A coarse, rough, Doric and at the same time warm hospitable land. This is Fokida (ancient Phocis). Travelling around, the local as well as the foreign visitor - traveller has the opportunity to get to know and admire a place with several natural beauties, in an alternating geomorphologic landscape and to walk on the footprints of the human presence for thousands of years. Departing from today the traveller reaches the area of myth. He will feel the human presence in every corner of Fokida, the centre "omphalos" of the Greek land and he will live its passage and route in their authentic form through mythology, history, art and civilisation. He will feel the warmth and the hospitality of its contemporary inhabitants and he will become a voluntary ambassador of its beauty, history and contribution to the world living far from its borders. Fokida (Phocis) owes its name to the mythological hero Phocus, son of Aiacus, king of Aegina who conquered the region or, according to a different version, to Phocus, son of Ornytus, king of Corinth, who conquered the region of Phocis.

Its first inhabitants were Pelasgi (Pelasgians) and later on came and mixed with them Aiolians and Dorians. In the antiquity, Fokida was not geographically the same as today. It extended eastwards to Locris and Anticyra. With the formation of the Greek State, the region of Esperian Locris was added to Fokida with most important cities, the cities of Amfissa (Amphissa), ancient Myonia (nowadays Ag. Efthimia), Halaion, Oianthi (Galaxidi), Tolophon and Efpalion. Fokida department (with the ancient "eparchies" of Parnasida and Dorida) is at the centre of Greece (omphalos (navel)) and adjoins the departments of Boeotia (East), Fthiotida (North), Etoloakarnania (West); region's south frontier is the Corinthian Gulf. It is 2,122 km 2 in extent. 36 km 2 are plain, 560 km 2 are covered by forests and the rest of the region is mountainous with low vegetation and rocky ground. Nowadays,

it has a population of 48,526 inhabitants (census of 2001), which becomes almost double during the summer period. Its capital is Amfissa, the historic Salona. It includes twelve municipalities: Municipality of Amfissa, of Itea, of Delphi, of Desphina, Galaxidi, Parnassus (administrative centre: Polidrosos), Kallieis (administrative centre: Mavrolithari), Gravia, Efpalion, Tolophon (administrative centre: Eratini), Lidoriki and Vardoussia (administrative centre: Krokilio). It has an alternating geomorphological landscape endowed by nature with the beauty of contrasts. It is decorated by proud, high, historic mountains of a wild beauty (Giona, Parnassus, Vardoussia, Oiti), which attract mountain climbers, nature-worshippers, tourists and lovers of the skiing. Here it was constructed Mornos river artificial damp. But, at the same time, Fokida has superb beaches that satisfy even the most demanding of its visitors.

The role it has played to history has been very significant.Its contribution to the struggles of Greek people for their survival is inestimable. (Delphi, Pythia, Amphiktionies, Salona Fortress (Orgia), Salona, Chani of Gravia and Odisseas Androutsos, Native land of many heroes of the 1821 revolution: G. Makriyiannis, Athan. Diakos, Gouras, Panourgias, Diovouniotis, Isaiah bishop of Salona, Skaltsodimos, Siafakas, Komna Traka, Papandria Mori and many others, as well as of famous personalities of sciences, art, letters, such as Al. Delmouzos, K. Kondos, Giannis Skarimbas and others). Its main resources are agriculture (olive-trees), mineral wealth (bauxite), forests, livestock, fish farms and Tourism.

Fokida, being away from the centres of current developments, preserves with zeal everything old and authentic disappeared from all other places. In its cities and villages the visitor will become acquainted with the other aspect of Greece, enjoying simultaneously all modern comforts. At the unique museum of Delphi and at the archaeological and cultural museums of Fokida department, the visitor will meet region's history. The climbers will discover itineraries of unique beauty, while there are many organised refuges. Those who like walking can profit from region's ravines, hills and paths. Visiting Parnassus National Park is a unique experience. From Artotina, at the western limits of the department, passes the European Road ¶4 , which afterwards crosses Vardoussia and Giona and leads the mountain walkers to Delphi. At the northwestern part of Parnassus, at the region "Itamos", in the deep forest, there is a well-looked-after complex of tourist facilities, in harmony with nature, perfect for isolation, relaxation and concentration. But for those who prefer the calmness of the sea rather than mountain mysterious charm, there are the clean and beautiful beaches of that part of Fokida, which is on the beach with the picturesque fishing villages and the noble small towns. Although Fokida has a very good tourism infrastructure and offers a pleasant accomodation all around the year, it is not known to many people. But, those who have visited it and have found themselves among the high, rock peaks with the horizon lying to the limits of earth and have felt the solitude turning into faith and peace know that even for a few moments they have been at the centre of the world.



.