The ancient Leivithra, known in the ancient tradition, mainly from the Orphic myth, are at the foot of Upper Olympus mountain, today’s Kanalia, where the Upper and Lower Olympus converge with successive aspects. The Acropolis of Leivithra is surrounded by three torrents that form the common bed of Ziliana, ancient Sys. The risky choice of location seems to be the cause of the destruction of the acropolis, but it is also the cause of the unique beauty of the natural environment. An environment that could have fed the myths about ancient elves and Orpheus. The ancient Leveithra were destroyed by an earthquake and were abandoned because floods followed the torrents of Mount Olympus, which undermined the acropolis, much of which collapsed in the ditches. Earlier signs of life at the Acropolis of Leivithra are from the 8th century BC, but the surrounding cemeteries are at least from the Mycenaean era (Source: www.festivalolympou.gr).
Leivithra extends on an area of 67 acres ceded by the Ministry of Rural Development to the Ministry of Culture. The thematic park aims to a cognitive and experiential contact of the visitor with ancient Leivithra and the wider area of Olympus, as well as with everyday life in antiquity. It has a pedagogical – ‘recreational’ purpose, achieved through educational programs, workshops and cultural events, utilizing the natural and cultural heritage of the Olympus area.
It consists of three thematic areas:
- Educational – ‘Recreational’ area
- Flora and myths
- Forest improvement
The last topic is developed in the peripheral region and the first two in the central area of the park, where the ground plan of footpaths is in shape of lyre (bird – eye view), noting the relevant myth of Orpheus and Muses.
Α. Educational – ‘Recreational’ area
After the main SE entrance and the guardhouse for initial information, an apsidal building with rectangular shaped outbuilding dates to the late Bronze Age, is located. It was excavated in Platamonas area during National New Road’s construction and was transferred to the Leivithra Park.
- Start of route
- Foundation of apsidal Mycenaean building
- Small oval building with natural construction techniques
- Archaeological information building
- Kiosks for Orpheus – Muses
- Fields for natural agriculture
- To acropolis of Leivithra
In the central area of the park a rectangular complex can be found, which is the core of the educational programs and workshops. Its size and ground plan was inspired by a large wine-making complex of the late Classical – early Hellenistic period, excavated in the plain of Leivithra. At the east side a roofed building is located, where the visitor is informed about the archaeological sites from the broader Macedonian Olympus area (building A).
B. Flora and myths area & C. ‘Forest improvement’ area
The conservation, improvement and reinforcement of existing flora occurs in these areas, mainly through the planting of local varieties. Signs with mythological and historical information of the plants are also posted here. Moreover, visitors can wander in the natural, unstructured area of the park and in the adjacent, age-old plane-tree forest of Leiνithra, and even further on, to the mount Olympus.
The Park of Leivithra is friendly to people with disabilities. The entrance is free. Opening hours are 08:00 to 15:00.
(Source: Park of Leivithra – https://www.leivithrapark.gr/en/park-of-leivithra/)