Old Perithia

Corfu's Oldest Village – Guide and Where to Stay

Exemplary Guesthouse, built on ruins… Kerkyra Simera 26th May 2012

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Exemplary Guesthouse, built on ruins… Kerkyra Simera 26th May 2012 [Corfu Today]
by Stefanos Poulimenos

When Mark Hendriksen from England and Saskia Bosch from Holland came to Corfu, they were astonished by its natural beauty. They loved it so much that they decided to make a significant investment that may have seemed surprising to a lot of people. They chose Old Perithia, a village in a mountainous area of the island, with only 2 residents, and decided to buy three abandoned houses, which they renovated and turned into a traditional guesthouse.

They chose this small village that was abandoned quite a few decades ago because they saw a possibility to bring it back to life. Even though it had been neglected for many years they could see the real beauty of the area and they understood that there was a market for people who wish to stay in a calming and unspoiled natural environment.

They found a local team to work with to do the restorations, and also got to know the owners of the local small tavernas, who realised that there was an opportunity to increase the number of visitors to come and taste a variety of Greek cuisine.

So they decided to realize their dream to start to bring the village back to life. With great respect for the rules and regulations to which these traditional villages are bound, and in cooperation with the Archaeological Department of Corfu, they proceeded with care, and began to renovate three stone houses.

They used traditional building methods, renovated the roof with old tiles, kept the interior wooden beams and rafters, and used exemplary woodwork. They had windows hand-made in the old style but also, in line with modern standards. The floors were re-laid and they decorated the interiors with traditional furniture and materials, so the rooms are both stylish and elegant whilst at the same time including those modern touches that are desired by today’s high-end customers.

The same care was taken with the terrace and garden. Generally the surrounding area has been recreated with the dominant local materials of wood, stone and iron, effectively the same materials that people were using many centuries ago. In the garden you can find flowers and plants that are native to the area, as well a few olive trees, it is all very impressive down to the last detail.

Mark and Saskia were informed that when the village was thriving, in the houses they had bought, the owners used to live above and on the ground floors were various merchant trades. Borne out of this fact they found the appropriate name for their traditional guesthouse. They called it “To Emborikon”, The Merchant’s House and in doing so they illustrated to the professionals of our island the importance of choosing a name which is relevant to the history of a place, and not simply signs that are disconnected or unattractive.

I was looking around the guesthouse ‘To Emborikon’ of Old Perithia and I was thinking how different the look of Corfu town, our historical centre, and dozens of traditional villages would be if we did the minimum of what are European friends are doing today. I wrote these few lines, to reward and to promote this investment with its many qualities and characteristics, but for another reason as well.

To stimulate the thought that taking this as an example, while some people do more and some people do less, we generally don’t follow this thinking process and so have not respected the architectural, natural and historical heritage of our own island to the level we should have done.

Exemplary Guesthouse, built on ruins…

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Written by oldperithia

May 28, 2012 at 3:38 pm

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