Stemnitsa: Beautiful stone streets and tower houses*
Perched on Mainalo, Stemnitsa is one of the most visited villages in Arcadia that has managed to keep intact its traditional mountainous character.
Built at an altitude of 1,100 meters Stemnitsa was during the Greek revolution against the Turkish occupation, the favorite hiding place and the main operational center of the great campaigns by the Greek general Theodoros Kolokotronis. The current name is of Slavic origin, means “place of shady and wooded” due to the mountainous and specific nature of the Arcadian landscape. However, according to mythology Stemnitsa was build by Ypsountas, the son of the Arcadian King Lycaon, and called ‘Ypsous‘ : a name which is known until today..
Visitor may enjoy the rides in the stone paths along routes that start from the picturesque central square and next to pass by a majestic tower/traditional houses below chestnut, walnut and cherry trees. One such characteristic path is the one that will take you to the hill with the Greek 1821 Revolution monument. After a gentle ascent through the narrow streets of the village, the view really compensate the guest. Right and below the graphic Stemnitsa, while around impressive, usually the snowy peaks of Mainalo. During Autumn and especially the morning hours, fog covers the landscape offering a unique and characteristic view to the Arcadian setting. [continue to description]
The surrounding nature
Stemnitsa, though “surrounded” by Mainalo mountain with its dense pine forest, the ski center Ostrakina, some great routes between Alonistaina, the imposing Dimitsana, Lousios river gorge and the monasteries of John Baptist and Philosophou, has the power to keep all these people who choose Stemnitsa for their short vacations. The first image of the village, with its large stone houses scattered in the surrounding hills, is quite impressive, while the sequel may be even better with a visit to the cafe in the square for some local sweet (almonds are famous). Of course we strongly recommend eating at local restaurants with delicious meats and homemade pies.
Do not forget to visit the highly organized and rich folklore museum, open since 1985, housed in two buildings, of which the first is a three storey 18th century house. Also, the school silversmithing (visited on weekdays) to keep alive the very rich tradition of metalsmithing and metalwork. Visit one of the workshops in the village. This will admire or even to buy some handmade jewelry.
Access information to Stemnitsa
Via Athens-Tripoli-Chrysovitsi (198 km) or Athens-Vitina-Dimitsana (212 km). Take the second way during winter and snowy periods since the way through Chrisovitsi is more mountainous.
Things to see and do in and around Stemnitsa
- The Folk Museum in the village are particularly remarkable. To find information on opening hours visit: www.stemnitsamuseum.gr or call at 27950-81252).
- Lousios gorge, in case of good weather. Requires walking equipment and moderate stamina.
- The Church of the Transfiguration. Arriving by car in the middle of the road to Dimitsana.It offers panoramic views to Lousios gorge.
- The Monastery of St. John the Baptist. Over Lousios gorge and “hanging” from tall cliff overlooking this famous monastery. The view will simply amaze you.
text/photos: Yiannis Tsouratzis
* translation from Greek using Google translate service. Some slight modifications have been made in order to preserve coherence at certain text points