Arcadia: A “must” to see in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The trip to Arcadia in central Peloponnese reveals historical, religious, and environmental beauties little known. Some of these beauties are the gorges of Loussios River, as well as the nearby historic cities Dimitsana and Karitaina.   The rare variety of fauna and flora but also the landscape’s serene life -due to the difficulty of access- made it possible for monastic life to flourish over the centuries.   Monasteries clinging on Loussios rocks and the numerous shrines, chapels and churches, are impressive monuments of the life of Orthodox monks. The best known monastery is the Philosophou, founded in 963 AD.  The monastery served as “a secret school” during the Ottoman rule, to preserve the Greek language and Orthodox faith. Inside the monastery lie frescoes from the 17th century and precious icons. Prodromou monastery, probably founded in the 16th century, is currently the largest monastery with some 14 monks. Almost invisible, literally hanging from the wall of rock, it was used as hospital during the Greek War of Independence.  Loussios River and its many streams have been the source of the prosperity in the region during the 18th century, when economic activity revolved around water. The water mills were used, inter alia, to produce gun powder, fuelling Greece’s independence war in 1821. The city of Dimitsana nowadays hosts an open-air hydraulics museum, which reproduces the activity of the old water mills.