Dimitsana: The Great Outdoors
Dimitsana is but a speck on the map, but it punches well above its weight. This is a sleepy mountain village of no more than 500 according to the last count, but we are almost certain that won’t be the case for much longer. The appeal here is so ecumenical it seems almost a travesty that it doesn’t receive more visitors. But of course, the old Chinese proverb ‘one should be careful what they wish for, for it may come true’ certainly feels applicable here. One can only imagine the detriment of a selfie stick jungle.
Tucked away between the misty clouds hanging over the mountainous area known as Lousios gorge, Dimitsana sits pretty at an altitude of 1,000 meters. The setting is dominated by a sense of glories past, what with the architecture, the legends and the actual history. All of which can be seen and studied in detail upon entering the museums.
And there are a few. Take the Ecclesiastical Museum for instance. It showcases some interesting relics dating back a couple centuries, but the real draw is that this museum has been repurposed, having been the home of Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V. Similarly impressive is the Open Air Water Power Museum. Dimitsana’s proximity to the River Lousios meant a steady water source, but most poignantly it meant the proliferation of mills. Mills of many kinds, but most importantly gun powder mills with which Greek freedom fighters were allowed to carry on to victory. The museum itself is one of a few of its kind worldwide so the educational benefits are twofold. The Folklore Museum is also neat, as it goes through the different artefacts, manuscripts and several items of importance to the region.
Dimitsana played a big role in the War of Independence as it provided the gun powder ammunition that fueled the war on Greece’s side. But that’s not even the most critical aspect of this town. It was home to one of the secret schools that transmitted the Greek language and ethos under Ottoman occupation. The ‘kryfo scholio’ as it was known saw many students pass its doors, but none so more important than Bishop Germanos of Patra and Patriarch Gregory V.
One shouldn’t leave without visiting the Filosofos Monastery, the oldest one in the Arcadia region established in 963, although the Prodromos monastery is as impressive if not more due to the fact that it is chiseled into the cliff face.
But Dimitsana is undoubtedly all about nature. And nature in these parts means rafting along the Lousios river and its rapids. Hiking is also pretty sweet here. Waterfalls, stone bridges and a spectacular orgy of fauna and flora abound.
Dimitsana is a gem. This autumn don’t think about it twice.