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05/02/2008

Mount Lykeon

University of Peloponnisos


Kritea - the Top of Mount Lykeon
(Photo: Prefectural Administration of Arkadia)

̀ount Lykeo was the sacred mountain for the Arcadians. At its top, now called Prophet Elias, was the Altar of Zeus and the Temple of Panas. The choice of gods was not accidental. Panas, on the one hand, was considered the main Arkadian god, but on the other hand, Arcadians also believed that Zeus was born there. The sanctuary of Zeus was round with a diameter of 30 meters. Very close to that place were two pillars, and reports indicate that at their top there were two golden eagles. Today, the bases of the columns are preserved. Pausanias mentions that the golden eagles reflected the first rays of the morning sun and the reflection rose to illuminate the bronze statue of Epicourios Apollo in Vasses, which is some kilometres below (about 5 km). The holy site offered asylum to anyone who requested it. There was a guesthouse whose parts are saved till now. There are also some preserved parts of the sanctuary of Pan and the stadium where the Lykaia games were taking place. Moreover there are ruins of water fountains and water tanks. It is worth mentioning that the Lykaia games were among the most important games of antiquity and today they have been revived. The games take place every 4 years and follow the ancient standards. Today, the visitor, apart from the archaeological findings that are scattered in the region, can also admire the beautiful view that the altitude of 1400 m offers.

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