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Greece’s Beautiful Mount Ziria, Birthplace of Hermes

MOUNT ZIRIA hermes
Mount Ziria, where the Greek God Hermes was born. Credit: ulrichstill/ WIkimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 2.0

According to the legend, the Pleiad known as Maia gave birth to Zeus’ son Hermes in a cave near the lake Dasios, on Mount Ziria, near the village of Trikala.

Also known as Mount Kyllini or Mount Cyllene, this mountain is famous for its association with the god Hermes. It rises to 2,376 meters (7,795 ft) above the sea, making it the second-highest point on the Peloponnese.

Mount Ziria

Mount Ziria is located west of the valley of Flabouritsa in the Peloponnese and it is home to a magnificent landscape.

The biggest village in the area is Trikala, an emerging tourist destination located on the western side of Mount Ziria.

Its dry climate and convenient location, only 143 kilometers from Athens (88 miles), make it a favorite destination in any season, not only for the Greeks but also for international visitors.

On the northern side of Mount Ziria, there is an important ski center with a 100-meter-long baby lift and a 400-meter cable lift. The valleys and mountains of Trikala allow for relaxing hikes in the surrounding area of Lake Dasios, which has a small island.

Hidden paths in the mountains boast impressive pine forests that call for tranquil walks and exploration, just as Hermes would do.

Hermes, Son of Zeus

According to Greek mythology, Hermes was the second youngest of the Olympian gods.

In the mythology of Ancient Greece, Hermes is known as the herald of the Gods; he is in charge of protecting travelers — as well as thieves and liars — and also guides souls to the underworld or Hades. For his great cunning and insight, is considered the God of all thieves.

In the very first hours of his life, he somehow escaped from his cradle, making his way across the countryside and stealing some of Apollo’s oxen. In Homer’s works The Iliad and The Odyssey, although this tradition is not mentioned, Hermes is characterized as a cunning thief.

At first Hermes was a god associated with the underworld. In ancient Greece he was worshiped as “the god of the way between the lower and upper world;” this position gradually expanded to include roads in general, and from there borders, travelers, sailors and commerce as well.

Usually, Hermes is described as freely going from the world of the mortals to the realm of the divine.

He was also the conductor of souls into the afterlife, therefore considered the protector of roads and travelers as well. His symbol is the Greek kerykeion, two snakes wrapped around a winged staff with carvings of the other gods.

In the Roman adaptation of the Greek religion, Hermes was identified with the Roman god Mercury, who, although inherited from the Etruscans, developed many similar characteristics, such as that of a patron of commerce. In the Greek interpretation of the Egyptian gods, he compares it to Thoth.

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