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To the top of Corfu, the Pantakrator

Home -> Europe -> Greece -> Travelogue Greece -> 27 June 2015

Saturday 27 June, to the top of Corfu, the Pantakrator

To the top of the Pantokrator, Corfu View from the Pantakrator, CorfuThe north of Corfu is the most mountainous region and dominated by the Pankrator, the highest mountain with 903 meters (or is it 906, or 917 as a sign on the top says?). Corfu is admittedly one of the most densely populated areas of Greece, but that is not the case here, there are only a few villages on the wooded slopes. From a distance you can already see the mountain top and a nice road (ok, maybe a bit narrow and there are some deep ravines that you drive past) will take you to it. On the internet we read that it is a very narrow road, but I think it is not that bad, it is only at the hairpin bends now and then that we have to be careful.
View on Albania from the Pantakrator View from the Pantakrator, CorfuAlthough Cyprus is very green, a large part of the mountain looks very bare, you see mainly rocky ground although there are also plenty of places with shrubs, trees and flowers. We do not know why there are so many bare pieces. We occasionally pass a courageous cyclist or hiker who braves the mountain but it is mainly cars that we encounter. There are not many parking spaces at the top but we are lucky that it is not too busy.
On the top of the Pantakrator Kerkyra city from the PantakratorAt the top itself it is a bit of a mess. The most striking are the many radio masts for TV, radio, mobile telephony, you name it. Past the collection of dishes we can see in the distance Kerkyra, the capital of Corfu. It is a little bit hazy, but we can still see the largest part of the island, so dozens of kilometers away. Italy is about 100 kilometers away but that is hidden somewhere in the mist.
Bell tower on the Pantakrator, Corfu Pantakrator monastery, CorfuBesides all the modern equipment there is a monastery that was of course there first, since it was already built in 1347. That one was destroyed in 1537 and in 1689 the still existing monastery was built. The Pantokrator is named after the monastery (Ipsilos Pantocrator with Pantokrator meaning ruler of everything, or god). The monastery is small but has a few nice frescoes. And it gives some shade which is quite nice in the heat.
But the most important reason to go here is really the panoramic view. It is a pity that they can not make all those transmitter masts transparent. Fortunately, no one has come up with the idea that you could also put some windmills here.
At the monastery on the Pantakrator On the top of CorfuAnd of course (luckily) there is also the inevitable restaurant, just below the top, where we can drink a cup of coffee. With other tourists we exchange cameras for a picture of ourselves and viceversa, of course. We are glad that it is not too busy because there isn't that much space for too many tourists, in about a month it will be way busier here. Then we descend the mountain again and after a while we take another road for the rest of the descent.
Walking through old Perithia Abandoned houses in PerithiaOur next stop is in Old Peritheia, one of the oldest villages in Corfu, the oldest even according to some guides. The village has been there since the 14th century and there are still 130 houses and 8 churches but most are deserted now. The road to it rally needs some maintenance and the village itself also. People lived for centuries from the cultivation of olives and grapes and the herding of sheep, but in the 20th century more and more people were leaving. Now there are a few taverns and a B & B and gradually there is now and then some restoration work been done.
Terrace in PerithiaThe village is a protected heritage but if you go through the uneven cobblestone path between the dilapidated houses, you do not feel that it is well protected. Most houses are damaged and you can sometimes just walk inside them. The village may be old, most of the standing houses are from Venetian times and not from the 14th century. There are few people around and that gives the village a very deserted atmosphere. But we are glad there are not busloads of tourists are walking around here, that would not spoil the whole scenery. After our walk we sit at one of the terraces for a drink.
Jesus along the way, CorfuOld Peritheia lies at a height of 400 meters so we have to descend a bit to the coast. On the way we suddenly see a statue of Jesus standing behind the guardrail. No idea what he is doing here, perhaps to talk courage into people with ravine anxiety. There is no sign at all so you can fill in yourself why this image is here and who did it. We drive to our beach at Apraos where we spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach.
In the evening, at our apartment in Roda, I have a conversation with the boy who runs the complex on behalf of the family this summer. It is for him a summer job for which he receives no fixed wages but just a part of what the family earns. We discuss politics in Greece, in Europe and politicians forget to listen to the citizens. Greece has chosen a party (Syriza) that is anti-Europe, at least so they say. But in the meantime they are following all the recommendations from the same Europe. We agree that we do not understand anything about politics.


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