An area symbolic of the bucolic life, and which until recent centuries, inspired writers, poets and artists.
According to mythology, Pan,the goat-legged son of Hermes and god of fertility, was of Arcadian descent and had his own sanctuary in Lykosoura, where the nymph Erato interpreted the oracles. It was here that he chased Syrinx, the young daughter of the Ladonas River, who became scared and asked Zeus to save her. He did so by turning her into reeds. Pan, full of remorse for breaking the body of the object of his desire with his own hands, joined the reeds together to make a set of pipes, which he kept with him forever, and bear his name to this day, ‘Pan pipes’.
Another myth tells of the famous heroine Atalanta, who grew up in Arcadia, raised by bears and hunters. Beautiful, tough and an unrivalled hunter, it was she who inflicted the death blow to the Calydonian Boar, whose carcass was then kept at the temple of Athena Alea in Arcadian Tegea.
However, the most sacred place in Arcadia, was Mount Lykaio, where Zeus struck Lycaon, the son of Pelasgus, with a bolt of lightning. Lykaio means ‘he who shines’, and it was there that the people built an altar to Zeus to appease him.
In this fresh mountain landscape, Arcadia gave birth to the myths that personified nature and her various expressions.
Mountain Lykeo *** Infos - History
On one side of the archaeological triangle with the top of Mount Lykaio is Lykosoura. Ancient Lykosoura is considered to be the oldest city in Arcadia, and as Pausanias mentions in Arcadians, it was the first city to be built in the world on mainland and islands, the first city to be seen by the sun. The inhabitants of this city gave the first lights to the rest of the people about how a city is built and fortified.
It was founded by Lycaona, who was the originator of the Arcadians and was the seat of the kings of Arcadia. It was famous for the sanctuary of Despina, daughter of Poseidon and Demeter. It was a temple of the 4th century BC. century, Doric temple with pronaos and celts.
There was a colossal statue of Damofonta of Messinius, a complex of Demeter, Despina, Artemis and Anitos, pieces of which are present in the museum of Lykosoura, while the base of the statue is preserved inside the temple.
Apart from this temple, there were also the temples of Athena, Panas, as well as other buildings (fountains, water reservoir, long gallery, Megaron), as was evident in the excavations made by the Archaeological Society.
The sacred peak of Mount Lykaio is the top of an archaeological triangle, whose other two peaks are the antiquities of Lykosoura and the Temple of Epicureus Apollo in Vasses.
Mount Lykaon is located in the middle of the Peloponnese and extends from the left bank of river Alfios to the beach of Kyparissiakos gulf. The top of it, named "Prophet Elias" (1.430 m high), is located in the south of Lykosoura and there were LYKAIA. In the mountain this was worshiped by Zeus (Lykaios), Panas, Apollo, Hermes, Despina, Demeter and other deities. According to the tradition, Zeus was born on the eastern side of the mountain, at the site of Kriteas, and was raised by the Nymphs Theisoa, Neda and Agno.
For this mountain it was called Olympos and Sacred Peak. In the temple of Zeus, neither an animal nor a man was allowed. The sacrifices made there were secret. In the temple of Zeus, many objects, such as statues, bronze plates, coins, etc. were found against the excavation.
Also found were the bases of the columns, which had two golden eagles on them, which were seen from all over the region. When the sun came out, it lit the golden eagles of the top, and the rays were reflected in the statue of Apollo in Vasses, which was at a lower height than the top of the mountain, five kilometers in a straight line to the west. The statue of Apollo was positioned so that it receives the first sunsets at the same time as the eagles, long before the sun rises there. In fact, Pausanias reports that the sunbeams created a halo around the head of the statue of Apollo, an example that Lykaios Jupiter at the peak of mountain Lykaio sent his bright message to Epicurean Apollo.
At the top of Mount Lykaio, only Statue bases have remained today, because the main statues were moved to Megalopolis in the 2nd century AD. century. Below the two peaks of the Lykaio Mount "Ai-Lias" and "Diaforti" (Zeus bearing), which give the relief of the bulk of the mountain, lies the plateau "Kato Kambos" or "Elliniko", where there are the ruins of the sanctuaries of Zeus and Panas, a guesthouse built at the end of the 4th century BC. century stones, large stoa and fountains, tanks and many other buildings and structures, as well as the famous Stadium, which still has the stones of origin, and the unique Hippodrome, some of which are still scattered in space. At this stadium and at the Hippodrome, sports, spiritual and musical competitions were held every four years, LYKAIA.
The location of Mount Lykaio and its archaeological site, the sanctity of the worship of Zeus and Panas and the other gods in the area, the aging of the LYKAIA Games, combined with its incomparable physics, gave the mountain the name Arcadian Olympus .
Southwest above the Hippodrome, and beyond the hostel, there was the sanctuary of god Panas in a grove. The sunlight lit LYKAIA long before Panathenaia and Olympia, creating the famous "Arcadia Commune" and the famous "Arcadian Idea" was developed.
Many have admired and loved his place and history, such as the poet Siller, a great admirer of the Arcadian Mountains, who said "ET EGO IN ARKADIA", "And I was born in Arcadia."
