The village Old Perithia is quite unique as its preservation was a direct result of it being all but deserted within a very short time, brought about by the arrival of tourism and the popularity of holidays by the sea. For example, selling a few cans of coke while relaxing by the sea was a whole lot easier (and more profitable) than working on the land.
Prior to the arrival of tourism, the village was primarily a farming community, its main population worked the fertile land, where acres of vineyards stood, the mountains were populated with thousands of sheep, and mighty oaks jostled for position amongst, cherry, pomegranate, fig, wild pear, crab apple, quince, walnut and almond trees. The village had terraces of wheat and corn too and had been self-sufficient, with a trip by mule to the nearest villages lower down taking about an hour and a half in each direction.
As people left the community, the houses were left as they were and nature reclaimed the village and the land. To this end and to this day, 95% of the village is much as it was for centuries before and the surrounding countryside, without use of modern day chemicals etc., has remained as an organic and natural environment. As nature returned, the flora, fauna, butterflies, bees, wildlife, reptiles and insect population gathered again to make this one of the most unique villages on the island. Perhaps the finest example of what Gerald Durrell had experienced at the time he made Corfu such a popular tourist destination. For this very reason, Old Perithia is the highlight of the Durrell week that takes place each year.
The village was never fully deserted as some guidebooks would have you believe, albeit the population has jumped between 2 - 4 people for some years now. Nevertheless, you can now arrive by car along a 'new' road to the village, there are 5 tavernas and whilst it often hums with visitors by day, at night the village falls quiet as a few diners eat there and then travel back down the mountain leaving it only to those staying at The Merchant's House.
For more details on the local history, The Guide to Old Perithia is provided for free as a gift during your stay, or at all good bookshops, on Amazon and at Stanfords in the UK.
Enjoy walking? We're often asked about the walks around Old Perithia as there's not much detailed info available... so here's a link to a complimentary pdf from us here at the B&B, of the walk to Mt. Pantokrator from Old Perithia, just copy & paste it into your browser: http://www.merchantshousecorfu.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/WalktoPantokratorfromOldPcopyright2017.pdf