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Paliokrimini and the Destroyed Village


Paliokrimini and the Destroyed Village 

The upper area of Paliokrimini consists of a sub-alpine plateau at 1,700 meters, between the settlements of Polykastano in the east and Kypseli in the west. A bulge of the plateau along the ridge of Voio abruptly forms the 1,812 meter high crest. The mountain is lush with vegetation. On the eastern and milder side, forests of beech and chestnuts dominate the landscape. Conversely, on the western, steep and impressive gorge in the area of Tsouka, pines, beeches and an enormous, 300-meter high precipice compose an imposing scenery. The precipice is one of the biggest in Northern Pindos, perhaps exceeding that of Haros, which can be found further up. This beetling cliff is oriented to the northwest, and is not visible from Kypseli which is right underneath, or from Paliokrimini. It can only be seen from the villages of Grammos and is accessible if one leaves path E6 after the peak and goes downhill to the west, to the peak of Tsouka.

The sight of Paliokrimini is completely transformed, depending on whether it is viewed from the North or from the West. It is a peak with many faces, that are hard to discover, due to its remote location. The view to Grammos, Southern Voio and the rest of the Pindos is spectacular. Access can only be achieved through the forest road the begins west of Polykastano, as well as through path E6, in the section Pentalofos – Nea Kotyli. The forest road continues to the south, just beneath the peak and comes to a beech forest with crystal clear springs. The undergrowth is also very rich in tea, orchis and mushrooms. It is no accident that this location was chosen by locals as the seat of the famous Mountain Feast.

Paliokrimini is named after the village which is hidden inside its lush northwest slopes. Its location did not remain a secret for long and as a result it was raided by Turks and Albanians in the early 18th century. Thus, its name may be derived from the word Paliokrymmeno (previously hidden). Remains of Paliohori can still be seen in a location known only to a few. When inhabitants were forced to abandon it, the sought refuge to the Monastery of what is now Skopje, as well as to Kastoria, Eratyra, Aidonia and Vythos. Most of them, however, ended up in Tsotyli, a new location away from the high mountain and the gigantic rocks, in a landscape which is peaceful and tranquil, surrounded by a dense forest of oak trees where they built Krimini. In the area there are also Dryanovo and Petritsi, as well as the 10th century Monastery of Eisodia tis Theotokou, which had a glebe at the Paliomonastiro of Zoni, at the location Portes. Paliokrimmini is the birthplace of chieftain of the Macedonian struggle Athanasios Mproufas.

A young lad neither ate nor drank,

He talked to his weapons and tells them:

My proud rifle and cartridge belt,

You have saved me so many times, do save me again now!

He did not finish his words

And the rebels started gathering like leaves, like grass,

And they set out to conquer Paliokrimini. (folk poem)

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