The Temple of Epicureus Apollo in Vasses is the third area of great archaeological value that complements the archaeological triangle, as it is located on a descent of the Lykaio Mountain to Figalia.
It is considered to be the second most important temple of Greece after the Parthenon, and its beauty and the light it emanates, made the French diplomat Clemenceau write in his memoirs that "whoever has come to this world has no right to leave , if he does not look at the Parthenon and the Temple of Epicureus Apollo in the Figalia ". Iktino's work was constructed between 450-425 BC. Today it is almost intact and it is one of the best preserved churches in Greece after the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens (Thisio).
It was built on the ruins of an older temple of the 7th century BC. century and used for the first time three rhythms together, Ionian, Corinthian and Doric. His Ionic frieze, which is currently in the British Museum, consists of relief representations of the battles of the Centaurs and the Amazons.
The bronze statue of Apollo, 12 feet high, was moved to Megalopolis by Epaminondas, who wanted to decorate the new city. The name of the temple took it because Apollo came to be assistant, in order to save the Figalia, others from the plague during the Peloponnesian War and others during the war of the inhabitants of the region against the Spartans .
The ancient LYKAIA were athletic and musical races of the Arcadian people dedicated to Lykaio Zeus and Panas and were established by the mythical Lycaona that reigned after Pelasgos. The first mention is given to Pindaros, which characterizes LYKAIA as the most important and oldest feast of the Greeks after Eleusinia.
Subsequent writers and various inscriptions refer to LYKAIA or quote LYKAIONIKES in the various events. Also to LYKAIA are Arcadian coins of the 6th century BC. century. Ancient LYKAIA until the 2nd century AD century was celebrated in mount Lykaio in the sanctuaries of the gods Zeus and Panas and was part of a religious celebration that combined the victor with the divine.
They were then transferred to Megalopolis. The possible era of the games was July or the beginning of August and their periodicity every four years. The ancient LYKAIA was the first common celebration of people, the first mass human event and were born at the crossing of man from animal to spiritual interests, so they are involved mythologically in both of these periods. In the beginning a sacrifice was made on the altar of Lykaios Jupiter at the top of the Lykaio mountain, and then there was a multitude of sports and horticultural events, men and children, plus musical competitions, being identified by the name of the high priest of Zeus or Panas, whose priesthood it was happening.
Among the main events are the channel, the stadium, the deceit, the pentathlon, the pankration, the fight, the fist, the chariot races, the overtime, the four-penny, the four-peril perfect, and others. and aimed at the mental, physical and mental health of young people as well as in the moral perfection of man.
In LYKAIA, the ancient Arcadian athletes competed only with their national name, like Arcadians, without mentioning the city or the village that was their particular homeland, and so they were depicted Lykaionics in commemorative columns and statues. As much as they were divided, the Arcadians, when they were gathering in the Lykaio Mountain, the original cradle of their forefathers, were considered a people and as such competed with the other Greeks.
The modern LYKAIA was rebuilt in 1973 by the Association of people of origin of village Ano Karyes and the Community of village Ano Karyes Arkadia. The subsequent races and celebrations continued their four-year periodicity and were held in 1977, 1981, 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2017. The current LYKAIA their center is the archaeological site of Lykaio mountain and as a cradle the hilltop for the Arcadians.
They are exactly the same as they used to be in the old age, in the same almost archaic way and at a height of 1,300 meters. The dying and established modern LYKAIA are sports, musical and spiritual celebrations of entire Arcadia with nationwide participation but also World renown.
Today's LYKAIA are the only possible sports and spiritual struggles that are firmly committed to ancient standards, keep intact their pure and real ideals and continue and will forever stay struggles "Stephanites" and not "Chrimatites", and they are ultimately looking the old, the mental, physical and mental health of our young people as well as the moral perfection of man.
The goal of the LYKAIA games is not to beat the athletes but to fight properly and honestly and to defeat their opponents in order to crown winners of games (Lykaionikes) with prizes, the branch of the oak tree or wild olives and a small bronze tripod as in the ancient times. Today's LYKAIA serve the idea of protecting our Greek cultural identity and heritage from all foreign alienation and aspire to contribute positively to the cultural, athletic and spiritual development of all Arcadia.
The small and mountainous Village, Ano Karyes (Karyes) is built high up on the eastern slope of Mount Lykaio (1,050 m) and 20 km from Megalopolis (asphalt), between the famous ancient Lykosoura and the archaeological site of Lykaio Mountain with the hilltop of the Mount of Arcadians, as well as the outer Temple of Epicurean Apollo called the Parthenon of the Peloponnese.
