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Dimitsana: “The Νation’s powder keg”

Dimitsana


The beautiful and historic Dimitsana is amphitheatrically built at an altitude of 960 – 1.080m., οn the ruins of the great ancient city Tefthis above the gorge of Lousios river. The town of Dimitsana is located 60 km from Tripoli and it is the seat of the municipality and the capital of Gortynia province.

It has about 600 inhabitants and it is the administrative and economic center of the region.

Pausanias visited the Ancient Tefthis in 174 AD and according to tradition that was recorded by the city, it had sent its own military contingent in the Trojan war with the ruler Tefthi who wounded with his spear the goddess Athena. The goddess punished him by giving him an incurable disease. Ruins of the ancient city walls are still preserved.

The name of Dimitsana probably is Slavic and has been identified with the descent of the Slavs in Peloponnese, held between the 7th and 9th century during the Medieval History of Greece.

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During the Revolution of 1821, Dimitsana was an important supply center of gunpowder in the Peloponnese, which supplied the fighters of Roumeli and Morias. Many people involved in the production of gunpowder, the gunpowder of the struggle for liberation. The gunpowder mills of Dimitsana operated at the head of “Ai Giannis” and elsewhere.

The gunpowder production for the leberation was undertaken by Spiliotopoulos brothers whose home today is one of the monuments of Dimitsana.

Dimitsana was the birthplace of Patriarch Gregory V and Patron Germanos, the houses of which you can admire. Kolokotronis had kept here during the struggle, the biggest gunpowder of Peloponnese. They are preserved about six gunpowder mills.

It is a traditional settlement with rich historical memories, with tall stone houses, traditional architecture and narrow cobbled streets. The history, the myths, the bridges the byzantine and church relics, the stone buildings, the excellent infrastructure and the architectural specificity make Dimitsana a stately town and a magical tour destination.

In Dimitsana you will find many stylish traditional inns, hotels and rooms for a pleasant stay and many taverns, restaurants and cafes that offer excellent food.

The infinite natural beauty of the place and the stunning view over the plain of Megalopolis and Taygetos will charm you and it will remain etched in your memory.

Regional Flavours & Products
In the taverns of Dimitsana you will taste delicious lamb, stew, intestines and corned made by the locals. Do not forget to buy sweets, noodles, honey, butter, cheese, jam, walnuts, chestnuts and dairy products.

Cultural events
In Dimitsana are organized carnival events with the revival of the custom of Makarona. The Burning of Makarona is a very old tradition that takes place on the eve of the carnival in the village square. The City offers free uniforms to students and residents to participate in the custom.

The custom includes carnival parade with “Makaronas”, leading the parade on a donkey. After the parade, “Makaronas” is filled with gunpowder of Dimitsana and then hanged and burned. It follows feast with food and traditional and modern music which continues on Ash Monday.

Many cultural events take place during the summer months. On July 7th of Agia Kyriaki it is organized a festival in the area. 

Dimitsana Attractions

Lousios River: It is a small river that flows in the plateau of Karkala region at 1.000 meters altitude. The river has a length of 23 km and flows into the Alpheus River in Karitena region.

According to Pausanias and local tradition, named Lucius because there bathed the father of the gods Zeus, when he was born. The springs which are located in the ancient Gortynia, gather an impressive volume of water. The water of Lousios is known from antiquity for its coldness, which is maintained and during the summer months.

Many mountain activities and sports take place throughout the year, such as rafting, trekking, canyoning and kayak.

Gorge Lousios: All along the area that crosses Lucius, forms one of the most beautiful gorges of the Peloponnese, Gorge Lousios . A canyon with a long history and rare natural beauty. Impressive lush vegetation that stretches to all the canyon slopes while the intact landscape works like a natural cleaning mechanism, providing growing of the flora and living of the fauna.

In the gorge there is a great variety of plants and also is the shelter of many wild species of animals and birds. In the ponds of Lucius there are trouts indicating the purity of the river water.

The Clock of Dimitsana: Near the market center of Dimitsana, next to Agia Kyriaki is the fine marble and majestic clock factory hosting the “clock of Dimitsana”. The clock was sent from Dimitsana people of New York in 1900. The foundation of the project took place in 1928 and was completed in 1934. You will admire its art and architecture, its grandeur, its nobility and beauty.

