Mount Ossa: The rival of Olympus with wild nature and unexplored villages

Mount Ossa, Kissavos

Untouched by mass tourism, Mount Ossa is a hidden gem.

Mount Ossa may have lost its eternal dispute with Mount Olympus, but that does not mean that it does not have natural beauty, environmental value, and culture. On the contrary, the second highest mountain of Thessaly will never cease to stand out for the magnificent view it offers from all its slopes, while the dense beech forests that change colour according to the season together with the unknown hidden villages in its slopes deserve a place on the spring travel list.

Also known as Kissavos, which is of Slavic origin, Mount Ossa has aroused human curiosity since ancient times, whether as the birthplace of the Nymphs, the place of Hercules's death, or Demeter's gateway to the Underworld.

Mount Ossa

The monasteries of Timi Prodromos and the historic Monastery of Komnenion on the wooded eastern side of Mount Ossa are unique remains of medieval Christianity in the wild mountain of Thessaly.

Although both monasteries are a must-visit, once you are in Mount Ossa, at the Timi Prodromos Monastery, you will see an original monastery that is quite different since it has invested in ecology by promoting a modern, sustainable version of asceticism.

The monastery, founded by the holy martyr Agios Damianos around 1550, functioned until 1897 when the Turks destroyed it. It was reconstituted almost a century later, in 2004.

The Kleiston Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, or Economeion, has a similar—perhaps more tragic—history. The monastery, with its huge name, is one of the oldest monasteries in Greece, dating back to its foundation in Byzantium. Various peoples who passed through the mountain destroyed it countless times in its history.

Today, the new monastery functions normally.

Mount Ossa

Mount Ossa

Beyond its mystical side, Mount Ossa, gifted with wild canyons, dense forests and rushing rivers, has been characterised as the unspoiled botanical garden of Greece. This is a correct, justified and logical characterisation, considering the huge variety of plants and trees that thrive in large populations throughout the mountain.

Untouched by the waves of mass tourism, Mount Ossa generously offers the magic of its peaks to those who want to see at the same time the blue of the Aegean Sea, wet grey clouds and green slopes.

Unique obstacle? The unpredictable Mount Ossa weather can make the climb to the top quite a feat.

Of course, there is always the organised shelter of Mount Ossa at the Kanalos position at 1,600 metres altitude, where climbers can take a breather before the summit or enjoy the summit's tranquillity (or solitude).

Mount Ossa

Mount Ossa, Kissavos

The villages of Mount Ossa are unexplored. Hidden and untouched by the unstoppable waves of tourists, they are waiting for sophisticated travellers to discover and get to know them.

Ampelakia, Anatoli, Megalovryso, Metaxochori and Spilia are just some of the villages of Mount Ossa.

These are unknown villages full of mansions with almost mythical stories waiting to tell their secrets to every person who wants to explore and get to know them. The villages of Mount Ossa fill an entire travel book, always accompanied by a plate of well-cooked village food and a glass of traditional mountain tsipouro.

Yianni Koutroudi is a columnist for Travel. Translated by Paul Antonopoulos.

READ MORE: Evrytania: A travel paradise for every season.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024