The Municipality of North Kynouria is an area of outstanding natural beauty that combines mountain and sea, history and culture, traditions and heritage architecture. Landscapes alterpleasantly blue sea, the green of the valley with olive groves, chestnut and fir. Just two hours from Athens, the visitor can rest making holidays in one of the many seaside resorts to visithost of cultural / religious and historical monuments knowing first hand the rich history of the place, but it was also near unrepeatable landscapes.
The Municipality of North Kynouria based to the historical Astros Village, consists of 26 local districts and 40 villages, located in the north eastern part of the prefecture of Arcadia and part washed by the waters of the Argolid Gulf. Is a municipality of the Peloponnese Region set up as a single administrative unit in 1998 Plan "Ioannis Kapodistrias", is the second largest municipality in Greece with an area of 575,680 acres and remained untouched by the "Kallikratis" plan.
The North Kynouria derives its name from the ancient inhabitant of the area named Kynouros and is inhabited at least since neolithic times, with the installation of pre-Hellenic migration grroups (Danaans, Ionians and Dorians successively). The area soon became a target of her powerful neighbors, the Spartans, the Argives and Arcadians / habitats of Tegea. She was mainly the bone of contention between the Spartans and the Argives, as it was located between the two states and had great geo-strategic position, which resulted in warfare (the end of the 11th century bc, according to Herodotus).
Despite strong pressure from its neighbors Kynouria must have remained independent until the time of the Argive tyrant Feidonas when it fell into the hands of Argos, who knew then the maximum peak. After Feidonas nevertheless, Argos gradually began to decline while Sparta was getting stronger. The fate of Kynouria seems to finally be judged by 546 bc, at the Battle of Thyrea (or battle six hundred elite), when Sparta defeated Argos and took control of Kynouria. In 424 bc the Athenian fleet arrived on the coast of Thyreatis and the area was invaded, sacked and burned. Kynoyria remained Spartan until 338 bc when Philip II gave the northern part to the habitats of Argos until the Roman period, while the southern region of Prasies and Tyros (which was the natural boundary of ancient Sparta) remained in Sparta.
The most important cities of ancient Kynouria was in North Kynoyria Thyrea and Anthini and at the southern part Prasies, Tyros, Polihni, Glypia and Mario.
The year of 1798 in place Koutri at Saint John of Kynouria (settlement, which was the capital of the state in the summer of 1822), was created a senior Greek school and in 1805 was about the winter seat of the school in the huts of Saint John (today Astros). In the area of Tsakonia (southwest part of North Kynouria) were the villages Prasies, Kastanitsa and Sitaina. The Tsakonians were listed as guardians of the fortresses in the Byzantine era, with great economic power. In the late 19th century the population of the three villages of Tsakonia approximates that of Tripoli and on March 16, 1821 declares the start of the revolution. The Tsakonians were leading the siege of Monemvasia and Tripoli, while participating in all the battles of the Greek revolution and the Friendly Society. Indeed, according to tradition, allegedly Theodoros Kolokotronis in 1821 hosted a luncheon at Dimitrios Ypsilantis, Astros (known as "Kolokotroneiko table"). On May 19, 1821 Nikitaras with only 200 men faced heroically in Ano Doliana 6,000 Turks of Moustaphabey. The next day with aid that came from the Vervaina the enemy retreated with such great losses that Nikitaras was named since "Tourkophagos" (that means the one who “eats” Turks). The victory of Doliana together with other (Vervaina, Levidi) has been instrumental in the spread and establishment of the Match in the Peloponnese, so it was another milestone of national revolution.
In 1823 (from 20 March to 18 April) took place at Astros the Second Assembly of the Greeks, where passed the revised constitution of the Greek Revolution. The residents did not fallwithout a fight the onslaught of Ibrahim, but have seriously damaged his troops. After the destruction of Prastos by Ibrahim in 1826, were created the towns of Leonidion, Saint Andrew and other villages of Tsakonia. A special feature of the area is Tsakonian dialect, which has roots in ancient Doric and is spoken until today, unchanged over time.
In all national liberation struggles that followed until the modern era, the region paid the bravery of its inhabitants with a heavy toll (for instance the execution inhabitants of St. Peterduring the German occupation).
Starting from Astros to Tripoli via Kato Doliana, we find the Sacred Monastery of Loukou, from where a path leads to the archaeological site of the Greek (Teichio). There was a temple dedicated to the god Apollo whom worshiped especially in Kynouria and today there are ruins of an ancient city of 5th-3rd century BC (as estimated by archaeologists).