The Monastery of Panagia Emialon: 3 km east of Dimitsana it is located the monastery of Panagia Emialon which has a guest house. It is built at the root of a rock in a wooded and green area at an altitude of 900 meters, next to Dimitsana – Stemnitsa road.

Of particular interest is the wooden temple of catholic and its icons as well as the murals preserved in very good condition, wonderful examples of Byzantine iconography.

The Monastery of St. John the Baptist: It is located on the left bank of Lucius, 14 km south of Dimitsana. It is built on the root of a towering, vertical rock at an altitude of about 500 meters. In the area dominates the wild and imposing landscape with lush vegetation.

The frescoes are of exquisite art and according to the researchers are painted in the late 16th or early 17th century. You can also visit the Monastery of Kalami dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Andrew of Gortyna.

The Philosopher’s Monastery: It was built in 963 and it is located approximately 11 km west of Dimitsana, on the shores of a river in a beautiful ravine. In this monastery, during the Ottoman domination functioned the Secret School.

Today, is preserved the temple of the monastery which is a masterpiece and one of the most beautiful monuments of Byzantine art. The monastery is dedicated to the Assumption.

Churches: In Dimitsana there are many Byzantine churches, seven of which are from the 17th, 18th and 19th century. All temples are masterpieces of traditional architecture that will impress visitors. Some of these churches are,  the church of Agia Kyriaki located opposite to the library and it is the Cathedral of Dimitsana, Saint George, Saint Efthimios, Holy Archangels and Saint John.

The Library of Dimitsana: It is located in the square of the church of Agia Kyriaki and is a continuation of the School of Dimitsana while today is considered exemplar of provincial library.

It was ounded in 1764 by two monks Gerasimos Gounas and Agapios Leonardos. Originally it served as seminary, which during the years of Ottoman many known hierarchs of the Nation had attended. However, during the 1821 Revolution suffered major damage, since much of the books were used in the manufacture of cartridges.

It is a lending library that has about 35.000 volumes including a collection of manuscripts from the 14th century, documents such as the Patriarchal documents and old versions of large publishing companies of abroad dating from the 16th century. From its old volumes were rescued about 600. Among others, the library contains the bones of Palaion Patron Germanos in brass urn and the saddle of Papaflessa’s horse.

In 1977 it was honored by the Academy of Athens with a gold medal.

The Ecclesiastical Museum: It is the realization of the idea of ​​the Bishop of Gortyna & Megalopolis Mr. Theophilus and the decisively contribution of the great Benefactor Panagiotis Angelopoulos and his brother Dimitrios.

The exhibits of the museum include paintings with the most important that of the image of St. George, Haghioritic art of 1808, the tribute of Gregory E. Agios Georgios Dimitsanis, holy liturgies utensils, Holy Gospels, crosses, hand-embroidered vestments and holy prelates etc.

The Open Air Water Power Museum: Located 2 km east of Dimitsana next to the kefalari of “Ai Giannis” (St. John). It is a space in which during the pre-industrial period a large industrial complex was operating and had as driving force the water from the springs of Ai Giannis.

Today, the complex is fully restored and a mill, a fulling mill, a raki cauldron and a tannery have been maintained. The information and audiovisual tour of visitors is excellent.

Kefalari Ai Giannis and the powder mill: The well-known kefalari of Ai Giannis, is located 2 km east of Dimitsana. Next to it is the chapel of St. John, in a green natural setting. There you can see a restored powder mill while six gunpowder mills are around the town.

Fountains: At Dimitsana stands the magnificent fountain of Mustafa.

Mansions: You can visit the houses of Patriarch Gregory V and Patron Germanos, whose statues adorn Dimitsana, along with other fighters in 1821. The house of Gregory E has been restored and houses the ecclesiastical museum. Other masterpieces of traditional architecture is the Tower Xenia and the manor of Kazakos.

Ancient Gortyna: Near Dimitsana is the region of ancient Gortys, who was one of the largest Arcadian cities of antiquity and where the sanctuary of Asclepius. It is built on the right bank of Lussius at altitudes from 340 meters, within which are the temple of Asklepios and spas and reaches 480 meters located the Acropolis of Gortyna.

National Trail 32: From Dimitsana passes the path 32 which is an offshoot of the European distance path E4 GR. The trail reaches Zygovitsi from Vytina and from Zygovitsi is directed to Dimitsana-Palaiochori-Monastery of the Philosopher-Secret School-Monastery of St. John the Baptist continues to Karytaina and ends in Gythio.

