Mount Parnassus, also Parnassos, is a mountain of limestone in central Greece that towers above Delphi, north of the Gulf of Corinth, and offers scenic views of the surrounding olive groves and countryside. According to Greek mythology, this mountain was sacred to Apollo and the Corycian nymphs, and the home of the Muses.
Mount Parnassus is named after Parnassos, the son of the nymph Kleodora and the man Kleopompus. A city, of which Parnassos was leader, was flooded by torrential rains. The citizens ran from the flood, following wolves’ howling, up the mountain slope. There the survivors built another city, and called it Lykoreia, which in Greek means “the howling of the wolves.” While Orpheus was living with his mother and his eight beautiful aunts on Parnassus, he met Apollo who was courting the laughing muse Thalia. Apollo became fond of Orpheus and gave him a little golden lyre, and taught him to play it. Orpheus’s mother taught him to make verses for singing. As the Oracle of Delphi was sacred to the god Apollo, so did the mountain itself become associated with Apollo. According to some traditions, Parnassus was the site of the fountain Castalia and the home of the Muses; according to other traditions, that honor fell to Mount Helicon, another mountain in the same range. As the home of the Muses, Parnassus became known as the home of poetry, music, and learning.
Parnassus was also the site of several unrelated minor events in Greek mythology.
• In some versions of the Greek flood myth, the ark of Deucalion comes to rest on the slopes of Parnassus. This is the version of the myth recounted in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
• Orestes spent his time in hiding on Mount Parnassus.
• Parnassus was sacred to the god Dionysus.
• The Corycian Cave, located on the slopes of Parnassus, was sacred to Pan and to the Muses.
• Parnassus was also the home of Pegasus, the winged horse of Bellerophon.
The name “Parnassus” in literature typically refers to its distinction as the home of poetry, literature, and learning; the Montparnasse area in Paris, France, for example, bears its name from the many literature students who recited poetry in the streets, who as a result nicknamed it “(le) Mont Parnasse”.
Activities at Mount Parnassus
Today, the slopes of Mount Parnassus are the location of two ski centres. The Parnassos Ski Centre is composed of two sections, Kellaria and Fterolakka, which together make up the largest ski center in Greece. A smaller ski centre (only two drag lifts) called Gerontovrahos is across a ridge from Kellaria. Parnassus is mined for its abundant supply of bauxite which is converted to aluminium oxide and then to aluminium.
The construction of the ski resort started in 1975 and was completed in 1976, when the first two drag lifts operated in Fterolaka. In 1981 the construction of a new ski area was completed in Kelaria, while in winter season 1987–1988 the chair lift Hermes started operating and connected the two ski areas. Both ski resorts continued expanding and in 1993 the first high-speed quad in Greece was installed, named Hercules. Today the ski center operates with 14 lifts,a 4-seater cable car, a 4-seater high-speed chair lift, four 3-seaters, one 2-seater chair lift and 6 drag lifts, with a maximum capacity of about 5000 people per hour. The ski center boasts 25 marked ski runs and about 12 ski routes of 30km total length while the longest run is 4km.
The slopes of Mount Parnassos are very rich in flora and a hiking trip will provide you sights of exceptional beauty.