Makrinitsa... the balcony of Peleon
"Brani", is an area of special natural beauty. It is a square with a gully in the entrance of the settlement of Makrinitsa. Also, there is another area of special natural beauty, the central paved square of the village, the famous"bargain" with the unique water fountain of "the Lions", decorated with rich stone sculptures, the old growth trees, the church of St. John and the amazing view of Volos.
Makrinitsa, "the balcony of Peleon"
It is 17 km far from Volos and 12km from the ski resort of Pelion and it is the perfect combination of the built and the natural environment.
The traditional Mansions such as Vaitzis, Hatzikostas, Vlachlis, Topalis which is operating as a Folk Art and History of Pelion museum, and many others, the picturesque churches, the fountains, the old hydro-mils "ntristeles", the nowadays ruined and deserted tanneries that flourished the 19th century and functioned until the second world war, the stone arch bridges in Lestiani, in Loziniko, in Alevizi, in Kakona and the bridge of Karia, are some remarkable examples of the traditional architecture.
The touristic development of Makrinitsa began in the 60's, when the residents realized the need to maintain their character, to highlight their differences, their customs and traditions.
Numerous cultural and folklore events are taking place throughout the year.
In Makrinitsa, there is the opportunity for many alternative activities for visitors.
- Hiking: Large marked trails leads hikers through the forest and other beautiful locations such as Lestiani, Fytoko, "Kryo Nero", Flambouro Gerakias etc.
- Mountain Biking: The fans of this beautiful sport can bike through several kilometres of rural roads by addressing surprises every time.
- Riding: The riders will feel as modern centaurs at the vast meadows above Makrinitsa!
- Skiing: The Pelion Ski Centre is located just 12 Km away and is expecting you to enjoy its tracks.
The houses of Makrinitsa
The houses of Makrinitsa have the north-Greek style of folk architecture, such as the houses of Metsovo, of Siatista, of Kastoria, of Veria and Pelion. They were built mainly between 1750 and 1830.
They are stoned, two-storey or three-storey, with some small openings at the lofloors that give a fortress-like character to the structure, while the top floor, which usually extends over the previous one, is built with lighter materials and has many openings. The roof is always wooden with coatings of slabs of Pelion.
There are usually warehouses on the ground floor, cellars and other facilities of the house.
In the two-storey houses, the second floor is the main place of residence of the family all the year,
winter and summer. But in the three-storey houses, the middle floor is the place of residence for the winter, whiles the upper floor, the "Anogi", serves as a residential area in the summer and is the reception of visitors.
There, in Anogi, which is usually rich decorated, often a part of the floor is elevated, forming a sitting area separated by a wooden railing and turners from the rest floor, it has wooden benches with colourful bedding around the walls and from the around windows one can has a good view over the surrounding landscape.
In many mansions we can find a second row of windows at the top floor, the skylights, with colourful glasses and complex draws that bringing a distinctive light inside, even when the shutters of the main windows are closed.
When, for technical or economic reasons, the people could not build them, replace them with fake skylights, which are paintings that imitate the skylights at the external walls above the windows.
Makrinitsa, like the rest of the villages of Pelion, was originally developed around the pre-existing since 1024 Monastery of Virgin Mary of the "Acute Visitation", which was built by the Lord of Magnisia, Malesinos Konstantinos and it was in the location of today's church of Virgin Mary of Makrinitsa.
Around the rich Monastery Vlachs serfs and people of the fields gathered, seeking to ensure better living conditions.
The first houses that were built formed the core of what was to later be the town of Makrinitsa.
During the Ottoman domination, the Turkish conquerors did not reach the hills.
They preferred to stay at the "Acropolis" of Volos in Palia Poli, holding and controlling the rich farmland of Ano Volos and Lechonia.
That way, the 24 mountainous villages of Pelion acquired a type of autonomy, split administratively in the two divisions of Vakoyfia and Hasia.
Makrinitsa becomes the capital of Vakoyfia up to the pre 1821 era, with a highly developed system of a local government of eldership.
The imposing of taxes in combination with the economic impoverishment of the plain, the revolutionary movements and the bandit and pirate raids become the main reasons for the resettlement of Pelion and Makrinitsa by the fugitives from the plain of Thessaly, Evia, Rumeli, Morias, Epirus and from the islands.
In the census of 1615, Makrinitsa appears to be inhabited by 147 farm families, while only 13 houses are recorded as the others are not deemed worth mentioning. Howerever, by the mid 18th century and throughout the 19th century, noble two-storey and three-storey houses and the most of Makrinitsa’s churches are built.
During its prosperous period Makrinitsa reached a population of 5500 inhabitants. Apart from its agricultural production, the local craft production of textiles also grew, as well as silk production, and later on the tanneries which consequently lead to trade with Greek and European cities.
During this period paved roads, paths, fountains, bridges, squares and schools are built.