The historical Village of Karyes (Ano Karyes) appears in the first census of 1300 AD, played an important role in the Byzantine era, during the Frankish and Middle Ages period and later in the glorious kleftouria. Especially in the years of the revolution of 1821, besides other struggles and sacrifices, he also wrote a golden page of glory, unknown to many, with the cruel and deadly Battle of Karyes of 1825, where for the first time the terrible Ibrahim Pasha was defeated and lifted the very fallen ethic of Greek fighters. Close to today's Village, a small village "The Great Arachova" flourished and near the historic Castle of Agios Ioannis. George of Scorta, in a sharp and steep rocky outcrop of Lykaio Mountain, today Psilos Ai Giorgis ( Tall Saint George ), who disturbed the entire basin of Megalopolis. In this castle he was born and served as the last commander, when the Turks descended to Morea, Krokondylos Kladas, who later evolved into a great revolutionary during the first years of Turkish slavery. The Castle and Krokondylos Kladas, their folk muse has wrapped up with a myriad of myths and stories.
Also near the village there is a very strong and impressive location called "Kelia", where there is a fortified cave with mounds in the middle of huge vertical rocks, which was the base of kleftourias before 1821, there were those who were persecuted by the Turks, people of Karyes and the people of other near villages. In the area of Ano Karyes there are several peaks of Lykaio Mount, some of which are historical "Diaforti" (Zeus bears), "Ai-Lias", "Tabouri", "Tzorokos", "Gavraki", "Trikorfi" Agios Konstantinos "," Agios Vasilios "," Psile΄i΄ko "and others.
Today's Ano Karyes (Karyes) is the mother of two other neighboring villages now called Isioma Karyon and Kato Karyes, which were created in the lowlands when the Turks were no longer afraid of Greece. After the liberation and in 1834 Karyes (Ano Karyes) became the seat of the Municipality of Daseon in the province of Megalopolis. The Municipality of Daseon was formed by the Royal Decree of November 9, 1834 (Official Gazette 16/1835) as Municipality of Megalopolis, ranked in the third order with a population of 913 inhabitants, based in Karyes, and the citizen was named Daseates. The name of the Municipality came from the ancient city of Dasea, which was built by Daseates, a hero of Arcadia and his son Lycaona. Later, the Municipality of Daseon with a part of the Municipality of Gatheon and the original Municipality of Lykosoura were merged into the new Municipality of Lykosoura, based in Isari village.
Around the current Ano Karyes (Karyes), there are several springs sparkling crystal clear waters that sweep away the thirst of every passerby, local and foreign, who is fortunate to find in the water springs. The village is mountainous and beautiful and is drowned in the green with walnuts, cedar, oak, white, pine, fir, holly, mulberry and fruit trees.
Apart from the four-year period Panarcadia Lykaia is celebrated and celebrated on the 20th of July of Prophet Elias, where it celebrates the beautiful chapel next to the ancient marbles of the holy peak of the Arcadians and where the village and all round chips and shepherds offer free boiled goats, local cheese, bread and pure wine. Also every year, the last Saturday (All souls day) before the Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, there is the old custom called "On Rousaliou on Saturday" where religious, social cultural and very beautiful folklore events take place.
The sights in and out of Ano Karyes are many and interesting.
- The Museum of Folk Art, one of the most remarkable of the Prefecture of Arcadia.
- The Cultural Center of the Village, a marvelous place of civilization, in the old stone renovated village school.
- The Village Library with numerous books and beside the bust of the village chief of 1821 Kiriakos Karagiannis.
- The room for social and cultural events and the youth meeting.
- The traditional old Watermill of the Village
- The Old Church with its square.
- The scenic water springs, "Krabova", "Mousga", "Vo’i’vonda", "Kerasia", "Vrysouli", "Pano Krabova", "Karnavolithi", "Katavolou", Trianta ","Chantakia", " Megali Vrissi " , "Ligouli Nero", "Gondista", "Mavropetra", etc., in places that are exceptionally nice for staying, resting and meditation, many of which are reconstructed and upgraded and are equipped with the necessary living rooms, shelters etc. e.g.
The whole volume of Lykaio Mountain is ideal for hiking, mountaineering, cycling, walks, visits to archaeological and historical sites and has an exceptional clarity and luminosity that is unique, for a beautiful and magnificent sunrise, for a magical West, for an unforgettable a delightful full moon in the summer, all next to the chapel of Prophet Elias at the top of the mountain, in the deserted temple of Lykaios Zeus, in the sacrificial site and in the ancient marbles of the sacred peak buckets.
Megalopoli, one of the most important cities of the prefecture, has its own contribution to the history of the region. It was built in 370 BC. by order of Thebes Epaminondas. Pausanias in "Arcadia" says that the theater was the largest in Greece.
It was in the antiquity a cultural and spiritual center that helped to cultivate the Arcadians spiritually. Even today, the splendor of the majestic ancient era keeps alive. The continuation of the theater was the stadium for athletic competitions. It is estimated that 18 and 20 thousand people could sit there. Excavations of the British Institute brought to light the sun, the orchestras, the presidencies, the lower stone stables of the theater, the lifts of the lanes and the foundations of "Thersilio", which was adjacent to the theater.
The "Thersilio" was the parliamentary chamber of the Arcadians, the famous House of Myrion, in which representatives of all Arcadian cities took part. His name was taken by Thersilos, from Orchomenos, and symbolizes the idea of the unity and democratic rule of the peoples. The existence of this building proves the profoundly democratic nature of the Arcadians, their free thinking, elements that have significantly influenced the entire later civilization of the region, but also the culture of the whole of Greece.