It is only fair to claim that Stemnitsa is the most beautiful village in Arkadia. In an altitude of 1100 meters, situated in a beautiful green scenery and near a canyon it surely resembles a fair lady, smiling sweetly to you. Picturesque allies, cobblestoned manors and artisan byzantine chapels charm the visitor.
HOW TO REACH STEMNITSA
Only 240km far from Athens and 42km far from Tripoli, Stemnitsa makes a perfect destination even for a weekend long escape. Departing from Athens you follow the route towards Tripoli, then turn to the crossroad to Karkalou and head towards Dimitsana. Only, 10km after Dimitsana you will find Stemnitsa. If you are departing from Tripoli you can follow the route through Chrysovitsiou. The road is a bit curvy but the scenery is very rewarding.
STEMNITSA THROUGH THE AGES
The first name of the village was Ipsous. It was renamed to Stemnitsa during the 7th-century Α.D by the Slavish, as Stemnitsa means “a place full of woods and shade” in Slavonic language.
It was the first capital of Greece during the years of the Revolution. Also during the revolution, it hosted the First Peloponnesian Senate from the 27th of May until middle June of 1821. Many people of the village where fighters and members of Filiki Eteria (meaning “Society of Friends” – it was a secret 19th-century organization whose purpose was to overthrow the Ottoman rule of Greece and establish an independent Greek state). Stemnitsa was also the base of Theodoros Kolokotronis who used to call it “the village girl” of Morias.
Since 1985 it has been declared as a historically preserved settlement. Also since 1976, there is a silversmith school operating in the village.
WHAT TO SEE IN STEMNITSA
It’s location inside the pinewood of Mainalon and the canyon of Lusios makes it the perfect destination for getaways and trekking excursions. Wander in the cobblestone allies and admire the picturesque houses.
Climb up to Iroon and enjoy the breathtaking view. Before the Iroon on your left, you will meet the beautiful church of Mary of Bafero that is dated back to the 12th century.
On the centre square of the village, you will find the majestic, multilevel bell tower of Saint George. Right on the opposite stands the church of Saint George itself. This metropolitan temple of the village was built -as tradition has it- within only 75 days. So tight was the time frame given by the strict Turkish authorities for the project to be delivered.
Within close reach from the village of Stemnitsa, you can also find the monastery of St. John the Baptist for which I have written before in a previous post.
Also very close to Stemnitsa, in the village Libovisi is the birth home of the Kolokotroni family (the bravest warriors of Greek Revolution) that now serves as a small museum.
WHERE TO STAY – WHERE TO EAT
When it comes to choosing accommodation there is a vast selection of cobblestone boutique hotels and beautifully refurbished mansions.
In the local taverns, you can savor delicious lamp with celery, the stew of goat, kokoretsi, handmade pies and a variety of grilled meat. Stemnitsa is also well known for local sweet treats like karidato, kaltsounia, diples and spoon sweet preserves. Don’t miss the chance to buy for your home pantry the local pasta, frumenty and honey.
Stemnitsa is definitely a breathtakingly beautiful head village with a special charm.
Have you visited it yet?
It will make me very happy to read your comments, your experience or something you want to add to the above.