Goodmorning last day of 2013!
My very first post was from Florence and this one, my 119th and last for this year, is from my beautiful Athens and Mount Parnitha. Parnitha is the highest mountain on the peninsula of Attica, with an elevation of 1,413 m, and a summit known as Karavola. The Mont Parnes Casino, is located near the top of the mountain, and is the first casino to open in Greece. Two shelters are also located on Parnitha, Mpafi and Flampouri. In 1961 the entire mountain (250 km²) was declared a National Park and on 2007 suffered extensive damages from a wildfire which burned approximately 56 km² of land.
Last Sunday we decided to visit the Mpafi shelter and on our way there we stopped at the old Sanatorium of Parnitha and the Park of Souls. The Sanatorium was built in 1914 for tuberculosis patients and shutted down in 1960. Then for a few years it operated as Xenia Hotel and now is totally abandoned. The remarkable poet Yiannis Ritsos was a patient there and during his hospitalization wrote the famous poem “Spring Symphony”. The internet is full of “paranormal activity” references, and the fact is you can find more “ghost hunters investigations” than informations about the architectural value of the building. I won’t lie, I was totally frightened by the idea of this abandoned place, lying there in the middle of the mountain alone. Well this time I entered only in the entrance hall in the light of day so there was nothing scary about it. I could never go there during the night but I definitely want to go back and visit the whole building room by room.
Just across the road lies the Park of Souls, an outdoor exhibition in memory of those who suffered in the Sanatorium.The exhibition consists of twenty amazing sculptures, carved from burnt logs from the Parnitha fire in 2007, with a height of not more than 4.5 meters.
On the way to the Mpafi shelter if you are lucky, as we were, you may come across deers and approach them! Finally reaching the shelter you can enjoy your coffee with a breathtaking view.
I’m wishing you a happy new year!!
photos © chrysoula papagianni