ARCADIA - BIRTHPLACE OF GODS AND HEROES
Arcadia is located in the center of the Peloponnese, is the largest prefecture in size, borders with all others and to the east is bathed by the sea. In addition to the natural beauties, it has to show a very important history, ancient and recent. With rare beauties both in the mountains and on the beaches, it is suitable for both summer and winter holidays. It was also a symbolic area of bucolic life, inspiring writers, poets and artists alike. The capital is Tripoli built at an altitude of 650 m., Surrounded by the Arcadian mountains, which has evolved into a modern city where most of the view overlooks the mountains that surround it. Tripoli is built in the center of a plateau at an altitude of close to 700 meters and serves as a base for touring the nearby mountain settlements. It is an agricultural, commercial, communication and transportation center of the Peloponnese thanks to its location and the passage of the national road.
Its beautiful squares with Areos square at the top, the neoclassical mansions, the green groves, the picturesque kitchens, the Deligianni pedestrian street with the bars and the permanent traffic are some of the most touristic aspects of Tripoli. The archeological museum is housed in a magnificent neoclassical building by Ernest Ziller and includes treasures of Arcadian antiquity. In its rooms there are tombstones, inscriptions, archaic and Roman sculptures, reliefs, sacred objects, Neolithic and Early Helladic utensils as well as many figurines. At the Alea Tegea Archaeological Museum, the exhibits come from the temple of Alea Athena Tegea and the ancient theater of Tegea, while it houses a large number of works by the Parian sculptor Skopas. The war museum in Agios Vasilios Square, at the Malliaropoulos residence, is dedicated to the struggles of the Greeks. It houses weapons, objects and documents from the revolution of 1821, the Macedonian Struggle, the Liberation, etc.
The archeological site of Mantineia is one of the oldest Arcadian cities that includes the Agora, the temples of Hera and Sotiros Zeus, the imposing Bouleuterion and the ancient theater where performances are given. Saint Fotini of Mantineia with its mosaic style makes it truly unique near the archeological site, famous abroad. The Copper Museum is a work by Tassos Birbilis, who has collected hundreds of bronze objects from all over Arcadia and exhibits them in his paternal home. St. Basil's Square is a reference point for the city which was built on the site of the Bekir Pasha Mosque. The church is something architecturally exceptional and is an imposing edifice in the city center. One of the largest squares in Greece is Areos Square in the place where Serai was the second center of the city. The imposing statue of Kolokotronis riding his horse reminds everyone of the work of the Elder of Moria.
Vytina is a well-known destination in Mainalo, whose firs endow it with its rare climate that is considered healing. Mansion with its stone houses, picturesque alleys, square, streets and countryside rewards its visitors. Near the main square is the Library with a remarkable historical archive for the area. A remarkable building is the "Greek School", which is connected to the historical school of Vytina. The romantic tree-lined alley "Dromos tis Agapis'' is also wonderful, while to the southeast is the quarry that gives the famous black marble. The Mainalo Ski Center in the Ostrakina area has been awarded internationally for its natural beauty and is the closest ski center in Athens. The route includes a piece of country road of stunning beauty through lush fir trees. There are four slopes where instructors take care of the equipment, as one can rent everything needed for skiing. A short distance from Vytina, in the picturesque settlement of Elati, the horses are offered for walks around the estate and routes in the forest of Mainalo. In the surrounding area there is the possibility of mountain activities such as trekking on the paths of Mainalo, hiking on the banks of Mylaontas and mountaineering.
