Old Perithia is one of the most beautiful villages of Corfu that carries on its back a very interesting history. It was inhabited in the 14th century as a refuge, only to be abandoned shortly after World War II in the 1960s. However, in recent years it seems to be rising from the ashes, catching the eye of the global media community, such as the Guardian. Let's discover the unique historical place of Old Perithia.
Spread out on the slope of the mountain Pantokratoras near its highest point with an altitude approaching more than 500 meters you will find built the settlement of Old Perithia, just eight kilometers from Kassiopi, the oldest village of the whole island. Once called Ano Perithia, its unique place began to acquire permanent residents in the 14th century, when locals began to look for a safe place to protect themselves from pirates and their attacks. The mountainous location of the settlement, surrounded by a verdant forest is the most ideal choice. With pirate raids now a thing of the past, Corfiots now had to face the next major difficulty, that of malaria. The Antinioti lagoon favored the appearance of mosquitoes, with the natives visiting the village at the first signs of spring, in order to avoid infectious bites.
The wonderful place of Old Perithia now counted more than a thousand inhabitants. The streets are decorated by 130 houses of noble aura, which were built using as their inspiration the Venetian samples of architecture, while in an amphitheatrical layout around the village stand its amazing eight churches, attracting the eye of every visitor. An extremely impressive church of the village is the one located at its entrance point dedicated to St. James the Persian, with its trademark bell tower in a bright red hue, which is a prominent monument of religiosity. On the opposite side of the settlement stands the church of Agios Nikolaos Petra, which dates back to the era before the appearance of Christianity.
The solution to malaria was given in the early 1950s and so now the settlement begins to be full of life only during the summer months, resulting in the closure of the school in the village. Ten years later Old Perithia was gradually abandoned, since dealing with tourism led them to move to neighboring areas that experienced growth in this field. The once well-built stone houses seemed to be left at the mercy of decay, until the first wind of change began to blow on the horizon.
So you know: The scenario that has prevailed for the origin of the name of Old Perithia is the one that states that it was named in this way due to the fact that the settlement is visible from the mountains that surround it.
The Gradual Recovery and the Guardian's Coverage
Despite the fact that in these forty years, Old Perithia began to look like a "ghost village", Recently, intensive efforts have been made to fully restore the settlement. Houses, streets, and churches gradually regain their former glow, always with respect to the uniqueness of the aura of the place, since the settlement has been declared a historically listed monument since the 80s. This effort did not leave unmoved not only visitors who find themselves traveling to the village to enjoy the tranquility of its nature, but even the British newspaper Guardian.
One of its reports referred to the unique case of Old Perithia and came into contact with local residents, but also people from abroad who fell in love with the place and decided to move there to actively contribute to its revival. In this way, restaurants and hotels were created that invite all of us to visit them, with the people of the arts having already made the environment their hangout.
Old Perithia seems today to leave completely behind its ruined past and constantly take steps towards a better tomorrow for its place.