Karytaina and Andritsaina
If you ever see paper 5.000 drachmas money, you will find at the back of it a village perched on top of a mountain with a medieval castle dominating. The name of this settlement is: Karytaina or Karitaina! Perched at an altitude of 582 meters, with the Frankish castle from the 13th century standing as a motionless guard on top of the rock behind the village and the dark red tile roofs creating a stark contrast with the vivid green of the background, Karytaina magnetizes the visitor. Since 1978 it has been declared as a traditional settlement; a magical, historical, medieval castle town!
After you browse through the quaint cobbled streets of the village, full of stone mansions, drink a Greek coffee roasted on the coals in one of the local cafés in the square, overlooking the Church of Zoodochos Pigi built in the 16th century, with its three-storey bell tower and then go down to Alpheus river grand canyon. There, take photos in the two bridges; Koukos bridge and the "wounded" Karytaina bridge. Walk to the west side of the bridge where a small Byzantine church dedicated to Virgin Mary is. If the weather conditions permit it, dare to raft with one of the rafting clubs operating in the region.
From there, drive 25 miles west to the beautiful, scenic Andritsaina; at the border of Ilia and Arcadia counties. Spread amphitheatrically in a verdant slope of Mount Minthi, the city is full of green trees, with beautiful neighborhoods with paved streets and two- or three-story townhouses. Papadimitriou mansion, built in 1895 by Italian architect impresses.
In the stone square of the village, in the shade of plane trees, try local sweets and quench your thirst in the double stone Trani Pigi (Big Spring), built in 1724. Become one with the place’s rich history in the Folklore Museum which is housed in Kanellopoulos family restored mansion.
Both Karytaina and the Andritsaina are breathtaking places; willing to “tell” you their story. Listen to them...
10 REASONS TO COME BACK
1. To walk down the stone streets again and take photos of the traditional stone buildings.
2. To drink clear water from the stone fountains, admiring from up there the view over the valley of Megalopolis and the green slopes that surround it.
3. Because Nymphs still bathe Zeus in Lousios River next to the Sanctuary of Zeus at Lykaio Mountain, where the oldest gate of the world, the famous Likosoura is, and Ancient Gortyn, with Asclepius Baths.
4. To try rafting; testing myself against Lousios, the holy river, in a route starting from the historic Karytaina bridge and passing through stone bridges and breathtaking landscapes.
5. To read in the library of Andritsaina, founded in 1840 by K. Nikolopoulos, rare editions of books from the 16th and 17th century and files with documents from the Revolution of 1821.
6. To admire the Temple of Epicurean Apollo, a UNESCO World Heritage.
7. To enjoy warm bread with yeast and local fresh white cheese in one of the trees that will meet while driving to one of the most beautiful roads of the mountainous Peloponnese.
8. To taste again goat with olive oil and oregano, rooster with homemade noodles and local red wine.
9. To feel protagonist in the place’s fairy tale, spending a night in one of the traditional guest houses.
10. Because thoughts and dreams are hidden in the tranquility of the forest. If you do not walk in the paths of it, you will not be able to ever find them.