Arcadia Attractions Arkadía
The upland region of Arcadia, in the center of the Peloponnese, reaches its highest points in the north: Erymanthos (7,297ft/2,224m), Khelmós (7,727ft/2,355m) and Kyllíni (7,796ft/2,376m). The few areas of plain are concentrated round Trípoli and Megalópolis.
The most important river is the Alfiós (Alpheios), with its tributaries: other parts of the region have no drainage to the sea, leading to the formation of bogs.In the second millennium B.C. this inaccessible region was occupied by the Arcadians, and their possession of the territory was not contested by the Dorians when they moved into the Peloponnese. Their ancestral shrine, dedicated to Zeus, was on Mt Lykaion. For long the people of Arcadia maintained their simple peasant way of life, and the earliest city states, such as Tegea and Mantineia grew up on the fringes of the region. In the fifth century B.C., and again in 250 B.C. the Arcadians formed themselves into a league. According to Strabo the region was derelict and almost depopulated in the early Imperial period - by which time it had already become the setting for pastoral poetry. During the Crusading period (13th C.) many Frankish barons built their castles on the hills of Arcadia, for example at Níkli (near Tegéa), Veligósti (Megalópolis), Karítaina (above the river Alfiós) and Ákova (on the river Ládon). During the Turkish period Tripolitsa was founded as the seat of the Pasha of the Morea.Only within recent years has Arcadia become less isolated as a result of an extensive program of road-building, but away from the main roads it has preserved much of its original sequestered character. Although this seclusion may appeal to the tourist, however, it has led many of the younger generation of Arcadians to drift away from the land into the towns.
The ancient city of Mantineia, formed in 500 B.C. by the amalgamation of five villages, lies 15km/9mi north of Trípoli in the Peloponnese. The site is reached by taking the road which runs north from Trípoli and in 8km/5mi, where the main road bears northwest towards Vytína and Olympia, turning right into a side road signposted to Kakoúri.Mantineia was destroyed by Sparta in 385 B.C. but rebuilt in 371 after a Theban victory over Sparta. The battle of Mantineia in 362 B.C. put an end to Theban predominance in the Peloponnese.The surviving remains date from the rebuilding around 370 B.C. There are considerable remains, particularly on the north and east sides, of the elliptical circuit of town walls, which had a total length of almost 4km/2.5mi. The walls, faced inside and outside with dressed stone, are 4.2-4.7m/14-15ft thick, with 10 gates and 120 towers. The river Ophis was diverted to encircle the walls.Within the town French excavations between 1869 and 1898 brought to light the agora, with the bouleuterion on the south side, a theater on the west side and scanty remains of temples.
Kharitena (Karitena) - Castle
The castle at Kharitena is perched on the mountain slope. It is a splendid example of Frankish architecture. The fort was built when the town became a barony.
The Párnon range extends along the east side of the Peloponnese for a distance of some 90km/56mi from north to south, separating the Laconian plain around Sparta from the Argolic Gulf. The northern part of the range consists of schists, the southern part of limestone and marble. Only at Ástros is there a small alluvial plain (the plain of Kynouriá) between the high ground and the sea. The range ends at Cape Maléa in the southeast.This isolated region is still occupied by Tzakonians, who preserve some remnants of the old Dorian dialect. Along the east coast are a number of small places, beginning in the north with Kivéri, where some years ago a freshwater spring was discovered in the sea. Then follow Ástros, with the coastal resort of Paralía Tyrou 4km/2.5mi away; the little ports of Leonídi and Kyparíssi; and finally the little town of Monemvasía with its castle. The coastal boats sailing between Piraeus and Gyàthion call at Kyparíssi and Monemvasía, with the coastal resort of Paralía.
Trípoli, capital of Arcadia, on the central Arcadian plateau, was founded in the 14th century by settlers from Albania. During the Turkish period, under the name of Tripolitsa, it was the seat of the Pasha of the Morea. The town was captured by Kolokotronis in 1821, but was destroyed by Ibrahim Pasha in 1828. Trípoli, situated at the intersection of the principal roads through the Peloponnese, is now the center of the surrounding agricultural region.Station on the Corinth-Kalamáta railroad line; bus connections with Athens, Corinth and Sparta.
Tripolis Panarcadic Archaeological Museum
The Tripolis Panarcadic Archeological Museum is housed in the old Panarcadic hospital, Evangelistria. The collection contains prehistoric items, findings from the Mycenaean cemetery, vases from different dates, sculptures, pottery, bronze vessels and weapons.
Address: 8 Evangelistrias Street, 22100 Trípoli, Greece
Opening hours: 8:30am-3pm; Closed: Mon
Always opened on: Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), Óhi Day - Greece & Cyprus (Oct 28)
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Easter - Christian
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €2.00, Concession or reduced rate €1.00, Students from EU FREE, Child 18 & under FREE
Useful tips: Admission is free on Sundays between November and March.
Orkhomenos (Orhomenos), Greece
35km/22mi north of Tripoli (leave on the road to Olympia and at Kandila take a road on the right) is the village of Orkhomenós (not to be confused with Orkhomenós in Boeotia), where in 1914 French archeologists brought to light a sanctuary of Artemis Mesopolitis in the upper town and remains of a Doric temple of Apollo or Aphrodite (sixth century B.C.) in the lower town.
Open-Air Water Power Museum, Dimitsana, Greece
This Arcadian village is impressively situated in the gorge of the river Alfiós (Alpheios), 16km/10mi northwest of Megalópolis on the road to Andrítsaina (from which a secondary road runs south to Bassai).
Above the village of Karítaina towers a Frankish castle (alt. 583m/1,969ft) built by Hugues de Bruyère, baron of Karítaina, in the 13th century. A monument on the hillside commemorates Theodoros Kolokotronis, a hero of the war of liberation, who defended the castle against the Turks in 1821. From the castle gate can be seen a medieval bridge spanning the Alfiós below the modern concrete bridge.
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