Photographer's Note

Taken in 2010 during a week holiday in Corfu, this is the old deserted village of Ano Périthia (which means Old Périthia to distinguish it from more modern Périthia which lies nearer to the coast).

The old village lies high within the slopes of Pantokrator, the highest mountain in Corfu at just under 1000m. The drive up there, along twisty narrow badly-surfaced roads with steep drops to the side, was fun for me but a bit too scary for Yvonne.

Périthia was built in Byzantine times around the 14th century when people fled their coastal homes in fear of the pirates raiding the coastal villages. Even when this threat subsided the villagers were still not able to return to their original villages and homes due to outbreaks of malaria-carrying mosquitoes which bred in coastal lakes. Old Périthia grew and boasted eight churches, each one belonging to a different family in the village. There was a school, a police station and even a court. Over 1,500 people lived in Périthia.

In 1912 the village was made part of the Municipality of Kassiopi. As tourism developed down on the coast, more of the village inhabitants and families moved down to the 'new' coastal resorts. By 1955 the village was occupied only during the summer months. After these months the remaining villagers would come down to their olive groves to harvest their crops. By 1975 most of the villagers had moved further down the mountain and only a few remained.

Today there are apparently only six people who live in the old village throughout the whole year: they tend the local crops and look after live stock. However, there are a few little tavernas which cater for tourists and we ate the best beefburgers I have ever tasted in a little taverna called, appropriately enough, "Old Périthia" - according to the "Rough Guide", this place also serves up succulent roasted goat - a definite to try next time!

In the meantime, some restoration work is being carried out here but it is a fascinating place to visit for anyone wishing to escape the busy coastal areas in Corfu. If you're really interested and fancy yourself as a restorer of ancient buildings, there are a few derelict properties in the village for sale as you can find out here.

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Additional Photos by John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1811 W: 411 N: 6535] (26470)
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