MOUNT PARNASSUS SKI RESORT
We visit Mount Parnassus as travelers, not as tourists
Making tracks in the snowy Med... Many of us don't put ''Greece'' and ''ski'' together in the same sentence, but cold weather aficionados have known for years (since 1928 in fact) that alpine wonderlands around the south Mediterranean's mountainous regions are nothing to be sniffed at. When the cold sets in from December to April and even later up north, ski and snowboard fans alike will be up at the crack of dawn making their way to one of 20- odd Grecian hills that are cheaper than their north European counterparts, in large part because the vast majority are run by municipalities and local alpine clubs. The latter have helped care for the nation's winter heavens more than 70 years under the Hellenic Ski Federation umbrella.
Mount Parnassus is the closest ski resort to Athens requiring only a 2 hour drive to reach the resort from the capital. The infrastructure is above average compared with ski resorts in Greece but Mount Parnassos is significantly inferior compared with other European resorts. Skiing has become extremely fashionable in Greece during the past few years. The short ski period (normally from December to mid April) and its proximity to Athens (a city of 4 millions) result in attracting large crowds during weekends and bank holidays. Mount Parnassos is overstretched during those days and even the incredibly expensive (bearing in mind the limited number of slopes and the overall quality of the resort) day-pass of 25 Euros (Reduce price 85 e for 6 days) is not enough to turn the crowds away. Overall though, Mount Parnassos is a nice surprise for anyone who thinks that holidays in Greece means sun, sea and extreme heat.
Today, the slopes of Mount Parnassus have two ski centres. The Parnassos Ski Centre has two sections, Kellaria and Fterolakka, which together make up the largest ski centre in Greece. A smaller ski centre (only two drag lifts) called Gerontovrahos is across a ridge from Kellaria.
Parnassos is one of the most beautiful mountains in Greece, full of Greek firs with ambulant vegetation and rare natural beauty that charms visitors all year long. On this mountain at an elevation of 1,600-2,250m in the areas of Kelaria and Fterolakka, Parnassos Ski Center operates from December until the end of April, which is the biggest and the best organized ski center of our country.
In an altitude of 1.600-2.250m, at Kelaria and Fterolaka, is Parnassos SC. 19 pistes, 7 routes, 10 paths and 3 mini beginner pistes of 36km total length, as well as 12 off-piste routes are expecting skiers and snowboarders of every level, every year, December to April.
There are many big or smaller traditional villages at the highland landscape of Parnassus. Arachova and Delphi are located at the south hillsides of the mountain on 990 m. and 610 m. altitude respectively. These two villages have many visitors all year long. The very popular Arachova with its beautiful architecture attracts thousands of visitors mostly during the winter months, while Delphi due to the ancient monuments attracts many tourists all year long.
Agoriani (Eptalofos) is located at the north-west part of Parnassus at the altitude of 830m. to 950m. A village with many waters and thick fir forests, with the beautiful square with the plane trees and the waterfall, it is considered the most beautiful village in the area, mostly due to its natural beauty. During the last years, there is great tourism development.
Vagonetto is the means of transport with which you will travel back in time and you will learn the history of the extraction of bauxite. At the 51st km. of the National Road of Lamia – Amfissa south of Gravia the Phocis Mining Park is located. One of the tunnels that were opened for the underground exploitation of bauxite, Tunnel 850, was closed in 1972 due to the exhaustion of the mineral.
After 26 years of “silence” the tunnel was converted into a visiting area in order for the audience to learn the history of bauxite. Since September 2003, the vagonetto, meaning the train that was used by the miners to transfer bauxite, becomes a means of transport for the visitors from the beginning of the route and the tour to the world of the miners begins. The exhibitions area of mining history, the outdoor exhibition of machineries, as well as the interactive digital technology wing, complete the visitors’ tour. Telephone: 22650 78819, 22650 28826
The establishment of the Oracle of Delphi, at the south-west hillside of Parnassus, attached prestige to the mountain from the ancient years until now, making it as holy as Olympus in Greek people’s eyes. Parnassus was dedicated to Apollo and the “Corycian nymphs”, who lived at the Corycian Cave on Lykoreia, and this was the place where the Muses used to live. Throughout history, Parnassus was the fortification of the Greek tribes of south Greece, against invaders from the north, with the greatest occurrence the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. against the Persian forces. The mountain played an important part during Greek Revolution in 1821, since this was the place where many great battles between Greeks and Turks took place, mostly the battles of Alamana and Gravia.
KORYKIO ANDRO/ CORYCIA CAVE
Korykio Andro - Corycia Cave. The Birth place of Greek Mythology
The Corycian Cave is located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, in Greece. In the mythology of the area, it is named after the nymph Corycia; however, its name etymologically derives from korykos, "knapsack". This cave was sacred to the Corycian Nymphs and the Muses, and a place of worship for Pan.
MOUNT pARNASSUS / KORYKIO ANDRO /CORYCIA CAVE... THE BIRTH PLACE OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY
King Otto and Queen Amalia made a royal tour with 100 torchbearers to view the two chambers of the cavern which is enormous at 90 m long, 40 m wide and 20 m high.
Pausanias in his Guide to Greece writes: On the way from Delphi to the summit of Parnassus, about sixty stades distant from Delphi, there is a bronze image. The ascent to the Corycian cave is easier for an active walker than it is for mules or horses. I mentioned a little earlier in my narrative that this cave was named after a nymph called Corycia, and of all the caves I have ever seen this seemed to me the best worth seeing.... But the Corycian cave exceeds in size those I have mentioned, and it is possible to make one's way through the greater part of it even without lights. The roof stands at a sufficient height from the floor, and water, rising in part from springs but still more dripping from the roof, has made clearly visible the marks of drops on the floor throughout the cave. The dwellers around Parnassus believe it to be sacred to the Corycian nymphs, and especially to Pan.