During the World War II, the Axis military forces occupying Greece destroyed 1170 villages in retaliation for partisan activity (K. Doxiadis Report, Ministry of Reconstruction, 1946). Many of them, mostly old mountain villages, were afterwards entirely deserted with their burned buildings rapidly falling to pieces. Ano Kerasia at Mount Pelion is such a ruined settlement. Established in the late 16th century it was the center of a modest livestock farming community. Due to its remote location the village provided the base for the 54th partisan army regiment. Commanding, lodging, gun maintenance, even a small printing office were accommodated at various spots of the village environs. The place was also part of a main route for supplies arriving from Aegean Sea for the resistance units in the Greek inland.
On April 2, 1944 German Army deployed a large operation in order to banish the partisans from the north Pelion area and abolish their facilities. After two days of battles with heavy casualties from both sides German forces withdrew from the mountain without succeeding their goal. In revenge they set fire to the vacated Ano Kerasia burning down all of its houses.
Today only a reconstructed church and half a dozen new houses surrounded with the debris of the old stone buildings indicate the existence of the mountain village. A latent sorrow emanates from the overgrown stone ruins that seven decades ago were still vibrant containers of human life. An impulse to commemorate this loss emerges.
In a nearby small plateau offering nice vistas to the mountainous landscape a humble and enigmatic structure can honor this memory: just a rearrangement of the land covering matter. A square earth platform slightly elevated from the ground is proposed. It will be covered with local stone in the fashion of the numerous old paved paths and yards of the Pelion villages. A number of scattered rectangular plots on the platform surface remain unpaved with their vegetated voids resembling the footprints of ravaged houses.
This landscape intervention using only the abundant mountain stone will serve as a silent reminder of the place’s past. Its flatness amid the ragged mountainous setting creates the sense of an empty stage still haunted by the tensions and sufferings of an already performed drama.