Located just 12 km northeast of its coastal sister village Skala Maries, the enchanting mountain village of Maries is one of the oldest villages in Thassos. Once a site of iron mines, the village is now known for its picturesque beauty and rich history. Visitors can explore the famous Monastery of Panagouda, the ancient church of the Gathering of the Archangels, and the village square where they can enjoy ice-cold mountain spring water and delicious roast lamb served by family-run tavernas. A must-see is the unique natural attraction of a mountain lake, set in the woods and surrounded by the outstanding natural beauty of the Thassian Forest. For those seeking a holiday in peaceful surroundings, Maries offers excellent accommodation options, while day trips are perfect for those wishing to explore this charming mountain village.
Maries is a charming mountain village in Thassos, Greece, that is steeped in history and culture. It is one of the oldest villages on the island and is located in a deep ravine that was once home to iron mines. The original site of the village was on the opposite hill, where the famous Monastery of Panagouda stands today, but it moved during the Middle Ages to its present location for fear of pirates.
As one approaches the village following the only road that leads there, visitors will find the Monastery of Panagouda on the left-hand side. The monastery is home to an icon of the Virgin Mary, which is considered a priceless treasure, among other relics. On the north side of the monastery, the chapel of John the Baptist is a true masterpiece.
One of the highlights of Maries is its village church, which is located near the village square, the location of an ancient mulberry tree. The church was built in 1800 and is dedicated to the Gathering of the Archangels. It is said to be one of the oldest churches on the island and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history and architecture.
The village square is a hub of activity in Maries, and visitors should make a stop here to taste the wonderful ice-cold water from neighboring mountain springs and sample the famous roast lamb served by the surrounding family-run tavernas. The tavernas serve traditional Greek cuisine made with locally-sourced ingredients and are a great way to experience the local culture.
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For those who visit Maries in August, the Feast of the Assumption is not to be missed. This folk festival is a celebration of the Virgin Mary’s ascension into heaven and is a time for locals and visitors to come together and enjoy music, dance, and traditional Greek food.
One of the unique natural attractions of the island is also located in Maries. Follow the signs out of the village and continue upwards to arrive at a mountain lake. With its small waterfall and set in a landscape of outstanding natural beauty in the woods, the Thassian Forest Association has developed a beautiful and functional picnic area. Lovers of hiking, gentle wild animals, and the natural environment can continue to immerse themselves in nature as this road leads to the top of the tallest mountain of Thassos, Ipsarion, which stands 1,204 meters tall.
Maries has very good accommodation options for those who want to stay overnight in the village. The accommodations range from small guesthouses to luxurious hotels, and all offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests. For those who prefer a day trip, Maries is a must-visit destination.
No one knows for sure why the village is called Maries, but locals speak of many origins of the name. One theory is that the village had several women named Mary. After a pirate invasion, the destruction of the village, and the massacre of its residents, only two women survived, and both were named Mary. Another theory is that the village had many mulberry trees, and the name of this plant sounds identical to Maries – ‘mouries’.
Regardless of the reasons for the name, Maries is one of the prettiest villages in the interior of the island. The world seems to completely stop as one visits it, and visitors are transported to a time when life was simpler, and people lived in harmony with nature. It is a great place to visit for anyone who wants to experience the authentic Greek lifestyle and culture.
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