Dimitsana village stands over Lousios river gorge at an altitude between 950 and 1.000 meters, in the heart of the mountainous prefecture of Arcadia in Peloponnese.
Dimitsana and the Greek Revolution
Dimitsana played a catalytic role during the national liberation struggle of 1821. The fight for the Greek revolution used ammunition produced mainly in Dimitsana, due to the brothers George and Spyros Spiliotopoulos who renovated 11 gunpowder mills that worked then with the help of the impetuous waters of Lousios river.
Indeed, the in his memoirs Kolokotronis, one of the major generals, says that «Gunpowder we had, Dimitsana made it …”
Dimitsana today, although it has lost much of its population due to internal and external migration, maintains the vitality which characterized it from the end of the revolution until the early 20th century, when it reached about 2,500 inhabitants. This is mainly due to tourism activities and the advent of more and more Greek tourists who visit Dimitsana for the beauty of the small town and the surrounding area.
View and the ancient city
The view from Dimitsana to Lousios Gorge, the plain of Megalopolis and Taygetos is awe-inspiring. Walk through the picturesque stone paths and climb into one of the hills on which Dimitsana is built in order to enjoy the special Arcadian landscape and the settlement itself, which is spread out on the beautiful mountain scenery. Today’s settlement is built on the ruins of ancient Tefthis, a city according to the historian Pausanias, took part in the Trojan war by sending its own military force. The ancient Acropolis and Tefthis had fortified wall, part of which is afforested today.
Today dominant are neither the walls nor the Acropolis, but the beautiful traditional houses and mansions, small but elegant squares, the rich churches and guesthouses with warm coffee, restaurants and taverns. In Dimitsana you will find the Ecclesiastical Museum that was the home of Patriarch Gregory V and library with more than 35,000 volumes, rare editions and rich historical records. As you stroll the streets, take a look at the clock beside the famous church of Agia Kyriaki. This is a gift from the Greek community of Dimitsana’s immigrants in New York, from where the clock was sent around 1900! The clock bell weighs 700 pounds and reached Dimitsana 10 years later, again from the United States!
But Dimitsana attractions do not end here. Around Dimitsana there are many things that will fill in a constructive way the time of your visit. You may visit the historic Philosofou monastery. Built in 963 AD, in a ravine above the Lousios River, lie the ruins of the old Philosofou monastery, while close to them you will find the new monastery Philosopher. The monastery played an important role in preserving Greek historical and cultural heritage. Moreover, several “hidden schools” operated in the monastery and the surrounding area during the dark period of Turkish rule.
Lousios river and the Open Air Water-Power Museum
Lousios river and the gorge is a natural attraction for which there are several easy access points close to the rushing waters and the exquisite beauty of the riverside path. River Lousios is suitable for many mountain activities and sports such as rafting, trekking and canoe kayak.Just over Lousios and 2 km east of Dimitsana you will find the unique in Greece Open Air Water-Power Museum. This is a thematic museum showing how to use water as an energy source to produce various products. Visitors have the opportunity to watch the operation of ‘nerotrives‘, where people uses to wash their clothes, blankets and carpets, the flourmill, the tanner’s house for processing hides and of course the washtub with gunpowder mills for the production of gunpowder.
Distances and access to Dimitsana
Dimitsana is located 200 km from Athens (view image below or use the map for detailed instructions). It is also 170 km away from Patra city (through Kalavryta) and only 48 km from Tripoli (through Chrysovitsi village).