One of the charming aspects of Pelion is the number of villages with well-preserved and well-maintained old mansions. Especially in the villages around the mountain Pilio we find these high craftsman mansions with slate roofs. In earlier times wealthy landlords used to live in these mansions.
These so called ‘Archontika’ mansions are build tower-wise and consist of three floors. The first two floors are built of stone from Mount Pilio. These two floors have thick walls and few or no windows. The basement was used as storage for food and goods. A wooden staircase leads to the first floor called “tampanas”, which the residents used as the living area in the wintertime.
In contrary to the first two floors, the top floor is often made from different materials, and on the outside decorated with beautiful paintings. Striking is the wooden construction that stands out in relation to the floor below. This floor provides lots of sunshine due to the many narrow windows. The space was used as a guest and summer residence. Standard on this floor is the spacious lounge with traditional couches, called the “Ontas”. The wealth of the owners of these mansions can be seen in the often beautifully painted ceilings with carvings.
Fortunately, in recent years in Greece, the uniqueness of these villages is realised. Using the Hellenic Organization of Tourism and historic preservation, the villages are restored and protected against extensive building activities. Beautiful examples you will find in Makrinitsa, Portaria, Agios Georgios, Pinakates, Vizitsa and Milies.
Nowadays some of the Archontika mansions are decorated museums and others now serve as a hotel. Do not miss out the opportunity to take a look inside one of these mansions!