared preserved village and a living museum of the traditional Peion architecture.

This is one of the best preserved traditional villages in Greece, with its lanes paved with tiles, marble fountains, beautiful houses and impressive towers. On the large village square which is also covered with tiles, you can enjoy your coffee or lunch in the shade of the ancient plane trees.

Μilies

Another beautiful historic village built on the green slopes of Pilios, at an altitude from 250 meters (near the train station) to 450 meters at its highest point. This is the birthplace of the Greek enlighteners Antimos Gazis and Grigorios Konstandas.

The Milies Square is the center of public, social and administrative life in the village and the important landmarks include the Holy Archangels church with the bell tower, the Library and the Ethnographic Museum, located in the central Town Hall.

From the square a steep street leads to the beautiful church of St. Nicholas, from whose garden you can enjoy the wonderful views towards the village, the Pagasitikos Gulf and the western part of Pilios. Behind the church are the graves of the three spiritual leaders of the nation Antimos Gazis, Grigorios Konstandas and Daniil Filipidis.

Train of Pilios

The railway, built in the late 19th century, linking trade and industrial center in Volos with the rich and fertile region of the western part of Pilios goes all the way to Milies. In 1985 the train of Pilios was declared a historical monument. In 1996, after several renovations, it was again put in operation, covering a route of 16 kilometers from Lehoniya to Milies and from April to October, it offers its passengers the opportunity to enjoy the unique natural beauty and wonderful architectural compositions. Overgrowth vegetation, views towards the bay Pagasitikos, arched bridges, small tunnels and iron bridges are the main elements of one of the most beautiful routes in Europe.

The area around the railway station in the village of Milies where the train stops, is considered one of the landmarks of Pilios. There is a small hotel in traditional style, the remains of a large old mill, as well as the monument of those people executed by the Germans in 1940. Below is the famous bridge, designed by the father of the famous surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico. This is a beautiful iron bridge which connects the two slopes of the mountains and the sea view is wonderful.

For those who love nature, the area is suitable for hiking, and it offers many routes. Some of the most popular routes are those of the bridge de Chirico and from Kala Nera to Milies.

Additional information can be found on the web sites www.milees.gov.gr and www.magnesia-tourism.gr.

How can you go there:

Pilios is situated about 350 km from Athens. You can travel on the highway Athens-Lamia-Volos, then on the road Volos, Kala Nera-Milies.

Where to stay:

In the villages in the western part of Pilios you will find many houses turned into small hotels and other lodging places where you can stay overnight. There are also many tavernas and restaurants, which serve local specialties. We recommend the guest house "Catherine" in Vizitsa (www.archontikokaterina.gr), because of the exceptional hospitality of the owner, the "Old Station" in Milies (www.paliosstathmos.com), located in a very old and beautiful building near the railroad, the traditional coffeehouse "Anna, here's an apple" (www.annanaenamilo.gr) in Milies with innumerable paintings and fragrant teas as well as the tavern "locust tree" (www.salkimi.com), also in Milies, with traditional flavors of the cuisine of Asia Minor.

Tags: Mount Pilios the mountain of the Centaurs traditional villages architecture
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