The village of Platrithia is in Northern Ithaca and lies 20km from Vathi. The name Platrithia is a combination of the words “platy” and “reithron” which mean “wide rivulet” and refers to the creek called the Kouroukli which passes through the village and flows down to the sea at Frikes.
The district of Platrithia has been inhabited since ancient times, with a pause during the Middle Ages due to the presence of pirates causing the population to move to the mountains. What attracted people to reside in the area was the fertile land, plenty of water and the quick and easy access to the closer bays of Aphales and Frikes. In the 16th century, people from the village of Exoghi moved down to Platrithia and cultivated the land.
In days gone by, Platrithia was a thriving community. At the ‘Yofiri’ there were kafenia and tavernes, and close by, shoemakers, bakers, general stores, barbers and an olive oil processing plant. These have all disappeared and the one kafenio which survived has not operated for three years. The school at Platrithia also closed a number of years ago and a kindergarten was located on the old school site on Monastery Hill.
On the eastern side of the village, on the top of Monastery Hill is located the Church of the Taxiarchon (pictured right) which was rebuilt after the 1953 earthquakes and is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the Eptanese.
At the base of Monastery Hill is ‘Limnes’ (lakes) which derived its name from the fact that winter rains caused the area to become water logged. Limnes has always been a popular gathering place for the young in Platrithia. Even as far back as the 1920’s and 1930’s Limnes was the sporting and cultural centre of Plathrithia. Theatrical productions, athletic events, festivals, maypole dancing, and of course, soccer all took place at Limnes. And today it is still the hub of the community. The area is now a modern floodlit open-air entertainment centre attracting a variety of functions. On the evening of the 15th August, the Panygiri of Panagias Sto Milo (Sti Skala) is celebrated there with great success.
On the western side of Platrithia, the Melanidros (blackwater) spring flows and is reputed to have therapeutical qualities. It is believed that the water from this spring restored Homer’s sight. According to Homer, Odysseus was living in this beautiful fertile area just before the War of Troy. Several excavations in the area have led to the discovery of ruins of buildings and graves from the Mycenaean period.
North of Platrithia is the stunning Aphales Bay, the largest bay in Ithaca. The main beach of Platnthia is the deep-water, pebbled beach of Aphales. An asphalt road winding from Limnes down to the beach is currently nearing completion.
Sources: ITHACA Past and Present (Spiros Dendrinos Stathi Rafiopoulos, Loula Coutsouvelis)