The Pelion region has a unique climate and, although not as high as some of the other mountains in Greece, has intense periods of snow during the winter months.
Being next to the sea means a good level of rainfall as when the north-east winds blow, the first mountain they meet is Pelion. This results in endless running water in the area in rivers and streams, making water one of its defining characteristics. For thousands of years, the settlers of Pelion used the running waters for irrigation, and for light energy such as turning water wheels to clean their textiles. Olive presses and mills also utilized the power of the ever flowing waters.
The early settlers always built their houses high up on the mountain, as this was a natural defence, high above the coastline that was plagued by pirates. At the same time the dense forests provided them with a well covered escape route As a result, we encounter many villages built at the altitude of 500m, all of which were completely self sufficient. Some of these villages were used simply as meeting points for supplying food, goods, and other necessities. As a result, not all of the mountain villages have churches or squares, or any of the other common characteristics that are otherwise commonplace in the region of Pelion.
The development of the coastal region of Pelion began at a much later time, mainly for trade and as tourism began to appear.
Volos is located at the heart of Greece, built right below Mount Pelion, and it is the industrial centre of the county of Magnesia.
Volos has an extensive history. The region dates back to the ancient city of Iolcos, stood where Volos is located today, it was one of the most famous places of ancient Greece. According to the Greek mythology, ancient Iolcos was the port where Jason set sail with Argo in order to retrieve the Golden Fleece in Colchis. This fable could symbolize the ingenuity of the inhabitants of Volos in trading.
In the village of Dimini, 5km west of Volos, resides one of the most important settlements in Thessaly, dating back to the second Neolithic period. The culture of Dimini was one of the richest of Thessaly during that period. During Dimini’s peak, metal was not available, so weapons and tools were constructed from stone and animal entrails.
In the beginning of the 20th century, the social and financial development in Pelion was evident. Also, the growth of small industries in Pelion, signalled the rapid industrial development and urbanization of Volos.
Pagasitikos Gulf and Mount Pelion, were the geographical points that determined the city’s growth, as means of transportation and hence economic development and also as a cultural centre.
Pelion was a meeting hotspot for central European merchants who were looking forraw materials and industrial products such as silk, textiles, leather, copper and wooden utensils, oil, figs and olives.
The trains and the port, in the late 19th century, played an important role in the financial thrive of the region which is apparent in the new constructions and addition of important public buildings in that period.
After the destruction caused by the earthquake in 1955, Volos was almost destroyed, with most of its historic buildings being levelled to the ground.
The land of Pelion is fertile, but it still needed human effort to deliver its goods. The cultivation of nature is even now an essential part of some areas’ tradition, as is the trading of wood and the making of traditional sweets. Chestnuts, cherries and pears are just a few indicative examples of Pelion’s fertility, the famous Pelion apples ranking first. Apart from agriculture, in recent year, the residents of the area have also turned to tourism.
In Pelion tourism is active throughout the whole year, as the beauty of Pelion remains splendid during both the winter and the summer months.