A small village hidden in a crease West Menalo, between the forest and the riverbeds of Mylaon. Elati has much in common with the adjacent settlements of Pyrgaki, now deserted, and the hidden village Methydrio, with whom it shares a common destiny. All three ware founded in the period of the economy of survival, when villages originated and sustained spontaneously among the limited resources of the forest and meadows of the mountain. In the quadrangle formed by the monastery of Agii Theodori, as a fourth node, Elati stands out as a reflection of the old and now forever lost settlement Efta Psomia, which flourished until the 18th century in the large meadow on the way to Alonistaina, where the source Paliohori is located today, facing the nicely reconstructed church of Zoodochos Pigi.
Bypassing the loose residential web of the village that lies on the small green amphitheater, the main road passes by the parish church of the Zoodochos Pigi, creating a new gravity center. A tavern and the large hotel complex «Chalet Elati» compose the tourist facilities of Elati for the visitor seeking a simpler scenery than the lively Vitina, in the immediate proximity of natural landscape and forest.
Dimitsana Dimitsana is built on a spacious shoulder, the unique smooth passage of the upper valley of river Lousios, at an altitude of 1000m. The location is ideal and is inhabited since ancient times: in the «Platsa», the outer part of the natural shoulder, sections of isodomic ancient wall are visible between the walls of newer houses, which belonged to the acropolis of ancient Tefthis, the town itself possibly located in the smoother slopes below Dimitsana, towards Palaiochori.
Dimitsana was from the 18th century an important regional commercial center and had, for a period of two centuries, great economic prosperity thanks to the water-powered craft (flour mills, fulling, tanning and gunpowder), pulled by the abundant waters of the valley. Part of watermills and gunpowder mills have been restored in the excellent Open Air Water Power Museum of Dimitsana, located after the exit to the large headspring of Ai-Giorgis, just outside the city. From the late 19th century, the development of industrial methods, the water-powered craft declined and Dimitsana lost its boost, but it remained an important transportation and administrative hub.
The town itself, protected as a traditional settlement, has many historically or architecturally important buildings and monuments such as: the house of Gregorios the 5th (which has been renovated and now houses the Ecclesiastical Museum), the building of the seminary of Dimitsana (that today houses the Library with over 15,000 volumes, among them rare editions, codes and a vast historical file, plus a folklore collection), the house of Paleon Patron Germanos, the five-storey tower Xeniou (built in 1850 by the raisin trader Constantine Koukouzas) and many more. Among the seven churches dating to the 17th, 18th and 19th century, the ones presenting particular interest are Agia Kyriaki (the cathedral), St. Euthymius, St. Georgios, St. John and the church of the Archangels. The monasteries of Philosophou, Panagia Emialon, the new Philosophou monastery and Timiou Prodromou monastery all flourished at the same time as Dimitsana due to their safe location on the axis of the ravine of river Lousios and their close dependence with the town.
The archaeological site of ancient Gortys is located at the exit of the gorge of river Lousios, a bit outside the town limits. Excavations have revealed a large part of the citadel and an important Asklipieio with baths.
Vytina The modern Vytina spreads on the level plateau at the foot of mount Menalon, in an area that used to be an important agricultural resource. The settlement resulted from the movement or combination of previous settlements, including Old Vytina and other rural settlements. Vitina developed such a dynamic it had soon lowlands branches in Argolida, Achaia and Ilia.
Because of this dynamic, but also of its position on the roads networks that developed in the first half of the 20th century, Vytina assumed the role and functions of an enlarged regional hub. The old Sanatorium and the School of Forestry were the forerunners of the mountain resort you see today. The development of the Ski Center on Mt. Menalo and the easy connection with Olympia and Kalavryta strengthened its position within the tourism network of Northern Peloponnese. Activities flourishing alongside (catering, food production, carpentry, textiles) concentrated and redirected manpower to manufacturing and the service industry, shaping the productive profile of Vytina in the 21st century.
With over a century of dynamic presence in the heart of Gortynia, Vytina is now a bustling town with remarkable food and accommodation options, more than any other town in western Arcadia. An ideal starting point for trips across the Gortynia, this small town has its own cultural identity, as it is the birthplace of remarkable personalities (eg., the historian Constantine Paparrigopoulos), and boast many attractions, such as the stonebuilt church of Agios Tryphon located on the main square, the Municipal Library, the historic «Greek School», the church of Agii Anargyroi (1831), the stone bridges and water mills on the river Mylaon etc.
RadhouSmall village in a wooded rung of the plateau of Karkalou. The village has always been shared among forestry and agriculture and currently maintains close relations with Karkalou and its roadside position. The place of the village was dictated by the major natural resources of the area: the springs, the meadows and the fir forest. Nowadays, with just a few residents, Radhou breathes again in summer, through the return of the villagers living elsewhere and the opportunity of annual events such as the «Festival of Shepherd».
Karkalou Small village, consisting mainly of shops and roadside services, at the crossroads Vytina-Dimitsana-Lagadia. The large cultivated plateau, that has been created from the deposits of mountain streams, is an important agricultural resource, while the outskirts of the surrounding mountains offer rich forage fields. Although the vulnerability of the position and influence of the surrounding villages have obstructed the creation of a large agricultural and commercial pole, Karkalou however gradually exploits the opportunities of its position and strengthens its role in the local system.
AlonistenaA traditional, stone-built settlement, nestled in the lower saddle between the main and the Western Menalo (Col of Alonistena). The village has important water resources, such as the Kefalovriso close to Aghios Nikolaos and the spring near the old inn. Being on the shortest way between Tripoli and Gortynia and having direct and exclusive access to a wide range of natural resources, Alonistena is one of the richest mountain villages of Mt. Menalon. All features of the settlement testify and demonstrate its power and wealth: the urban fabric is tight, defensive, and the houses have a form of tower, with arches and arched openings. Alonistena host today just 200 residents and the dynamism of the past is expressed mainly through the rehabilitation of public and private buildings. In the village center and facing the parish church of Agia Paraskevi (built in 1742) rises the monument of Zambia Kostakis, mother of Th. Kolokotronis.
Libovisi Core of a dispersed settlement, which in the 18th c. had 500 residents, Libovisi is nowadays just a reference location of the Revolution of 1821. The reconstructed house of Kolokotronis family dominates the place (now a museum); beside lies the restored church of St. John and a monumental fountain. A small path leads to the old shelters of the Revolutionary period. The pine forest surrounding the village is lost in the deep ravine of Arkoudorema, which effectively hides the old path connecting this mountainous refuge to the plain of Tripoli.