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05/02/2008

Karytena

University of Peloponnisos


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Karytena is perhaps one of the most beautiful villages of Arcadia and the seat of the Municipality of Gortyna. It appears in historical records after the 13th century. The rich history, location and architectural monuments make Karytena an important tourist destination. It is a traditional settlement, with lovely stone houses, stone alleys and churches. One of the most famous churches is that of Annunciation, built in the 19th century where a bible gospel, donated by Theodoros Kolokotronis is kept. Important murals can be found in the church of Agios Nikolaos (17th century). The church of Agios Athanasios (patron of the village)is also remarkable, dedicated to the bishop of Christianoupoli and Karytaina(17th century) whose memory is celebrated on the 17 / 5. The impressive and well-decorated bell tower of Zoodochos Pigi magnetizes the visitor. The bell tower is from the 14th century and belonged to an old church that does not exist any more. The present church is from the 16th century. The visitor can also admire a Byzantine castle, ruins of Turkish steam baths, stone fountains and the wonderful nature, since at this point the Lousios River meets the Alpheios River. The Castle on the top of the hill dominates the village. On the east side of the citadel, lies the Tower of Leventena, a preserved building of the 15th century with a terrific ceramic decoration.

It is worth mentioning the stone bridges of the region and the surrounding natural beauty. The visitor can see the bridge of Meliki, (a work of the 12th century) which was renovated in 1440 by Manuel Meliki, with a length of 50 meters and 5 arches, a few kilometres from the castle on the path that connects Karytaina with Messinia Next to it there is a small church from the same period, the bridge of Koukou and the bridge of Karytaina - Atsicholo (about 3 km from the village).Atsicholos bridge is the starting point for many sport activities, such as rafting, rappeling and kayaking. The rivers Alpheios and Lousios harbour unique attractions. Access is possible through footpaths, or by boats. The area has got numerous water mills and industrial facilities of a bygone era. In the Gorge of Lousios in particular the visitor can find unique places of great religious (churches and monasteries), archaeological (ancient Gortyna) and historical interest. Outside Karytaina is the large cave of Kavias and the waterfall of Vrondou (at the bridge of Koukou). Finally, every year on the first Sunday of August, the village organizes the bazaar in which women sell traditional products. Moreover fests are organized on the 27 / 7 and 23 / 8.

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