Old Perithia, the ghost town where the villagers refuse to leave.
If you’re looking for Perithia, you’ll have to be clear on which Perithia you’re looking for…the new, or the abandoned? 😉
We are in Greece. (this time really, in fact i’m writing from Greece) On the Greek island of Corfu, the “new” Perithia can easily be seen on a main coastal road. The village has the features of a traditional Greek village, with taverns, an olive press, busy workers and a delightful ice cream shop that comes highly recommended in all the country. But if you prefer exploring, before the ice cream, you can to keep moving up toward Mount Pantokratora until the ancient ruins of Palea Perithia, also known as Old Perithia.
Old Perithia is an enchanting almost ghost town. One of the oldest inhabited villages on the island, was built in Byzantine times, around the 14th century. Looking out at the sea and the majestic Mount Pantokratora at its back, this was once the most nice place on the island, and even as the ancient buildings collapse, it’s still alive. It was the wealthiest village on the island as well, with vine-filled sanctuary where sheep covered the hills and pretty churches dotted the landscape. Now, even if its population has riduced at minimal, call it “abandoned” is wrong. There are still villagers, an operating tavern, and also a bed & breakfast to demonstrate that old Perithia is still alive, even if the majority of the buildings are ruins.
A location too ideal to allow nature to reclaim, like happens in the normal ghost villages, the villagers aren’t in too much of a hurry to restored, and they pride themselves on being the place where “time doesn’t fly”. For them, despite the ruins, Old Perithia remain the place to be.
In my stay in Greece, i’ve speak with a local man of this place, who said me that the last Sunday of July is dedicated to Virgin Mary, because she is said to have saved the youth of the village from a fatal epidemic in 1863 only with prayers. Every year is taking place a litany to celebrate the event. Around the area there are nine churches, at the entrance of the village stands the steeple of St.James the Persian, and on the other side of the village you can admire the oldest church, St. Nicholas of Petra which is pre-Christian. Before its abandonment, the village was full of life, especially in the spring, when the village was always packed with people and the shops were open. A tipic life of a tipic village, where in the afternoon, the lords would meet at the square, where sometimes played cards, or used to talk mainly about politics or local stories. Try to image the open windows of the houses, now abandoned or collapsed, lit by the dim light of the oil lamp, and the serenity of the night, only interrupted by the sound of the shepherds’ flute and the bells of the flocks that were wandering on the surrounding hills. Sometimes the young people sang for one hour, from 10pm to 11pm on the hill of St. Panteleimon, now the ruined chapel behind the old school.