Below the Ski Center of Mainalo, is the cave "Katapothres of Kapsia", one of the ten most remarkable caves in our country and of world speleological interest. Its decoration is a rare spectacle of colors, patterns and natural complexes. Sinks are a natural geological phenomenon which is formed mainly in limestone soils by water erosion. Dimitsana is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved villages of mountainous Arcadia, with unique architecture, the gorge of Lousios and the fir-covered Mainalo within walking distance. The settlement has been characterized as protected, and its cobbled alleys lead to beautiful corners and "openings", overlooking Megalopolis. The abundant waters of the area have given it the power of hydrokinesis, and one can admire the Open Air Museum of Hydrokinesis, one of the most interesting museums in Greece. It is an ideal destination for hikers and nature lovers, who will enjoy the exploration opportunities offered by the gorge of Lucius.
Karytaina is one of the most picturesque and historical settlements built around the medieval castle where the ancient Brenthi was located. It is a preserved settlement with stone houses some of the 19th century, cobbled alleys and many old Byzantine churches. The Frankish castle was one of the most remarkable fortresses of the Peloponnese during the Frankish and Ottoman periods. It has been declared a traditional settlement as its beauty and the sights of the area make this small picturesque castle an ideal destination. Kastanitsa is one of the oldest villages of Parnonas and one of the most beautiful preserved settlements of the Peloponnese. The view from the castle is excellent as there is a dense and virgin forest of firs and chestnuts. It is considered and is an ideal place for tranquility and walking tourism while in a short distance there are several picturesque traditional settlements.
Lagadia is built on the verdant slopes of the mountain range of Mainalo, over a steep and deep ravine. From the ravine starts the gorge, where the Lagadian river flows, of Tuthoas according to Pausanias that ends in the river Ladonas. The most important sights are the historic house of the Deligiannis, and the churches of Agios Taxiarchis, in the square of Heroes and Agios Apostolos with their peculiar bell towers. Parnonas, the sacred mountain of the god Saturn is a botanical paradise that covers the borders of the prefectures of Arcadia and Laconia. Rich and rare fauna and flora can be found here from all over Europe and the gorges of Parnon, compose a landscape of incomparable beauty. Gortynia is the most enchanting place where the mountainous terrain and nature create conditions that favor the search and exploration. Built in a green environment, the Baths of Irea are considered one of the most important in Greece. They have 20 luxury cabins, 3 of which are for hot tubs. The spring waters are suitable for: arthritis, cervical, gynecological, circulatory, nervous system, osteoporosis, rheumatism and for the treatment of liver and bile.
Xiropigado is the first village of the coastal Kynouria that generously offers its hospitality overlooking the beautiful Nafplio. Paralio Astros is an amphitheater seaside settlement with picturesque alleys built on the slopes of the asteroid hill that the locals call "Island". A beautiful seaside settlement is Tyros Beach, which stretches around a picturesque cove. A short distance away are the Sapounakaika, built amphitheatrically on a slope. In the place "Fournos" is the cave of Megalosomos Tsakonas and in the place "Paleochora" the cavern "Desse". Leonidio beach is the largest in the area, which covers every need. In the same place was the ancient port of Leonidio while from the left side of Plaka begins a beach that extends to a length of 4 km to the settlement of Lakko. Plaka gathers many vacationers in the summer and has several taverns with good fish, as well as leisure centers. A short distance from the settlement, on the road to Leonidio, are the ruins of Vrasia, the most important ancient city of Kynouria.
The traditional cuisine in Arcadia is directly related to the mountainous Greek countryside with common points with the eating habits of the Peloponnese. The gastronomy is special, simple, austere, tasty and is directly related to the cold climatic conditions and some old local habits. Each village has its own tradition. Cayenne, grilled gourounopoulo, kokoretsi, lamb, goat, star in the traditional Arcadian recipes, as well as rooster spaghetti. Fresh bread made in traditional wheat flour ovens. Arcadia dairy products are sought after in all markets as well as Tripoli gruyere with its spicy taste and rich body. Feta, mizithra, and pasta made from locally produced milk, with authentic thousand-year-old recipes, are the delicious ambassadors of Arcadia. Woven and wood-carved, traditional kitchen utensils, bronze and embroidery are just a few of the examples of Arcadian art that can be found in Arcadia.