100 days in Parnonas mountain

By on October 24th    /    Culture, Landscapes, Peloponessus, People    /    0 Comments   /   show comments

 

Looks like a weird calendar, eh? But it is not. It is a short story of a mountainous road. The 100 days’ road. It is located in the Peloponnesus’ mountain Parnonas in Laconia.

 

The road begins from Leonidio town, passes from village and ends in Skala town, in southern Laconia.

 

Πάρνωνας, Κοσμάς, Λεωνίδιο, Γεράκι, δρόμος

 

I have driven that road dozens of times . I used to start from the old watch tower in , crossed from southwest the Dafnonas creek, passed the stone mill, admired the stunning scenery in the gorge and the river, climbed the constant bends , always stopping to light a candle to the Virgin Mary of Elona monastery, entered the fir forests of Parnonas and reached the lovely square at Kosmas village. There, once I stopped to taste the awesome goat soup in the tavern called “The Admiral ” (strange name indeed…) I learned the story of that road by Mr. Panagiotis.

The Leonidion – Kosmas – Skala Lakonias road, was made almost 95 years ago. At that time travelers could not reach Leonidion coming from town or Tyros village (as they do today) and the locals came and went by boat from Leonidio harbor.

 

Πάρνωνας, Κοσμάς, Λεωνίδιο, Γεράκι, δρόμος

 

Arcadians expatriates from America gave the first money for the road construction in 1920 .The road began with a decision made by the Arcadian transportations  minister, Alexandros Papanastasiou. The most important part -  that should be made initially to get the first car in Kosmas village – was the route from village.

Thanks to the immortal Greek bureaucracy the construction works were not progressing , although the locals constantly gave financial aid from their savings for the road to be finished.

In the end, totally dissapointed from the state bureaucracy, they took the project into their own hands. Thus, in March 1951, all residents of Kosmas village campaigned to build the road, that would connect their village with Geraki village (and the neighboring Skala Lakonias town).

 

Πάρνωνας, Κοσμάς, Λεωνίδιο, Γεράκι, δρόμος

 

Think about it ! With picks, axes, adzes, shovels, without any machines and tractors the stubborn villagers of Kosmas opened the road through the wooded southern slopes of the mountain. Men, women and children worked day and night in order to manage to finish till July the 1st, 1951 ( after 100 days) , the day of the feast of Saints Anargiri who are patron saints of Kosmas village ( the big church in the square is dedicated to those very saints! ) and  bring the first car in their village . And they did it! Understanding that this is the only way to have a result, residents continued and with their personal work the road from Kosmas reached the Monastery of Virgin Mary of Elona. Later the road was constructed all way downhill to Leonidio town.

The great news of that difficult project came to America and in 1952, a special  group of filmmakers from Syracuse University made a documentary film for the titanic effort of the locals.

 

Πάρνωνας, Κοσμάς, Λεωνίδιο, Γεράκι, δρόμος

 

What can you do in 100 days in Parnonas mountain ? Many things! The residents of Kosmas built a road and took their village out of isolation. A road for us all, to be able to travel in comfort through the years.

And – if you will come here -you should remember that apart of a nice ride through the firs and oaks this road is a monument of human exertion.
(I would write something about the indifference of the state but I keep my temper… ) .
 

Where am I ?

In Parnonas (or ) mountain, one of the most beautiful and undiscovered mountains in Greece. The Leonidion – Kosmas – Geraki route is extremely  gorgeous and crosses exciting mountainous landscapes. You will arrive at Leonidion following the main road Argos to Astros Kynourias. You can also follow the opposite route from Geraki to Kosmas. You will arrive at Geraki following the road from Sparta  to Gorizia .

 

 

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