The village of Upper Gatzea is built in accordance to the traditional architecture of Pelion, amidst the olive groves and on the slopes of the mountain. It is situated 18km from Volos and easily reached; Lower Gatzea is its port.
As well as walking the beautiful cobbled paths past stone built houses and mansions, it is worthwhile visiting the Monastery of Agia Triada.
Built on the remnants of a Venetian castle, much of which has been preserved and incorporated in the restoration.
The monastery is a part of the Holy Monastery of the Great Lavras of Mount Athos. It is located on a rocky hill at a height of 240m with spectacular views, a little outside the village. The ancient castle was built, highly likely, around the 13thc and was destroyed in 1310 by the Catalonians of the Catalonian Society. The monastery was founded on the site in 1816.
The monastery, founded by Nicholas G. Tziortzos, Tsourtsis, celebrates its festival on the Whitson Monday and has 5 monks that still inhabit it.
Another site to see in the area is the basilica of Evangelistria.
The traditional train of Pelion passes through here and connects Ano Lehonia panorama icon with Milies.panorama icon
Travellers have the possibility to journey along 13 magical kilometers across the slopes of Pelion on one of the narrowest railway tracks in the world (60cm) which hosts the 4 ‘Moutzouri’ carriages, it is once said, that announced the steam and smoke left it in its trail. The train makes one stop only for 15 at Upper Gatzea, before it continues ‘puffing’ along the entire route of 13km in around 90 minutes. Here, at the Lower Gatzeas station, you will find a traditional ‘Kafeneion’ (coffee shop). The fifteen-minute stop on route to Milies is repeated on the return. The ‘Kafeneion’ is located in a century old building and works winter-summer, though the train runs only during the summer on a daily basis, and on weekends during spring and autumn. An interesting site on the route is the stone 5-arch bridge Kalorema, in the area of Malakiou.

Approaching Milies, the landscape gains a wild beauty, particularly the passage from the large metal bridge of Taxiarchi, or De Kirko, named after the designer and father of the famous painter. At this point the train rolls on a curve, although the bridge is in a straight line. Milies station denotes the end of the trip. From here the picturesque cobbled paths lead you to the centre of the village.
The most scenic railway line in Greece will once again be admired in that day, at 3pm, when it returns from Upper Lehonia on route again to Milies.

And the history….
This historic train formerly journeyed between the stations of Volos-Milies, and ran on this historic line, of which construction started in 1892, with the first part reaching Lehonia finally finished in 1896.
On the remaining part until Milies, construction continued until the operation commenced in 1903.
Construction of the railway line was overseen by Evaristo De Kiriko; father of the well-known Volos born painter Giorgio De Kiriko.
The project of the construction of the network was observed by the younger De Kiriko who took inspiration from the materials and used them regularly at a later stage as the main medium in his creations.
Information issue of tickets, timetables and rental of the train are provided by the Volos Travel Agency TRAINOSE (Tel/Fax 2421039723, (email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or by dialing 14511 for 24 hour assistance.

Olive Museum in Ano Gatzea panorama icon

The museum is housed in the lower floor of a stone built, traditional building on the square of the railway station in Lower Gatzea.
Built in 1924 by Ioannis D. Vogiatzi, the first floor was once the winter house of the family, whilst the lower was reserved for their farming equipment, mostly related to the olive production, where they sorted, stored and marketed their olive oil. The only daughter of Foula (Farufallia Vogiatzi) lived in the house until 1991.
The Museum displays a collection of objects found inside the house and the around the courtyard. Mainly ‘kades’, (large wooden conical shaped storage containers), which were used to store the edible olives after their preparation, and various sized ceramic jars and vats used to store the olive oil.
The Museums’ interior is on two levels, the main Museum (about 100sqm) and the old oil storage area (about 20sqm), with four built in jars that has been converted into a projector room with seats, a projector and screen etc. This space could be used in the future for periodicals, and visual art exhibitions.
The main area is set in topics of every step of the process of collecting, sorting, processing, and marketing of the olives.
Visitors view the articles from the right to see the order of the olive tools used for cultivating (carvers, saws, pruners, ploughs etc.)
Continuing the exhibits show the process equipment used to treat the olives including the hooks, sorting bench etc.
The next topic is the storage used during the process and is particularly interesting with the many barrels, and the different ‘kades’, the conical type storage wooden containers used to salt and store the olives in brine so they will become the ‘Olives of Pelion’. At this point there are ladders so the visitors can see inside the large vats. Also, they can see the ‘catwalk’ that conveys the olives along towards the large barrels so they can be salted. The first vat is a 7 with a capacity of seven thousand units, and the other a 2.5. Exactly next to this there are some metallic funnels that are not for use of liquids, but for measuring the size of the olive.
Another coned vat has had a cross section cut and is included as a prototype for their library.
The oil that is produced from the olives is also made into soap, and of course they could not exclude this product from the exhibition showing the olives and its’ by products. Used for the procedure for the commercial production of olives there many types of scales on display and a set of scales from the bakery that used to exist opposite the Museum, as well as scoops, shovels and cauldrons used for producing and boiling the grape skins to make Tsiporou (the local fire water), and other pieces of household equipment used in centuries past.
Every subject has accompanying illustrative boards with photographs and explanations. The outside area exhibits a very impressive ‘kadi’ with a height of 2.2m and width of 3m, which was originally inside and had to be reassembled outside for educational purposes.
For further information you can visit the Museums website at www. mouseioelias.gr

 


 

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