PLACES TO VISIT (IN PAVLIANI)
The village of Ano Pavliani, where the main construction materials, stone and wood, are combined in a remarkable way and the houses are in perfect harmony with nature. The housing reconstruction seen in recent years is due to Pavliani’s adoption of the goals and principles set out in the Habitat Agenda, a pilot program aimed at promoting the sustainable development of traditional settlements through model regeneration projects.
Pavliani forest and recreation park, located between Ano and Kato Pavliani. Start at the Water Power Museum, a group of stone buildings that house the Water Saw, Watermill, Fulling Mill and Whirlpool Tub, which give a fascinating insight into how textiles were woven, treated and washed in the not too distant past. Continue along the zigzag path that follows the course of the Asopos river, under the thick shade of plane, maple, walnut and chestnut trees. The damp, sweet-smelling vegetation, towering firs, rare formations of trees and the enchanting sound of the Asopos’ source sweep visitors away into another world. After walking for 20 minutes, there is a signpost revealing the location of the Kamara cave. At the next turn in the path lies the heart of the imposing fir forest, where the recreation park has been created with activities for all ages. There you will find hammocks, a river volley court with tiered wooden seats, picnic benches and a barbecue area. The more adventurous might want to cross the river using an odd-looking seat-and-rope contraption similar to a suspension traverse… a thrilling experience!
The outdoor market in Kato Pavliani square, the ideal place to purchase local agricultural products (apples, beans, potatoes, honey, walnuts, mountain tea, oregano, etc.).
The location known as “Zeus’ Throne”, where there is a wooden pavilion perched above the entrance to Pavliani park, with a panoramic view as far as the Malian Gulf.
The Church of St. Athanassios at Ano Pavliani with its wood-carved altar screen and splendid stone bell tower dating to 1868.
The Information Center of the Management Body of Mt. Oiti National Park, housed in the old Elementary School of Pavliani, a monument of traditional architecture. In a hall specially arranged for the purpose, the Information Center gives visitors of all ages the opportunity to become acquainted with the natural environment and biodiversity of Oiti, in a modern, pleasant and vivid way. In addition to attractive display panels detailing the unique characteristics of Mt. Oiti National Park and the region’s human geography, the center also has a digital interactive display featuring a number of edutainment applications, as well as an audio system that reproduces the sounds of the forest animals. The aim is to engage the senses of visitors (sight, hearing, touch) so that they can experientially discover the mountain’s biodiversity, while at the same time raising their environmental awareness. Admission is free, as too is the guided tour by personnel of the park’s Management Body (after advance notification of visit dates), and the Information Center is accessible to individuals with disabilities.
The footpath of the unknown artist, which offers a most enjoyable walk. Between Ano and Kato Pavliani there is a signpost for the footpath with the waterfall. The hand-painted wooden signs, providing directions in a particularly imaginative way, lead to a shady path illuminated by sunlight filtering down through the thick foliage overhead. Fir, oak, willow and plane trees, all swathed in ivy. With the marvelous smell of fresh soil, skeena, ivy and oak, the footpath is often adorned with large, bright, almost exotic mauve lilies with yellow stigmas which resemble orchids. Following the winding course of the river, whose gentle flow is interrupted by small waterfalls, the path continues over enchanting wooden bridges. Along the way, chairs, tables and hammocks provide numerous opportunities to rest during the half-hour walk.
The Agia Triada plateau, on the road to the village of Kaloskopi, which each summer hosts the three-day ‘Forest Sounds’ festival (www.forestsounds.gr), with a series of cultural events and alternative mountain activities.
Heracles’ Pyre, at an altitude of 1,800 m, which in Greek mythology is the site of Heracles’ apotheosis. According to the myth, the great hero was in agony since he was unable to remove a tunic soaked in the poisonous blood of the centaur Nessus, which his wife Deianira had given him to wear. Heracles decided to put an end to his torment by ordering a funeral pyre to be built on the highest peak of Mt. Oiti. Philoctetes lit the pyre and, before being enveloped by the flames, Heracles rewarded his friend with the gift of his bow and arrows. However, not bearing to see his son suffering, Zeus hurled a thunderbolt at the place where the Gorgopotamos rises (the cave/sinkhole of Katavothra) and brought him up to Mt. Olympus. Near Heracles’ Pyre there are a number of column drums, sections of the entablature and triglyphs which once formed part of a prostyle Doric temple dating to the 3rd century BC, which was dedicated to Heracles. To the south of the temple’s remains there is an altar, which was in use from the Archaic period up to Roman times, when the original precinct was expanded and stone blocks were used to delineate its boundary. Visitors can reach Heracles’ Pyre via the forest road that leads to Oiti National Park, the entrance to which is just outside Kato Pavliani.