Near the monastery of Loukou is found the site of the ancient Eve, where are the ruins of the villa of Herodes Atticus. Herodes Atticus was wealthy orator, philosopher and politician, but also a lover and collector of art. Inherited the mansion from his father and decided to expand while creating there a rich collection of artifacts of the era and thus turning it into a kind of museum for ancient art and artistic and scientific institution. The area is considered as one of the most important archaeological sites, not only in Arcadia but also in Europe, with rich architecture, sculptures and mosaics findings. The Villa is a huge urban complex built according to the principles of Roman architecture, complete with patio, artificial moat-river tunnels with amazing mosaics, stage, hall and bath complex, while similar features with the buildings of the Villa of Emperor Hadrian in Tivoli, Italy.
In Kastanitsa almost all the towers exist until today and part of the old three-storey Tower Kapsampeli chieftain, who led the victorious battle against the army of Ibrahim. Separate value has carved and gilded iconostasis of the Transfiguration of the Saver, gift of Russian empress Catherine.
Near Agios Ioannis Kynouria to the location of "Xirokampi" we find the ruins of the Castle of Oria, a medieval castle from the Frankish period. According to tradition, the castle belonged to a brave and beautiful lady, who fought through it 12 years the Turks. When finally the castle was captured by deceit, the lady jumped off the walls in a vacuum, in order not to be arrested.
Finally, the traditional settlements of the area are impressive sights and reflect the traditional architecture reflecting lifestyles, techniques, art movements and social relationships they formed during turbulent historical development (Castri, Agios Petros, Kastanitsa, Upper Doliana, Vervena).
Activities – Events
For guests Kynouria features a variety of activities depending on your mood and ... the physical strength! Of course the summer beaches bustling with life and invite the visitor to enjoy. Portes, Atsinganos, Anavalos, Xeropigado, Cheronissi, Arcadian village and Kryoneri are just some of the options recommended! Wishing to explore the beautiful waters of the area, they can go diving at Arcadian village Xeropigado and Astros.
For the lovers of adventure there is the possibility of canyoning in the gorge of Lepida, dominated by impressive waterfalls, and also programs of downhill from experienced teams in Parnonas. Still, every year are organized cycling tour, triathlon (with the possibility to participate in competitions of running, cycling and swimming) and beach volley tournament at Astros. There are interesting tours with hiking paths Parnonas and tracks such as Villa Herod Atticus - Loukou - Greek, like visiting places of natural beauty such as the lake of Moustos, the cedar woods of the monastery Malevis, canyons Loulouga and Koutoupou and waterfalls of Lepida and Nymphs.
In the summer months especially, take place many cultural events. Outstanding event is the day of fish or seine and the Naval Week held on a rotation either at Astros either at Leonidion. A special mention ought to do the events of the institution Zafiris at Astros, ranging from cinema festivals to theatrical and musical performances, but also the rich cultural summer of Astros concerts and performances. In Kastanitsa the last weekend of every October is held the chestnut festival, established in 1983 and since then it attracts thousands of visitors. In the village of Platanos in August are organized celebrations of Waters, the Moon and the Love and so is the Cherry Festival organized at the end of May. The anniversary of the Second National Congress is celebrated with great pomp every year on the first Friday after Easter at Astros. Carnival float parade and carnival groups held every year during Carnival in St. Andrew, while known custom is the celebration of Easter with balloons. At Doliana late June or early July the Cultural Association organizes cultural events named as "Herodia" at the archaeological site of excavations at Eve, while in late May the happens the representation of historical victorious battle against the Turks. In St. Peter in the second half of August takes place the "Taneia", a cultural event with many exhibitions, tributes and musical evenings.
Still, many festivals are organized in religious celebrations inviting locals and visitors to feast and dance (Astros: three-day festival (Ascension), Upper Vervena and Platanos: July 25 (St. Anne), Kastanitsa: 5-6 August (Transfiguration of the Saver) traditional folk festival in Prastos: 5-6 September, Saint Andreas: 21 May (for the patron St. Constantine and St. Helen), Korakovouni: February 10 (St. Haralambos), Meligou: January 7 (St. John the Baptist), St. Peter : June 29 (for the patron St. Peter), May 7 (St. Nile) and on July 20 near the area of plateau Parnonas (Prophet Elias) Castro: May 8th (St. Nicholas) and July 27 (St. Panteleimon ).
Finally, for the visitors who are interested in religious and pilgrimage tourism, there are many monasteries in the region that are worth to visit (Monastery of Panagia Malevi, Lady of Orthokostas (Artokosta) Loukous Monastery, Monastery of St. John the Baptist, etc.).