Mainalon Ski Resort: In the mountains of Mainalo on the top of Ostrakina at an altitude of about 1770 meters is running a modern ski resort. Since the winter of 2004, the ski center has passed to the private company OSTRAKINA AETE.

Ski Center Mainalo has 8 great ski slopes, a special park for ATV motorbikes, central chalet for coffee or lunch, snowbar, shelter and four ski lifts. Its special position among the firs, the easy access, the great natural beauty and the rich flora and fauna make it particularly attractive. 

Surrounding Area

Zatouna: The traditional settlement of Zatouna is built above the gorge of Lousios, 4 km west of Dimitsana. The picturesque Zatouna is built amphitheatrically according to the traditional local architecture at an altitude of 1.050 meters.

In the beautiful main square of Zatouna the imposing stone church dominates. Next to it is the stone building of the primary school and the small park with the tall trees. It is worth visiting the church of St. George with its impressive stone steeple and the church of Prophet Elias at the top of the hill, from where the view of the gorge of Lucius and Dimitsana is panoramic.

During the liberation war in 1821, Zatouna showed remarkable historical figures and fighters, like Staikos Staikopoylos, conqueror of the castles of Palamidi, Nafplio and Akrokorinthos, the faithful of Theodore Kolokotronis Nicolas Karachalios, Filikos Stefanos I. Stefanopoylos-Rologas who wrote memoirs for the Revolution of ’21 and G. Giotopoylos, the secretary of Plapoutas. Also Zatouna highlighted many prominent clergymen.

In the past Zatouna served as a place of exile. In 1967 there was displaced the composer Mikis Theodorakis from the April dictatorship. During his exile in the village, he inspired and wrote the “Arcadies” project.

Palaiochori: It is a small village near the gorge of Lucius, built in a green valley full of fruit trees watered by the abundant waters of the headland of St. John, which is just above the village.

Palaichori or Prasinochori is just 4 km from Dimitsana and is ideal for hiking, as from the area start many paths that cross the gorge of Lucius. 

Dimitsana Activities

In Dimitsana Lucius river dominates where you can do many activities such as rafting, kayaking, hiking and exploring the river. The surrounding area is ideal for skiing in the ski center Mainalo, 4X4, mountain biking and other activities that will awaken all your senses.

Some of the most beautiful hiking routes are:

Dimitsana-Stemnitsa-Mainalon Forest-Fir-Karkalou-Vytina-Dimitsana, a beautiful route through the forest of Mainalo. The distance is 40 km and takes about 50-60 minutes.

Dimitsana – Zatouna – smallpox – Melissopetra – Panagia – Dimitsana, a path with beautiful graphic settlements. The distance is 40 km and takes about 40-50 minutes.

How to get there

 Dimitsana is from Tripoli 59 km and from Athens 159 km.

On the highway Athens-Corinth towards Tripolis turn right to Vytina. After the toll of Nestani and tunnel of Artemisium the 56th kilometer, the Karkalou turn left to Dimitsana. The route is scenic and enjoyable. 

Dimitsana Useful Telephone Numbers (Calling code for Greece 0030)


Municipality Of Dimitsana
27950 31237, 31665
Library of Dimitsana
27950 31219
Health Center Dimitsana
27950 31401-2
The Open Air Water Power Museum
27950 31630
Police Station Dimitsana
27950 31205
Ecclesiastical Museum
27950 31468
Metropolis of  Gortyna & Megalopoli
27950 31217
Folklore Museum
27950 31753
Post Office Dimitsana
27950 31234
Holy Monastery of Philosopher
27950 81447
Taxi Dimitsana
27950 31114
Holy Monastery of Amyala
27950 31273
Bus Station Athens
210 5134575
Holy Monastery of St. John the Baptist
27950 81385, 81444
Bus Station Tripoli
2710 222560
National Bank Of Greece
27950 31210, 31503
Railway Station Athens
210 5240646
Agricultural Bank
27950 31222, 31572
Railway Station Tripoli
2710 222402
Mountaineering Club of Tripoli
2710 232243
County Court Dimitsana
27950 31479
Mainalo Ski Center
6985 063909

 

Dmitsana Photos