Trail 3 | Abeliona – Agios Sostis – Neda
|7,6 Km||2h 35′||1/5|
Starting Point: Abeliona
Ending Point: Neda
Main Sights: Agios Sostis, Sanctuary of Pan (Ai – Stratigos)
Connected to: –
This trail starts from the village of Abeliona, at “Spyros’ Traditional Tavern”. A while later, you reach “Trani Vrysi”, the village’s central water fountain, from where the stairs leads you to the Abeliona Retreat. Crossing its premises, the trail continues slightly uphill, in deep shade, until the asphalt road leading you to the village of Agios Sostis. Starting from the village’s monumental bridge, the old footpath ascends to the foothills of Mount Lykaion offering an unhindered view to the whole valley of Neda River. The trail leads to a narrow dust road crossing an oak woods full of water streams. Already at mid-route towards the village of Neda, you will meet the small church of Agios Athanasios – called “Maithanasis” by the locals – with its nearby water fountain, which offers a good opportunity for rest. Shortly after, a small detour leads to the ruined church of Agios Efstratios, most probably built on the ancient Temple of Pan, using its own remainders. Continuing on the dust road, the trail enters the village of Neda – previously called “Mperekla” be the locals, with its characteristic stone-built houses and churches. This is an ideal place to stop for lunch.
The sanctuary of Pan
The ruins of the sanctuary of Pan, to which Pafsanias is referring, lie scattered in a plateau next to the trail – the modern agricultural dust road in that case. You can see boulders from the foundations of the sanctuary lying on the floor as well as some marble parts. You will see other architectural parts of the sanctuary built in the walls of the nearby ruined church of Agios Efstratios – Aistratigos, according to the locals. Some elementary excavations that took part here at the beginning of the 20th century, from a mission of the Archeological company under the guidance of K. Kourouniotis. The findings have been transferred to the Archaeological Museum, the place has been abandoned by the archaeologists, and remains unfortunately unprotected today. Some people say they can feel a weird energy vibrating the place that you can maybe feel yourselves if you stay silent for a little time and let yourself be carried away by the beauty and the power of the place.
The locals call it Maithanassis, because it is celebrated in May. Before the village of Neda was built (Berekla), a settlement was here named Kastraki that was abandoned, according to the tradition, due to a plague epidemic. Even today, there are plenty of ruined houses standing at the edges of the agricultural fields as used subsequently, and among the kermes oak trees. Some are visible even from the trail. Next to the church there a small fountain built recently, next to a rest area under the shade of a dense group of kermes oak trees. You can satisfy your thirst and take a short break, enjoying a magic view to the Valley of Neda River.
Large threshing floor
You will see that exactly next to the trail, in a spot with a marvelous view towards the hill of Kastraki, the villages of Neda and Petra, the valley of Neda River and the chestnut woods between Abeliona and Agios Sostis. It is one of the hundreds of stone threshing floors in this region that were built in an airy spot to make easier the segregation of the valuable wheat from the useless straw, with the help of the wind. Every family owned at least one threshing floor, some of them even two or three. There was usually a hut next to threshing floor, to provide basic accommodation to the family, during the months of June and July, when they were busy with harvesting and threshing grain. The huts are ruined nowadays, however, most of the threshing floors are conserved in a fairly good state.