Old Perithia is the one of the island’s most unique places to visit on the island. A Village of Venetian origin that was once a hideaway from pirates, was all but desert, reclaim and protect by nature. Since 2010 it’s been lovingly and gently coming back to life.
Corfu’s Oldest Village, once the perfect hideaway from pirates, “to see the sea but not be seen”, nestles in the mountains beneath Mount Pantokrator at 908m the highest point on the island).
Old Perithia is the oldest permanently inhabited settlement in Corfu, with records dating back to the 14th century. Once the wealthiest village on the island, by the mid 17th century there were 130 houses of Venetian origin, built entirely by hand surrounded by 8 churches.
Originally the village acted as a hideaway from pirate attacks on the island during summer months, while it is a picturesque village of 3 inhabitants (2011 census).
For many centuries the Oresivians lived mainly from animal husbandry. The initially limited agriculture in the mountains, mainly in grains, pulses and vines, was then expand by the acquisition and cultivation of estates in the lower and coastal areas.
The Perithiotes would go down there and work all day and in the evening they would go up again to the “Village” as they called it. When the fear of pirates and various raiders did not disappear, each family, where they had acquired their own property, built a second residence.
While, therefore, the Perithiotes had calmed down from the fear of pirates and raiders, the fear and terror of malaria from the mosquitoes of the Antiniotis lagoon took a long time to disappear.
Thus, until the end of the 1940s when the mosquito killing began, all the inhabitants with the first mosquito bites in the spring, fled to the Old Perithea, to be protect and spend the dangerous semester there. Moving was do by horses, mules and donkeys.
In the middle of spring, the village was always full. All the houses were buzzing with life. The open windows of all the houses in the evenings were illuminate by the faint light of the oil lamp. And the peace of the night was interrupt only by the sound of the shepherds’ flutes and the bells of the flocks. Sometimes in the midnight hours there were also serenades under certain windows.
Since the beginning of the 1950s when the mosquito killing had ended and there was no longer any fear of malaria, the Perithiotes spent only the three summer months in the “Village” and slowly left to find work.
The village has been classified since 1980. Is under State Protection as a landscape of natural beauty. Is an architectural complex of Venetian Architecture of exceptional beauty.
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