Kissos: It’s Snow Time!
The thick snow has completely covered the Centaurs’ footprints on forested slopes of Mount Pilion. It has also covered the famous sandy beaches that lie underneath. Kissos, the traditional village built between the mountain peaks and the sea below, is struggling to stay over the white surface…
It’s March and the white snowflakes are still falling. During the last four months, it’s been snowing constantly. The locals say that it might take long, probably until Easter for the heavy white loads to melt. Indeed, a meter and a half of snow is more than enough to cover just about everything. It’s hard to figure out where the tiny village of Kissos is… Famous for its breathtaking views, the village that is often referred to as “the terrace of Pilion” seems to be completely lost! The green scenery is completely covered by the dazzling white snow. Walking to the village square is not an easy job, since the square is almost out of sight! It’s clear that from now on, one has to use his or her imagination. The tall platanus and Saint Marina’s belfry are the only visible things around here.
Even the sea, which lies right underneath is hard to see as the snow becomes thicker and thicker. Originally, Kissos was located by the water, at a place where the remains of an ancient fortress and a roman settlement were found. However, due to pirates’ raids in later years, its inhabitants started building their dwellings higher and higher, until they were safe. Today the village rises at 500 meters above sea level and enjoys the most fascinating views of the Aegean Sea. By the end of the 19th century, Kissos was riding high, reaching a population of 1.800, due to the flourishing of a new craft; the manufacturing of plates made of oak wood. The famous Pilion plates were very popular abroad and the villagers begun trading them with great success.
The modern villagers are now shoveling the snow in their effort to clear their houses and their cars form the snow. The few remaining villagers – now they are no more than 200 – are equipped with extra patience as they wear the peculiar local platforms so that they don’t sink in the deep snow. The round handmade platforms are made of reed and are tied with strings over their shoes. They are very effective in the snow, not to mention how beautiful and unique. One can buy a pair at the local stores and either wear it or use it as decoration.
The altitude extremes in Mount Pilion are more than stunning. Within a few minutes, from the highest peak, one can find him or herself in the middle of the emerald green waters. Ai-Yiannis, Kissos’ seaport, is attracting many visitors during the summer months. Right now, Ai-Yiannis’ beach seems wild and rugged as the waves whip it with menace. At places where the water can’t reach, everything is covered with snow. The flakes are dropping into the foamy water. The view is magnificent; the snowflakes become rain droplets, the droplets become seawater and the cycle starts all over again. The natural elements dance to the rhythm of the storm, displaying their power and grandeur. Mount Pilion seems to enjoy the storm, swinging playfully between the sky and the ocean. Dressed in white and blue, the majestic mountain prepares itself for yet another transformation, as the first sunrays appear in the sky. In a few days, all the shades of green will return on the hibernating slopes of the glorious Mount Pilion.
By: Tina Kontogiannopoulos